1x10: Gary McCrae

1x10: Gary McCrae

1. Can you introduce yourself and let our readers know a little bit about you?
My name is Gary McCrae, I’m 47 years old, I ride for Leslie Bike Shop Bikers Boutique, and I’m sponsored by John Henderson Fabrication, Wheelsmith and GripGrab. I’m the current Scottish V40 CX and MTB champion. I started racing bikes more than 30 years ago in my teens when I raced BMX. I’m also a Postie in my spare time - ha-ha.

2. How long have you been involved in cyclocross?
I raced my first cyclocross race in my home town Glenrothes 17 years ago on a MTB, when only a couple of guys had cross bikes. There were only about 30 guys racing.

3. What got you into the sport in the first place?
I did the Glenrothes race every year to start with as it was local - I liked the similarities with MTB and it was like being a kid again, playing in the mud.

4. Can you remember the first CX race you went to, and how did it go?
My first cross race was Glenrothes I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, riding at the back of the field getting lapped by the leaders but loving it.

5. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at a cross race?
I’ve seen some crazy things, but Cameron Mason bunny hops barriers I can hardly step over. The wee man has skills.

6. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done at a race, on or off a bike?
At Irvine this year Louise put my number on when I was on the turbo warming up. With 30 minutes until race time I had my OTE caffeine gel, and then nerves kicked in and I had to run to the portaloo. I found myself pinned into my baselayer and I had to rip myself out like the Incredible Hulk. When I eventually came out the queue of people waiting for the toilet were all staring at me.

7. Do you have a favourite course, either to ride, or to spectate?
Callander Park is my favourite course - Franco and Davie know what a good course should be like, and the atmosphere is always great.

8. Are there any riders you particularly admire?
Sven Nys is a legend, but the guys in Scotland that I admire include Stevie Jackson (who always gives me a great battle in the vets), Davie Lines and Gary Macdonald who just get faster with age. It’s great watching those guys having a hard but clean battle together. My team mate, Franco “The Godfather” Porco, is a legend in Scotland and Italy, but you have to admire everyone that races cross - as they say, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”

9. Any particular highlights from this season?
Winning the Scottish Champs, as I was feeling the pressure, but Irvine also has to be a highlight. A rider rode straight into me in the first corner taking the tub off the front wheel. I didn’t know what to do, so I started running to the pits in dead last place to change bikes. You think that’s game over, but with everyone shouting me on I had to give it everything I had and I finished in 6th place.

10. Finally, what are you looking forward to in the last few races of the season?
I’m looking forward to a wee rest then a good showing in the Super Quaich, if I get in…