2x10: Matt & Elisa Smith

2x10: Matt & Elisa Smith

1. Can you introduce yourselves and let our readers know a little bit about you?

Elisa: My name is Elisa Smith, I live in Peebles and I'm a cycle trainer. I do everything from delivering Bikeability in schools to coaching mountain biking at Glentress. Been biking for 20 odd years, came into it later in life but it pretty much takes up all my time now. It's in our blood!
Matt: My name is Matt Smith and by day I'm a civil servant, but all the rest of the time I'm a cyclist.

2. How long have you been involved in cyclocross?

Elisa: I started racing CX last season and did the full SCX Series plus the Super Quaich. Prior to that I was at races supporting my husband Matt and duaghter Ruby.
Matt: This year will by my 3rd full season of racing cyclocross.

3. What got you into the sport in the first place?

Matt: I've been 'cross-curious' for years. About 15 years ago I did weekly rides with Colin Shearer and Jason Hyndes and they both races cross to keep fit in the winter. That's the first time it really came to my attention, but as I didn't have a mountain bike or cross bike I never joined them.
Elisa: I've always loved cycle sport and in my 20's I spent 4 years racing at Track League at Meadowbank. I gave all that up when I had a family and became a recreational cyclist, but after 'holding the coats' for Matt and Ruby at their races for a year I decided enough is enough and I pinned a number on again. Now I'm hooked!

4. Can you remember the first CX race you went to, and how did it go?

Elisa: First CX race I watched was at Meadowmill and I remember thinking how mad it looked! The first one I did myself was Haughcross 2015. Baptism of fire as it was 2 races in one day! I remember saying if I get through the first race I'll just watch the 2nd one, but it didn't take much for me to get on the start line in the afternoon and I actually rode better in race 2! I came 8th (last) in the first race and 10th (3rd last) in race 2!
Matt: 1st CX race I watched was at Meadowmill, organised by Colin Shearer. The first one I raced at was Foxlake 3 years ago, on my MTB with CX tyres. I've been hooked ever since!

5. What's the craziest thing you've seen at a cross race?

Matt: Craziest thing I've seen was Steven Turbitt racing on a fat bike in a sumo suit at Suppercross. He could really shift that thing!
Elisa: Lots of crazy things happen at CX races, but Craig Lewis Hamilton's costume at Santa Cross World champs is up there with the best...Santa riding a reindeer! Haha!

6. What's the most embarrassing thing you've done at a race, on or off a bike?

Elisa: Probably my daughter Ruby could answer this question better as I'm sure I constantly embarrass her at races! I did fall flat on my face in the mud at Lochore Meadow when my foot wouldn't unclip before the barriers! I'm sure there are plenty more embarrassing moments to come...
Matt: Most embarrassing moment was racing at Mull Santa Cross World champs in my daughter's red tutu, then ruining it when it got caught on a post!

7. Do you have a favourite course, either to ride, or to spectate?

Matt: Favourite race to spectate at is Irvine Beach, and to ride at is Doonbank.
Elisa: Callander Park is a great course as it tends to be dry and warm and the rollers at the back end of the course are fun, but probably my favourite course last year was the Doonbank Trophy as it was really challenging but brilliant fun. Despite the pain and suffering I remember laughing a lot!

8. Are there any riders you particularly admire?

Elisa: Pro rider I most admire is Helen Wyman. She works hard and is so passionate about cyclocross, plus she is a great advocate for equal rights for women in the sport. Her new initiative 'Next Wyman' is also really exciting for young riders looking to get into CX racing at a world class level.
Matt: I really admire Katarina Nash. The way she rides at Namur is a lesson on how cross should be ridden.

9. Any particular highlights from last season?

Elisa: Coming in the top 10 of the women's category in the Scottish series is a definite highlight from last year. As far as race highlights I think the Mull weekend has to be up there. So much fun and the true spirit of Scottish cross!
Matt: Highlights were my first podium at the St Valentine's Day MassaCXre and getting into the top 20 on the Scottish series. The whole Super Quaich series was also superb.

10. Finally, what are you most looking forward to this season?

Matt: I'm mostly looking forward to getting muddy and that feeling you get on Monday at work after you've emptied yourself at a race the day before.
Elisa: I'm looking forward to being covered in mud and having a post race burrito and coffee/beer!

Mat Smith, flying to the podium at the St Valentines Day CX MassaCXre. Photo by Elisa Smith

Mat Smith, flying to the podium at the St Valentines Day CX MassaCXre. Photo by Elisa Smith

Elisa Smith, popping out of the infamous Rhododendron sunup on Day 1 at Mull. Photo by Addy Pope.