Cameron Mason has made a name for himself over recent seasons, with the last year the standout for the 22 year-old Scotsman.
Of his 12 UCI Cyclocross races last winter the Trinity Racing rider took nine top 10s, won the British national title and, most notably finished ninth in the Elite World Championships.
Mason also competes on the road and mountain bike, and this year won his first UCI MTB race.
So how did it all start?
CM: “We were always a cycling family, we used to go on family cycling holidays and cycle touring around Scotland. But when I was eight or nine years old I went to a Scottish mountain bike cross country race, it must have been a 10 or 15 minute race but it got me and my brother into it and then my dad was racing as well.
“So all the way through juvenile and youth categories all three of us were racing and my mum would be helping on the sidelines, so it's a proper family thing.
“I then progressed to doing national level events and then when I got to junior level I started doing more international stuff with mountain bike races in Spain and Switzerland. In cyclocross I started going to Belgium and I've just tried to progress every single year, kind of getting me to a point now where I'm one of the best cyclocross riders in the world.”
You were ninth at Worlds, that’s mental!
CM: “That was one of the best rides of my career but because all of the steps have been so small and incremental it doesn't feel that difficult. The hard bit was not the race bit, the hard bit was the months and months of preparation and the years of work, when I turned up on race day all the stuff was already inside of me ready to go.
“But it is nice to look back and realise exactly what I did do because it's quite a select club of us British riders who have top 10.”
Congratulations. You had a brilliant season how does that a make you feel about your options?
CM: “My successful cyclocross season does make me think what's possible and what my next goals would be if I was to have the same approach with mountainbiking, gravel and road as I do with cyclocross.
"I work better on a six to 12 months thing where I can have these medium term goals that really do push me towards the bigger things. At the moment I'm just gearing up for a big summer where probably the pinnacle will be World Champs at home in Glasgow on the mountain bike, but there are going to be other kind of key 'A' goals through the summer.”
Will you have to cut down the variety of disciplines?
CM: ”As long as I feel like I'm getting peak performance out of one or two of the disciplines then I see no reason to cut down.
“For example I did a really big cyclocross season 2021 into 2022 and then I went straight into a big mountain bike season, with some gravel races as well, and towards the end the quality was really going down. At that point I decided to take a step back, have a proper off-season and then rebuild for the cyclocross season just gone by.
“I can say I'm a gravel racer and I can say I'm a cyclocross racer and a mountain bike racer or a road racer, but there's always gonna be one or two that are that are higher up the priorities and I'm going to sacrifice things so that I can be top level for those.”
When it comes to training how do the disciplines compliment each other?
CM: “Coming from cyclocross the main thing you're gonna do is just a load of intensity and when you're doing that intensity it's harder to get the hours in.
"It's just finding time to pick up those low spots and then look after the high spots as well. It's a balancing act, because whatever you focus on the other aspects will start to slip away, so you're always spinning plates.
“If you try and work on everything at once it’s too much stimulus to deal with, so we break it down into blocks. At the moment I'm in a bit of an endurance phase and then we'll switch into a kind of threshold phase. I'm naturally quite like a VO2 max type rider so that never needs a huge amount to work, so what we do work on more is the endurance and the threshold stuff.”
What do you think of the whole gravel scene?
CM: “I feel like I've been doing gravel for ages, being a cyclocross rider that's basically what I've been doing in the winters anyway, riding on gravel trails. So I'm incredibly comfortable riding a dropped bar a bike with narrow tyres off road, I’ve been doing that since I've been like 12/13 years old. It's just the racing aspect, I’m still working out what the tactics mean.”
How does it feel to have the first TREK UCI Gravel World Series event in Scotland?
CM: “There's loads of excitement and it's only gonna getmore exciting once the actual Gravel World Series starts because that's goingto set the level and then everyone knows that that level is coming to Scotlandand the UK.”
If he’s not a star already Cameron is certainly one for the future and you can follow along. He’s active on Instagram @camerooney.mason, but you can learn a lot about the man and his cycling life on his YouTube channel @cameronmason.