With the news that Australian BMX and 4x rider Caroline Buchanan is making a return to the big wheels of downhill this year we asked her a few questions about her plans for 2013.
Hi Caroline, Good to see you making a return to the big bikes. So, downhill and BMX, what are your plans this year? Which events will you be doing?
2013 is shaping up to be a great year of fun on the MTB and BMX bikes.
Since hanging the 4x MTB bike on the wall after the 2010 MTB World Championships in Canada I have really missed the MTB scene and am looking forward to this years racing.
This is a rough look at my calendar of BMX and MTB races for 2013.
◙ Australian National Series Round – Mt Buller – 4x & DH (17th-20th Jan)
◙ Australian National Series Round – Thredbo – 4x & DH (7th-10th Feb)
◙ Australian National Championships – Canberra Stromlo Forest park – 4x & DH (20th-24th Feb)
◙ Seaotter MTB – California – Slalom & DH (18th – 21st April)
◙ Mountainbike World Cup Scotland – 4x & DH (7th-19th June)
◙ BMX World Championships New Zealand
◙ Crankworx MTB – Whister Canada – Slalom, A line, DH & Pump Track (9th-16th August)
◙ World Championships Mountain Bike – South Africa – 4x & DH (26th Aug – 1st September)
◙ ABA – American BMX Series
March 1st – 3rd Phoenix Arizona
March 8th – 10th Oldsmar Florida
March 22nd – 24th Desoto Texas
May 10th – 12th Charlotte North Carolina
May 31st – June 2nd Nashville Tennessee
July 5th – 7th SouthPark Pitsburg
October 25th – 27th Orlando Florida
◙ ABA BMX Grand Nationals final – Oklahoma (November 28th – 30th)
Blimey, you like a challenge! That’s a pretty busy race calendar you’ve got lined up, are you sure you’re not going to blow up?!
I tend to overstretch myself every year and adapt and learn a lot. Funnily enough the racing schedule for 2013 will be easier than 2012 leading into the Olympic Games.
So how competitive do you expect to be in downhill, especially at the Fort Will World Cup and the World Champs?Have you set your self goals? With riders like Rachel Atherton, Emmeline Ragot and Tracey Hannah the level is very high.
The level of the girls is definitely high. What ever I do I always put 110% into it and when I set goals I generally always set them close to outside of my reach and ability. My Goal is to qualify for the 2013 World Championships and be on the podium. I know that this will be a big ask but I always set my goals high: “Aim for the stars and you will land on the moon, right?”
I believe that I can bring a different skill set coming from BMX and have a very good base strength and skill ability to bring to downhill.
You’ll probably get a good gauge of where you’re at speed wise at the first Aussie National?
That is the plan coming back from BMX, also I need to quickly pick up UCI points and ranking to qualify for the Australian Downhill Worlds Team.
I left the downhill circuit in Australia four years ago when I was regularly on the podium and I believe after four years away from downhill I will be right back up on the podium.
Talking of challenges, are you really looking to enter both 4x and DH at Fort William, and possibly the same at the Worlds if you get selected?
Yes…I sure am, definitely at the Scotland World Cup and I have heard rumours of 4x not being in the World Championships this year so we will just have to wait and see.
I love a challenge and testing my ability and rising to a new level.
What DH bike are you riding?
An Airborne Prototype.
Are you riding any 4x these days? Is there a 4x scene in Australia?
4x has definitely died in Australia, which is a shame, as I really loved racing 4x, it’s very similar to BMX and pulls some great crowds. I had heard that 4x would be in the 2013 World Championships in South Africa this year however I have also heard rumours of it not being in there? I am looking forward to racing the 4x Pro Tour in Scotland along side the MTB world cup being held there in June.
So for those that might not realise, you have raced DH before haven’t you?
Yes, I actually raced downhill as a junior for about three years starting in 2005, mainly racing the Australian MTB series but also the Scotland and Val Di Sole Italy World Championships. After coming back off the BMX Olympic program and jumping on the downhill bike again I have definitely set my goals high for the MTB Downhill season with a big challenge ahead of me.
You’ve signed to DK racing BMX as well as Airborne cycles for downhill? How easy is it swapping between disciplines?
I am very lucky that Airborne and DK Bicycles are sister companies which is great for me being able to do both sports in the one year keeping everyone happy. DK Bicycles has had a female freestyle rider for a few years now but hasn’t signed a girl to the DK race team in over 20 years so that is definitely a big honour for me.
It’s always easier jumping off the BMX and onto the MTB but it’s difficult adjusting after riding the big wheels and getting back on the BMX again. That’s always a challenge but I have learnt to adapt quite fast over the past six years of swapping around disciplines.
Photos: David Blucher, Going Downhill Photography.
You’ve had a super successful year racing BMX (well apart from the Olympic final), so is BMX still your main focus?
Signing with DK Bicycles has been a highlight of 2012. With my Olympic Games campaign ending how it did I was able to pick my self back up and get some respect by finishing the World Cup season and winning the overall BMX title. And then to sign with DK I knew 2013 was going to be a fresh start in new colours. I will be focussing on the BMX and MTB world championships in both disciplines BMX will have a focus on the American National Season, not so much on the international World Cup season for 2013.
The Olympic BMX final must have been a huge disappointment for you, since you won the time trial, how do you feel about that race now? And will we see you in Rio in four years time?
2012 has by far been the best year of my riding career. Apart from not getting the result which I was dreaming of in London. 2012 has been an almost textbook year. Each year leading into the Olympics had a different story to it. 2011 was a roller coaster year with lots of ups and downs and was a huge learning year for me. 2012 I am labelling the almost textbook year.
The time trial is one of my strengths and I was determined to win that event and have that confidence leading into the Olympic BMX finals, the fact that I was the fastest girl around that track. I wanted to have lane choice selection for the first moto and starting off the weekend right coming into racing with confidence and having a great mind-set is the majority of BMX at the top level when everyone is fast!
I had plans after the London 2012 Olympics to go back to mountain biking and have a major focus on that and see where downhill would take me. I’m now more determined than ever for Rio in 2016 and whilst I will be doing some mountain biking next year a gold medal in Rio is the major goal ahead!
Thanks Caroline and good luck for 2013 and beyond!
Thank you to my new and existing sponsors and support network for 2013 who have made it possible for me to get back on the mountain bike!