Cyclo-cross stars? Ah – up until now I couldn’t name one.
His team website informs us that;
‘Trinity is owned by London based sports management, marketing and events company, Trinity Sports Management, who work extensively in cycling and who manage Tom Picock’s career on and off the bike.’
‘We are also delighted to welcome two other young British riders in Cameron Mason and Abby-Mae Parkinson, and look forward to watching their progression throughout the season. We are excited to be supported by an impressive list of equipment and technical partners, which includes Sram, Maap and Specialized.’
Cameron spoke to VeloVeritas from his base near Brussels in Belgium the other day to talk mud, tyre pressures and wash days in The Flatlands.
You’re only 19, Cameron but you’ve been racing for years?
“I started riding cross country mountain bike when I was eight or nine, I got into under 12 ‘cross then as a junior I rode the British MTB and ‘cross series with my dad driving me all over the country.”
What was the step up from junior to u23 like?
“When you’re a junior you’re racing with guys the same age as you are but when you turn u23 you’re riding against men – and in Belgium as an u23 you often get chucked in with the Elites, so you’re lining up with the Mathieus and Wouts of this world.”
Do you still ride MTB in the summer?
“Yes, there a lot of MTB races I’d like to ride this summer coming up but my favourite is ‘cross.”
It’s been a breakthrough winter for you.
“Yes, I’ve had a good winter; I got third in the British Nationals behind my team mate, Tom Pidcock and Ben Tullett, which was a satisfying result.
“And I’ve had top 10 placings in the Belgian DVV Trophy series of races; and of course in the UCI World Cup at Tabor [and again in Nommay, ed.]
“I’ve progressed this winter and whilst that’s great on a personal basis, I hope that it inspires more riders back in Scotland to get into the sport and see how far they can go.”
What’s your favourite parcours?
“Definitely one with a bit of elevation.
“I struggle a bit if it’s flat and fast so I definitely like a bit of climbing. Overijse is one I like – and Namur; we raced there the day before that Elite epic in the mud and rain on the Sunday where Mathieu had the duel with Toon Aerts, but it was still a tough race although not as cold as the Sunday.”
You’re based near Brussels during the season with your Trinity Racing team?
“Yes that’s right. We have the team house here and full support as the only British UCI ‘cross team.
“We have a soigneur, mechanics and manager – massive support and of course, I’m learning every day from living and training with someone as talented as Tom Pidcock.
“We also have the option of training down in Girona, Tom is down there just now but I chose to stay up here in anticipation of the Nommay race.”
Any ‘tricks of the trade’ about how you get your skinsuit clean after a race like Namur?
“We’re so well provided for in terms of clothing I could just about ride a new skinsuit at every race but I like to save new skinsuits for big occasions, like The Nationals.
“I’m not so bad because there’s not so much white in our colours – but if you’re a national or world champion with a white skinsuit I imagine it would make life more difficult!
“The only ‘trick’ is that I give the suit a good hose down to get the worst of the mud off it before I put it in the washing machine.”
Tell us a little about your training.
“Most of our work is done on the road, on our ‘cross bikes with road wheels.
“We do so much racing that you don’t really need to spend too much time on practicing your skills.”
What about those mad fast starts, do you specific training for them?
“The start is very important, if you don’t have a good one you’re on the back foot from the off.
“I practice starting, clipping in and changing up through the gears – in those starts you’re at maximum watts as soon as the flag drops so a good warm up is vital.”
You’re on Specialized machines with SRAM equipment, what about tyres, they’re so important in your game?
“Yes, Specialized with 1 x 12 SRAM electronic; Challenge tyres, we have a full range of six tyres to choose from for all conditions, fast, sand, super muddy.
“Our mechanics are very experienced and fit the wheels and tyres at pressures they think are right for the course and conditions.
“They usually get it right but you can ask for a mid-race change if you think a different set up would be better.
“I’m having to get used to speaking in ‘bars’ – no one talks about ‘psi!’”
Do you have any road ambitions for the future?
“Right now everything is for ‘cross but I love the MTB, if someone said you have to choose between your ‘cross, road and MTB machines to go for a ride then it would be the MTB.
“Road racing is the pinnacle of the sport though, so I wouldn’t rule anything out – but all those hours you have to do training for road racing is a bit of a thought!”
What would you like to achieve over the next five years?
“My mid-term goal is that I’d like to win a Worlds u23 medal, most likely in ‘cross – and I want to achieve good results and rack up those u23 ‘cross podiums.”
Not long ‘til the Worlds?
“We had the World Cup at Nommay and we have another at Hoogerheide, then it’s the Worlds; Saturday 1st of Feb. at Dübendorf in Switzerland.
“It’s a flat course but pretty technical.”
[The event web site describes it thus: ‘Dübendorf airfield site is flat. However, the barriers and bridges used in the course ensure a variety of altitudes. The fast-paced course promises exhilarating races with plenty of lead changes. The flat nature of the site provides spectators with an almost perfect view over the entire course.’ ed.]
“We’ll travel over on the Wednesday so we’ll have plenty of time to get acquainted with it.
“It’s my second Worlds and I’m really looking forward to it.
“After the Worlds we have four races in February and that’s the ‘cross season over for another year.”
VeloVeritas will be watching the Hoogerheide and Dübendorf results with interest and wish Cameron ‘all the best’ for both races.