1. Can you introduce yourself and let our readers know a little bit about you?
My name is Cameron Mason and I ride for Team Leslie Bike Shop/ Bikers Boutique. I am in my last year of youth racing! I race cyclocross in the winter and Cross-country Mountain biking in the summer. I compete at a national level in both disciplines and just really enjoy riding my bike every day.
2. How long have you been involved in cyclocross?
Although my roots are in mountain bike racing from the age of 6, I have been cyclocross racing for around 6 seasons, (maybe more than some of the Vet40s!). Over the last two years I have raced a few British National trophies and they have been by far the most physically demanding and technically challenging cross races I have ever done. If you think Lochore Meadows is a muddy race then try to race in any wet National Trophy round.
3. What got you into the sport in the first place?
My cousin, who at the time was racing at a British level in MTB, was starting to try cross and we inevitably gave it a try. Without cross the winter would be a lot less fun!
4. Can you remember the first CX race you went to, and how did it go?
The first cross race I did was a small club race in Reading that my cousin had recommended while we were down visiting them. I was 9 and was on a Cube MTB alongside curly bars and skinny tires. It was in a woody park on a really fun course. I won the Under 10’s and came second in the Under 12’s, I was hooked, not on the winning but I liked the higher speeds and how there was still a large technical element.
5. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at a cross race?
At the Milton Keynes World Cup last season it was a classic boggy and muddy race. There was one very hard off camber section where I was watching practice. Over the course of 30mins I had Lars Van der Haar, Tom Meeusen and Sven Nys’s bikes in my shins as they crashed under the barriers. My claim to fame is that at the National Trophy the next day, I could ride it faster than them!
6. What’s the most embarrassing thing YOU’VE done at a race, on or off the bike?
Last year at the Knockhill cross race (the one in the horizontal blizzard and the lake sized puddles) I raced to 3rd in the Under 16s. In the process I got extremely cold and immediately after my race trudged into the toilets and sat next to the sink with my hands in the warm water screaming with pain. I am now immune to numb hands and feet! I have also driven half way back up the country from Milton Keynes to find my timing trasponder in my pocket and my race licence at the event. It was quite quiet in the car from then.
7. Do you have a favourite course, either to ride, or to spectate?
I have raced at Auchentoshan for quite a few years and always love it. It has great features to watch from the fast hurdles on lap one, the grass banks and the stream then mud climb of death. It is a mountain bikers course which suites me and is a classic Scottish cross course if there is one. I also love Cally Park as the weather is usually nice and the setting is awesome.
8. Are there any riders you particularly admire?
I have always admired Grant (The Frog) Ferguson. From my early racing days at SXC’s at Drumlanrig where Grant would fly round winning with ease in the Youths to now where he can turn up to any cross race and usually win in style. I also have recently started to admire Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel for the way they are dominating the World cyclcross scene. They are the new generation of skilled riders with classy technique and are shattering the old guys.
9. Any particular highlights from last season?
Lochore Meadows from last year was a good one. While warming up on the rollers I snapped my gear selector (just the plastic bit on campag) which meant I couldn’t change for the whole race. It was particularly muddy and there were a few deep boggy sections. For these I had to yank the gear cable to change up the block for a bit to get a higher cadence. I came 3rd which was my best results last year so maybe a single speed would work for me!
10. Finally, what are you looking forward to most this season?
Irvine is always a great one. There is no other race like it in the UK and never fails to make some great racing. It being Scottish Champs this year will only make it better. Hopefully the winds won’t be as wild as last year!