1. Can you introduce yourself and let our readers know a little bit about you?
Hi there, my name is John McComisky. I promote the Portage brand, mainly because I am addicted to using embrocation, I have also been involved with promoting various Cyclocross events over the last couple of years, culminating in the first running of the Beveridge Park Cyclocross Grand Prix in September.
2. How long have you been involved in cyclocross?
Not all that long really, probably just came into it when the sport was really starting to fire up with entries around the 100 mark for an open race.
3. What got you into the sport in the first place?
I have a similar trajectory to Davie Graham, and it would have been Grandstand on the TV on a Winters Saturday afternoon. My head was completely lost in all the carrying of bikes, and what looked to me like normal road bikes getting bashed about in fields and parkland. Inspired by this I started “organising” in the back green of the council estate, races with my mates with a prize fund of 10p mixtures or a bottle of Globe lemonade. The juice was only used because we could spray it at each other Grand Prix style mind you.
After years of debauchery in motorsport, I started looking at a bike as a way of getting fit, and again Mr Graham had an involvement in this.
After chatting on a cycling forum, and starting to follow the sport on the web, he sent me down a cross bike to try out and if I liked it, I could send him up some cash. A gesture to this day that will never be forgotten...so you can blame him for my fizzog appearing at Cyclocross races.
4. Can you remember the first CX race you went to, and how did it go?
After bottling it to race at an event at Rosyth, it was a year or two later whilst running a wee bike shop in Bo’ness that I got myself a Dolan Multi-cross and entered a race at Plean. One of my road bike mates Grant Thomsom was organising it so I went along. Jesus, I think I was lapped nearly three times, was about dead last, and after the initial shock, kinda fell in love with the whole scene.
5. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at a cross race?
Not so much crazy, but riders entering into the spirit of events like Hallocross, Rab Wardell and Chris Barr get my vote last season for “cross dressing”. I saw Davie Lines race the Champs at Auchentoshan, and he could barely walk after a prang the week before. Riders riding on the rim with punctures and not chucking it. I like all that sort of thing.
6. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done at a race, on or off the bike?
I think at my age, I am beyond embarressment, but the tear in my skinsuit a few years back in the groin area is up there so to speak. Thankfully there was a shitload of mud about that day and went undetected. Trying to bunnyhop a log is also in there....the broken vertebrae and loss in height afterwards made it not so embassessing but just really stupid.
7. Do you have a favourite course, either to ride, or to spectate?
I always liked Auchentoshan, the burn section and run up were gladitorial to me. Always liked Strathclyde Park too, a very natural setting as well. The phone number on the bridge has come in handy as well ☺. Favourite course for me though is Durham CXNE....loved it, loved the setting and course layout....in fact bollocks, I love Cally Park too for its flow. Alford was great this year too for the same reasons. I really cannot choose to be honest.
Spectating wise it would be the events I have had an involvement in such as Bo’ness and Kirkcaldy, really lights me up when the general public come along to watch races and you get a bit of atmosphere, that is the way forward for the sport in my eyes.
8. Are there any riders you particularly admire?
I do not know if admiration is the right word, but I do like to see the growth in Women competing up here. There should be more, but the numbers this year are very healthy. In the same vein, Helen Wyman has done an incredible amount to push the sport along Internationally too with better working conditions for the professional girls. Last year I thought is was great to watch Sporza and Vier over Christmas and see Scottish Champion Rab Wardell race with the big boys, that really was something. I think anyone who gives the sport a go and does not “pussytalk” about it on social media gets my vote. So if I admire anyone it is everyone who just gets on with it with no whining and complaining and says thank you to an organiser or marshal during the year.
9. Any particular highlights from last season?
Getting pumped by the V65 World Champion at Durham was up there. Not getting lapped by Gary McCrae at Falkirk meant a lot to me as well, as the top veterans would give a lot of the Seniors a run for it.
10. Finally, what are you looking forward to most this season?
My racing has been a bit limited this year with work and suchlike. I hope to try and get a lot more races in 2016. At the minute I am starting to pull together the bones of putting another race on at Beveridge Park on February 7th 2016. Hopefully this will happen and everyone will give it the support, which if the first one was anything to go by...it may just be a cracker.