With less than a week until the final round of the 2017-18 Lapierre SCX Series, who better to sit down in the 1x10 hot seat than your host for Round 6, Guto Williams.
1. Can you introduce yourself and let our readers know a little bit about you?
My name is Guto Williams. I'm one of the coaches at the EK Road Club. I've been cycling since I was at high school when my dad who was a long time bikie got me into the sport. I've competed at most disciplines - most successfully as a (whisper it!) triathlete in the 1990s! I spent some time racing at home and had the opportunity to race further afield in the US, in Europe and in New Zealand.
Nowadays, my main interest is coaching the youths in our club. My main focus is the younger riders who come along to our drop-in sessions at Calderglen High School. We have now had may riders who started here move on to become very successful racers on and off road.
2. How long have you been involved in cyclocross?
I've been into CX since about 2006. I started out by participating in races and moved fairly quickly into the organisation and commissairing side of things. I've probably been comm for more races now than I competed in! I've just started dipping my toe back into the racing again this season.
3. What got you into the sport in the first place?
I was encouraged to give it a go by Paul McInally - who was one of the top seniors in those days: we rode together in the Bundy road bunch. I was still racing on the road and thought that it would be fun over the winter. It looked utterly awful - a true Northern European Presbyterian sport!
It must be my mother's influence as a Methodist from rural Wales rubbing off. Why take part in a sport where you can be comfortable and dry when you can be up to your neck in mud, be cold and be breathing out of every orifice for 60 minutes?
4. Can you remember the first CX race you went to, and how did it go?
My first CX was at Bannerman High in the East of Glasgow. We all lined up together (seniors, women, vets and juniors in the one race) and were sent through the school long jump sand pit! I had no idea how to ride the technical sections and rattled myself on my first attempt at a remount. I finished easily in the bottom half of the field!
5. What's the craziest thing you've seen at a cross race?
I've seen some spectacularly strange things but the daftest thing was Connor Nally trying to ride the Santa Cross on Mull on a unicycle. The most unusual was the famous Irvine Turtle or a rider being mugged and having his glasses nicked by a deer at Strathy Park.
6. What's the most embarrassing thing you have done at a race, on or off a bike?
Remounts. I've nearly halved myself a couple of times. Last year at Irvine (on top of using file-tread tyres with bugger-all grip) I ended up in dead-last place when I had to take five minutes to recover after a particularly bad remount at the end of the sand-pit! I rode a race in CXNW race in Liverpool a few years back when I was badly hung-over. Six times I was lapped.
7. Do you have a favourite course, either to ride, or to spectate?
I loved Callander Park. I'd comm'd the race a few times but this season was the first time I got to ride it. I had a great race with three or four guys but was out-sprinted at the last by Keith Anderson!
8. Are there any riders you particularly admire?
As a rider and contributor to the sport, I've always admired Rab Wardell. He was the consummate racer - especially in adversity and through his work, he does loads to encourage people at all levels into the sport, to improve their riding and achieve their potential as riders.
9. Any particular highlights from this season?
The rain, mud and glaur at Callander Park!
10. Finally, what are you looking forward to next season.
Racing again, watching the kids from our club continue to improve and possibly expanding our event portfolio!