It wasn’t too long ago that the only method by which Cameron Mason could ascend the climbs at Glentress was by being pushed up them by his dad. 

So to now be on the verge of competing in the Cycling World Championships on those very same climbs is, he admits, a somewhat surreal feeling. 

As a kid, Mason learnt his trade in Glentress. 

Despite hailing from Linlithgow, countless weekends were spent on his bike in the Tweed Valley. 

In the early days, reaching the top of the hills was an ordeal, to say the least. 

But riding in Glentress is, believes Mason, what laid the foundations for where he is now, as a 22-year-old; one of the best mountain bikers in Britain. 

“Glentress is a very special place to me – I remember my dad pushing me up the hills and as I got older and stronger, he’d have to push me less and less. There’d be tantrums on my way up there sometimes. But I remember him having to help me less and less,” he says. 

“I also remember the big climb that goes from the bottom of the hill up to the top car park – it felt like this massive, epic alpine to me and it’d take me maybe 45 minutes or even an hour to get up it. Whereas now, it takes me about eight minutes. 

“Over the last 15 years of riding there, I’ve seen it all change. And so now, to see a World Championship course be built on the trails that I’ve ridden for so many years is crazy. This place has definitely had a big part to play in my career.” 

Mason is part of a GB mountain bike squad that will head to the Cycling World Championships, which begin on Thursday, that is stacked with Scots. 

Across the elite, under-23 and junior categories, Scotland has an impressive 19 mountain bikers riding for GB, with Mason one of the leading lights. 

He has a testing couple of weeks ahead, though. 

Mason will ride both the mountain bike cross-country marathon next Sunday, as well as the mountain bike cross-country elite race the following Saturday and while it’s a daunting prospect knowing that there’s only six days between the two events, Mason is confident he can be at his best for both. 

“Doing both is going to be hard,” he says. 

“The marathon race is going to be a four-and-a-half, five hour effort to cover the 96km and I’m going to finish totally empty.  

“But my training is all about dealing with fatigue and I’m confident I’ll be able to do what I need to do to recover and a couple of days before the cross-country race, I’ll start to feel completely normal again.” 

Mason has been in some of the best form of his life this season, and particularly in recent weeks. 

Last month, he finished twelfth at the European Mountain Biking Cross-Country Championships before becoming British mountain bike marathon champion and taking silver at the British Mountain Bike XC Championships. 

Such strong results have done no harm to Mason’s confidence levels but he’s well aware that despite knowing the courses for the upcoming World Championships like the back of his hand, mountain biking is a sport in which nothing can be taken for granted. 

“My season has been good and it’s been step by step progression,” he says. 

“We’ve had the opportunity to ride the Worlds courses already and that should give us a little bit of an edge. And there’s the feeling of being so relaxed racing at home – that’s a big thing when you’re racing at this level. 

“In mountain biking, there’s a lot of things you can control like your training, your recovery and who you have around you but there’s also loads of things you can’t control like the weather, the conditions, the track, other racers.  

“But I’m pretty good at dealing with the uncontrollables; the more hectic and chaotic things are, the better I do usually because I have a good racer’s instinct,  

“So I have confidence I can deal with whatever happens and do the right things.” 

Mason is far from a novice when it comes to riding World Championships – he’s competed at several cyclocross World Championships in recent years – but he’s in no doubt that with this one being on home soil, nothing he’s experienced before will match this. 

And so Mason is well aware of the significance of the next couple of weeks. 

“It’s a huge thing being at home and as it’s got closer, it’s felt even more of a big deal,” he says.  

“I’ve got some targets in my head but the competition is so tough that the swing in results can be pretty huge. 

“But one of my main targets is about really enjoying the experience. Embracing it and I want to look back on this and know I took it all in and didn’t wish it away because I was nervous. 

“I’ve done lots of World Championships in cyclocross but to be riding in a home World Championships is massive. And the fact I’m doing two disciplines adds another layer for me. 

“So this will be the biggest week of my career so far – although maybe I shouldn’t think too much about that.”