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Gravel

Q&A: Geneviève Jeanson on her first major gravel race

Saturday's Mid South was Jeanson's longest ride, time-wise, since 2005.

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma (VN) — Geneviève Jeanson was rightfully nervous before The Mid South gravel race.

The event marked her first foray back into racing on a team (Floyd’s of Leadville Racing), her first time seriously racing gravel, and her longest ride — time-wise — since 2005.

But, the 40-year-old had a great day on the bike. Despite suffering a puncture and having some fueling issues, she was happy with her result (38th out of 161 women) and more than happy with the overall vibe of the event.

Jeanson’s next race is Belgian Waffle Ride San Diego.

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VeloNews: How did it go for you today? Did you ride with any women?

Geneviève Jeanson: I was riding with Paul [Thomas, Floyd’s of Leadville Racing team director]. We had a really good group until mile 50 when I got a flat. I know there were a couple of women there, but I cannot tell you who they were.

I can tell you definitely I am not the level of Lauren de Crescenzo. I’ll never get there, I think. But I had a group and my husband at home was watching the results and he said at mile 40 I was second in my category. Maybe I could have podiumed so we’re going to leave it at that.

VN: Are you encouraged?

GJ: I am. But mostly because between, let’s say miles 60 and 80 I was running low on water and food, but we stopped at mile 80 and I had a bunch of rice cakes and I drank some water and my best legs were in the last 20 miles.

So with a little bit better planning, I think it could be different. It was hard to eat because my hands were in my gloves, it was so cold. I know everyone had that. So, yes I’m encouraged because I finished with good legs.

VN: Has this ignited a competitive spark in you? 

GJ: Yea, it does but at the same time, I know the ladies like Lauren, they make a lot of sacrifices. It’s really all in the details, and I’m not sure I’m ready to do those details. But it did spark something in me that, maybe I’m never gonna win, but I can get better. And that would be great. Just to know that I can animate the race a little bit more. So we’ll see, but it’s early season.

Jeanson’s Squad Cycles gravel bike. (Photo: Courtesy Genevieve Jeanson)

VN: Did you enjoy the social part?

GJ: The person I was most happy to chat with was Laura Cameron King. I wanted to see her and tell her how she’s changing the game for women, especially women who want to have kids. She does so much good promotion and she’s such a badass. I caught her during maybe the first hour, and I told her all that, and after that, I saw her at the feed zone. That was great, I was super happy I could tell her that I think she’s the best.

VN: Did any strangers approach you, knowing who you are?

GJ: Nope, and that’s good. It feels comfortable like that.

VN: You’ve been doing a lot of riding in Zwift. Did you feel like you had good preparation? 

GJ: I think my prep was good for, like you said, where I live. I was able to do some good rides on Zwift and some longer stuff, but it’s not the same as when you ride outside. Actually, that was my longest ride, by time, since 2005. So for my preparation, I felt good. I have a full-time job, and I know a lot of other people have full-time jobs, so I understand the challenges of it. So I’m happy.

VN: It’s worth mentioning that we’re standing at the finish, the music is loud, people are drinking beer. This probably doesn’t remind you of your former career, does it?

GJ: I crushed my first beer, it took me two minutes. I’m on beer two, but I’m trying not to drink it because I knew I had some interviews. But man it felt so good.

It’s all with the organizer. A lot of it is his energy. It puts everybody in a good mood and creates a very communal environment.