After their race on Sunday afternoon at Abriachan, I managed to get a word with two of our promising Junior riders, Iain Paton and Stuart Wilcox. They'd just spent an hour being best of enemies on the race track, but were inseparable after the finish line.
These two young lads are great hoped for the future of Scottish mountain biking, and are exciting to watch out on the course, making it all look far too easy!
Both boys are in their first year at university, however, as yet seem to be resisting too much wild partying to focus on training. Long may that continue!
Thank you for your time boys, it was great to chat and find out about your racing. All the best to both of you for the rest of the season and your continued success in cycling.
How did you get on in the race today and what did you think of the course?
I was 1st junior in the race today, I’m really happy with that. It was a really good day on, and especially as it was on a fairly local course. It was a really good course, a lot like what I remember the SXC courses to be like from when I started racing. There was really good, muddy, technical terrain. As juniors we were only doing three laps, whereas the Elite’s were doing five, maybe they had it a bit harder but ours was definitely more intense!
How is your training going in 2013?
Yeah, it’s going really good. I’m just back from a training camp in Manchester with ODP (Olympic Development Programme – a highly commendable feat to achieve selection for this programme). It’s really hard work to be part of the ODP, but that’s what you’d expect from a programme that is deigned to push you to your limits and to develop you to your full potential as a cyclist. The last few weeks my training has been a bit on and off, but with the camp last week it has increased. On the camp we were doing three training sessions a day – once on the turbo, a road ride, and a mountain bike ride.
It’s quite difficult to balance studying at university with my training, as both require a lot of time and dedication. It really makes me appreciate how easy it was before when I was at school.
What are your aims for 2013?
I am to get onto the podium at the British National series races. This will hopefully lead to me gaining selection for the Junior World Cups, and ultimately the Junior World Championships. I raced the 2012 Junior World Championships and it was a great experience. I was gridded 104th(!) which made it quite challenging, but it was a really good learning experience as a junior.
Who do you ride for and what bike do you race?I’m currently riding for the local club here, Ben Wyvis CC. They’re a really great club, and are well supported by Dryburgh Bicycles in Dingwall. I ride a new Forme bike, it’s a 29’er and was perfectly suited to that type of course!
How did you enjoy today? How did you get on in the race?
I got 2nd placed junior today, only 30seconds behind Iain. It was a very good race on an “old skool” SXC course with a great mix of natural, technical sections and man–made climbs. It was the kind of course that I really enjoy racing my bike on.
How’s the 2013 race season going for you and what do you hope to achieve this year?
I’ve been progressing well since the start of the year and I’m looking forward to getting even closer to Iain at the next race down at Cornwall. My biggest goal for 2013 is the British Championships, as they are at Cathkin Braes in Glasgow. I stay in Glasgow for university so it’s become my local course so I have no excuse not to know it like the back of my hand. It’s a really great course up there, I’m so impressed with what they have done with it. I’d also hope to gain selection for the Junior World Cups and, hopefully, the Junior World Championships.
It’s quite difficult to balance the demands of training, racing and Uni work this year. I am managing to keep up with it though and it helps me to focus my training.