Some insights into the youth CX scene from DTCC’s dynamic duo.
(Photo: Elliot and Melanie at Valkenburg by Sarah Rowe.)
1. Can you introduce yourselves and let our readers know a little bit about you?
E: Hello, I’m Elliot Rowe. I’m 12 years old and I race for Deeside Thistle CC. I completed my first season of under 14 in the 2018/2019 season.
M: Hi everyone my name is Melanie Rowe and I am ten, I love riding my bike, and my club is Deeside Thistle.
2. How long have you been involved in cyclocross?
M: I have been involved in CX since I was five but started racing when I was six.
E: I have been involved in CX racing for 6 years and thoroughly love every bit of it.
3. What got you into the sport in the first place?
E: When I was in Ythan CC one of the coaches Malcolm Cooper was heavily involved in cyclo-cross. One Saturday morning Malcolm encouraged me to try a CX race and I am glad I did!
M: When I was in Ythan CC one of the club coaches (Malcolm Cooper) was really keen on CX (he loved it) and encouraged the youth to try CX.
4. Can you remember the first CX race you went to, and how did it go?
E: It was Knockburn Cyclo-Cross and I did it with two friends from school. It was a struggle for me to get my bike up the bank after the sand pit. I remember the marshals having to help all of us push our bikes up - it was great fun.
M: My first CX race was at Inch Park in Edinburgh. In the under 8 race, when we did the hurdles a helper might slip Monopoly money into our jersey pocket, then push us up the hill. It was great because at the end if you had a Monopoly ticket you got an unhealthy treat!
5. What's the craziest thing you've seen at a cross race?
M: The funniest thing that I can remember is at Valkenburg, the cyclocross world championships. The crazy fans all dressed up in cool costumes - Where’s Wally, Bananas, Gendarmes, Dancing Farmers, and many more, far too many to list.
E: The craziest thing I have seen was two men in the vet 40 race having a scrap at the bottom of a run up.
6. What's the most embarrassing thing you have done at a race, on or off a bike?
E: I remember this particular fail well. It was at a Deeside BBQ and we were doing some fun races. I was in front of Kelvin White and I was ‘shutting the door’ on him through the corners. It was the last lap and I went into the hurdles and couldn’t get my foot out and BANG I fell flat on my face.
M: On the same day, same place as Elliot fell flat on his face, I accidentally brought two left shoes. The really bad thing was that they were quite different sizes…
7. Do you have a favourite course, either to ride, or to spectate?
E: I like lots of courses but I think my favourite course to race is Callendar Park in Falkirk - the updated 2018 course was amazing. The run ups, steps and the off camber downhill bank into the finish were so good.
M: Falkirk is by far my favourite course to ride or spectate. You really need brute strength to ride it. Another good thing about it is the mud at the end.
8. Are there any riders you particularly admire?
E: I admire lots of riders. My CX favourites are Cameron Mason, Sean Flynn, Ben Tullett and Mathieu Van Der Poel.
M: I admire Emily Carrick-Anderson, the McGorum sisters and Elliot Rowe (my big brother).
9. Any particular highlights from last season?
M: My highlight of last season is Mull. It was the first time going there and to race there is amazing. I got a good result but most importantly I had fun with my friends and watched the racing. Sadly Elliot didn’t race because he was ill.
E: My highlight from last season was that I won the Scottish CX series. My low point was that I was ill for the champs and missed Mull.
10. Finally, what are you looking forward to next season
E: I am looking forward to the British round at Irvine in October and the Scottish Championships.
M: I am looking forward to getting muddy and the racing, especially Falkirk and all the races to come.