‘My favourite type of race is when it’s absolute carnage. When everyone’s flying everywhere and you never know where you’re going to crash out – I love those conditions.’

Cyclocross – which is akin to mountain biking but takes place in the winter months and on a bike similar to a road bike – is not for the faint-hearted, and that is just how Emily Carrick-Anderson likes it.

The teenager is one of Scotland’s brightest hopes on both a mountain bike and cyclocross bike and she goes into today’s British Cyclocross Championships praying for as much mud, rain and wind as the course in Milnthorpe, Cumbria can muster.

Last year was not the smoothest for Carrick-Anderson; recurrent tonsillitis meant her training and race programme was severely disrupted but better health towards the end of the year has seen her hit her best form just when it matters.

A spell of competing in Belgium over the new year led to victory last weekend at the UCI race in Hampshire, which was backed up with a third place the following day meaning the 17-year-old from Peebles goes into today’s national championships full of confidence.

“My season hadn’t been too great but then I went to Belgium over the winter and now I feel like I’m peaking towards the most important part of the season,” she says.

“I’m feeling good, although I am a bit nervous because I know it can go any way but if everything goes well, I should hopefully get a good result.”

Cyclocross results are notoriously difficult to predict such is the impact the weather can have but if Carrick-Anderson gets her wish and the conditions are wet and mucky, she hopes to make an impact in the under-20 category.

“I’m a big fan of slippy, muddy conditions. I wake up on the morning of a race hoping for rain; I think that comes from being from Scotland,” the GB internationalist says.

“It’s difficult in cyclocross to set targets because courses can be so different but for this race, I’d be happy with top five, but to be honest, getting on the podium is what I really want to do, that’s the goal.”

That Carrick-Anderson has become an elite cyclist comes as little surprise given her background. Her father is a former Scottish mountain bike champion and so she, and her brother Corran – who was also due to be in action at the British Championships today but for a late injury – have been on two wheels ever since she can remember.

With her brother two years her elder and a regular in a GB skinsuit, he has long set the standard.

“My brother and I have been cycling since we were really, really young,” she says. “Corran began doing bigger races and then I just followed him. There’s never been any doubt in our minds that we’d be cyclists.

“It’s good that we’re never competing directly against each other so that helps us not get too competitive, and with the two-year age gap, he’s always ahead of me anyway.

“It’s never been a really competitive relationship; any time he gets a good win, I do think I’d love to do that too but really, I’m just proud when he does well and he’s the same with me.

“It’s so helpful having him because literally everything I’m doing, he’s been there and done it ahead of me and so he can give me advice. And any mistakes he’s made, he can tell me not to make them too.”

Despite Carrick-Anderson’s recent success in cyclocross, her primary goals for the year are on her mountain bike, which remains her favoured discipline.

The World Championships come to Scotland in August and with the mountain biking event held just minutes from her front door in Glentress, the teenager needs little extra motivation.

GB team selection remains some months away but these World Championships constantly occupy a place in her mind.

“The Worlds in Glasgow is definitely my main focus at the moment,” she says.

“It’s pretty crazy to think we’ll have the very best riders in the world in our home town.

“I definitely have days when I don’t want to go out in the rain and the snow but the Worlds is something that gets me out there. It’s tricky because I’ve obviously got to get selected for it first but I have to just remember that the way to get selected is to do this tough training and then that’ll give me the best chance of being there.”

There is a raft of Scots joining Carrick-Anderson on the start-line at the British Championships today, with Cameron Mason leading the charge in the elite race, while in the women’s under-23 race, both Elena McGorum and Anna Flynn have their sights on silverware.

Alongside Carrick-Anderson in the women’s under-20 race is another medal hopeful, Daisy Taylor, while in the men’s under-20 race, Reuben Oakley has the potential to make the podium.