McNamee and Buchanan on Kilts, Haggis, and BMC
Scotland is no France or Belgium when it comes to producing volumes of famous, world class cyclists. It’s a pretty small country, more famous for its bid for independence and…Mel Gibson’s Braveheart than cycling. Well…we’ve got news for you! Our racing teams have taken on two up-and-coming Scottish athletes for 2016.
They are colorful, sometimes loud, often incomprehensible, and their sports are worlds apart - yet both have pure Scottish blood running through their veins. We got up close and personal with Lewis Buchanan (LB) and David McNamee (DM) to see what being a Scottish professional athlete in two completely different sports is like, and what being part of the BMC racing team family means.
BMC: David, how did you end up with the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team and Lewis you with the BMC Factory Trailcrew?
DM: Actually the team got in touch with me. Bob (de Wolf) wrote to me before Hawaii last year, after I won Ironman UK. I spent some months chatting with him. After speaking to him and Ben, I quickly realized that the BMC Etixx team was the place I wanted to be for 2016.
LB: I got in touch with BMC about my switch over to enduro from Downhill World Cup racing in the hope that they would believe in me and take a shot with me. I am super happy to have signed with the team and delighted to be supported with great equipment - and to have a great team around me to guide me to success this year.
BMC: Why is it better to be a triathlete or enduro mountain bike rider rather than a football player?
LB: First of all Who wants to kick a ball about a field when you can be riding insane trails in the Alps?
The places that Enduro racing takes you makes it one hell of an adventure and experience, and the buzz you get from racing is something I don’t think you can get from football. I played football when I was younger and found it pretty boring in comparison.
DM: I just prefer the image of triathlon. Footballers make a lot of money and you see a lot of theatrics going on, diving for the ball, dishonesty, people jumping around for the football. I think that triathlon is very honest, the strongest athlete wins. When you get to triathlon, people are winning because they are the best athletes but not because they are trying to convince a referee.
BMC: When did you start racing?
DM: I started when I was 17 or 18 with a race in Edinburgh on New Year’s Day. I entered out of curiosity. All of a sudden I was out there on the 1st of January. It was snowing, it was nuts. But some crazy part of me really enjoyed it.
I was just a kid who loved riding my bike. Racing was just one of those fun things to go do on the weekend.
LB: I started 'racing' at the age of 11 which is obviously really young. But I had no intentions of becoming a professional. I was just a kid who loved riding my bike. Racing was just one of those fun things to do on the weekend.
BMC: So, down to business. Do you drink Irn-Bru (a famous energy drink from Scotland)?
DM: Yeah of course. Every true Scottish person does, it’s basically a national sport. Obviously there’s a lack of Irn-bru in Girona where I live.
LB: I think my trainer would give me a slap...joke. But n,o I don’t drink it I think tastes terrible!
BMC: Tell us a little about Haggis, the Scottish national dish. Do you like it?
DM: I’d never choose Haggis from the menu! But when you are at home and someone comes to visit and there’s Haggis on the menu you go ahead and eat it. Personally it’s not my favorite. But I would eat it.
LB: Haggis is nice but I only really have it once a year. Haggis is a complicated dish, so when it turns up on the table its kind of exciting!
BMC: How would you describe Haggis to someone who has never tried it?
DM: I would describe Haggis as a magical ball of goodness. Nah. If you were English you would probably describe it as a big black pudding but that doesn’t relate to Boyd. It’s like a fat, fat sausage, but it’s not even a sausage. I couldn’t even describe the texture, it’s pretty unique. Maybe I’ll bring some along to the next team camp and force people to eat it!
LB: There is nothing you can really compare it to, so you'll have to go try it yourself!
BMC: Where do you see your biggest potential?
DM: I have lots to improve on the bike. But I feel confident that I’m going to make a big step forward this year. If I can get that sorted and keep running the way I have been, I think I can go to Hawaii and contend for the podium.
LB: I see my biggest potential being on the stages that are more downhill orientated this year which I’m sure I’ll feel more comfortable on.
BMC: Do you consider yourself as being quintessentially Scottish?
DM: I have a very Scottish accent. I own a kilt. I think I’m very typically Scottish. I’ve spent more or less my entire life there, I am Scottish through and through. A strong accent and hard as nails! all my family is there. Obviously there’s the Irn-Bru that strengthens my Scottish(ness), but everyone drinks that in Scotland. I’m proud of my strong accent, but it does make it difficult for other people.
LB: For sure...I am Scottish through and through. Strong accent and hard as nails!
BMC: What do you get up to when you aren’t training?
DM: I like to hang around in cafes drinking coffee in Girona. But apart from sports there isn’t much else to get up to. In It is nice though because you can go out for a meal late in the evening - which suits my training schedule.
LB: Outside of training I like to make the most of the downtime I have by catching up with my mates and going to the skate park when I can fit it in. I don’t get much time to do stuff like that and hanging with my friends keeps me sane.
BMC: Would you consider yourself a team player or more of an individual athlete?
DM: A lot of triathletes out there are completely on their own and self-trained. There are huge benefits to being part of a There are huge benefits to being part of a team, especially the BMC Etixx team, which is the gold standard when it comes to triathlon. team especially the BMC Etixx team, which is the gold standard when it comes to triathlon - everything is done very professionally. The biggest stand out is that everyone learns from each other. If I have a question I can ask some of the other members.
LB: I think a bit of both to be totally honest. I like to be my own man at times and focus on myself when I feel it’s needed. But I also like to work with others and help improve each other. I feel like me and Francois will be able to push each other this year and in return we will put ourselves in a great position come race time.
BMC: What would you say are typical characteristics of Scottish athletes?
DM: When I see Scottish athletes compete, they always give their best. They never give up. When Scottish athletes compete, they always give their best. They never give up. Out of 70 or 80 races I’ve only had to give up once. I was throwing up at the side of the road. That’s a pretty stubborn streak! We just won’t give up – we have fierce determination.
LB: We don’t mind a bit of wet weather. We are also pretty hardy too.
BMC: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
DM: My good looks (laughs). My biggest strength is my running. But that’s easy to say. I would say my mental toughness. When things are getting difficult and everything hurts, I’ll keep going. When things are getting difficult, everything hurts, but I’ll keep going. That’s something that’s really important and I’m pretty good at it. My weakness is my time-trialling. I’ve only been on a TT (time-trial) bike for one year. It feels like a different sport. But it’s also very exciting; there is a massive area I can improve on.
LB: My strengths are riding technical tracks, but I feel like can adapt to any type of track these days. I feel like those things that were weaknesses in the past, like my mental preparation, I have worked on quite a bit over the last couple of years. This should definitely stand to me in this transition between two types of mountain bike racing.
BMC: What is your main focus for 2016?
DM: To get back to Hawaii. Thankfully after my performance last year I already have a spot. I’d like to improve my time by 15 minutes which will put me into contention for a podium. Of course you never know what others are going to do…but the dream is to be on the podium. Winning would be nice. But the podium will do.
LB: My main focus is to make it through the whole season healthy and be consistent at each EWS round so that I am in a good position in the championship come the final round in Italy. I also really want to get a stage win at some point during the season - that would be massive for me and my confidence.
About David and Lewis
David McNamee is the new addition to the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace. Selected on the merits of showing enormous potential in long distance triathlon, this rookie clocked the fastest run time of the day at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, in 2015. His countryman, Lewis Buchanan, has not only changed teams, but also sports for 2016 - making the brave move from downhill mountain bike racing to enduro.