1x10: James McCallum

1x10: James McCallum

Our latest interviewee genuinely needs no introduction - a legend of the Scottish (and British) cycling scene, star of the track, road and CX, coach and NC500 record breaker.

Entries are open for James' latest venture, a brand new CX race in Broxburn at the end of the month. Enter Here

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

I’m probably best known as Jimmy Mac in the cycling world. I’m a Scottish former professional racing cyclist who previously rode for Plowman Craven, Endura Racing, NFTO Pro Cycling and Rapha Condor. I was the British National Criterium Champion and represented Scotland in four Commonwealth Games (Manchester, Melbourne, Delhi, Glasgow) winning a bronze medal in the Scratch race in 2006.

I retired from professional cycling after competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. After retiring from racing I worked at ONE Pro Cycling as a coach and Directeur Sportif for a couple of years.

I now own my own Performance Clinic called What’s your META in Edinburgh and work with athletes from all disciplines within cycling, and I’ve taken on several personal challenges, including breaking the record to become fastest person to complete the Scottish North Coast 500.

2. How long have you been involved in cyclocross?

I actually raced cross as early as 1992 at Auchetoshen and Kings Park back when it was 30 folk in a field. I made a return to it in 2010 just as Cross became more mainstream. Unfortunately i’ve only dabbled with CX the last 4-5 years, but would love to get stuck into more racing in the coming season.

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

My grandad was a cyclist, however he passed away when I was only a couple month old. My Gran would buy every one of her grandsons a racer when they got to the end of primary school in the hope they would follow in his footsteps. None of them really bothered with it but after watching the Tour de France in 1989 I was hooked

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

I got battered… Haha. My mum was feeding me Kendal mint cake from the side of the track to help get me round. I remember doing the inter regionals for WOSCA that year and again getting kicked about the place

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

Bart Wellens trying to Karate Kick a spectator who was checking him. Youtube it. It’s class, especially when you add in your own sound effects...

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

Being on the start line of a cross race in Mugdock park one year and getting the cable of the generator for the start finish arch wrapped around my pedal.

I ended up dragging the generator with me for the first 50 metres or so only to have to stop and unravel the cable as the arch quickly began to sink and proceed to almost wipe out the last few riders at the back of the grid.

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

Koksijde and Zonhoven are my favourites. Loads of spectators and crazy courses.

8. Are there any riders you particularly admire?

I think Sven Nijs as many others will agree is the real legend of Cross. He changed the game late 90’s and was still smashing it at 40.

Nowadays I would say van der Poel is another level. Even more so as he is such a dynamic rider and can turn his hand to anything.

9. Any particular highlights from last season?

My only biggest highlight was entering lots of races. However I never got to the start line of any of them apart from the summer races in September. LOL

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

I’m looking forward to seeing how the new generation coming up is going to change the racing. When you have lads like Cameron Mason and Sean Flynn on the grid you better be ready.