Caroline Buchanan has been breaking new ground for Australian female cyclists. The 19-year-old is the current four cross World Champion and one of Australia's best hopes for a BMX gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. But it will be at Eagle Mountain Bike Park, in Adelaide for the Australian Mountain Bike National Championships on Friday that she will get to race in the coveted rainbow jersey of World Champion for the first time.
"I'm feeling pretty confident and excited for the race as I'm proud to be wearing the stripes (of World Champion)," Buchanan said.
"The last time I was on my mountain bike was at the World Championships in Canberra last year. It was a fairytale weekend and the biggest highlight of my racing career so far."
Buchanan will start as the top favourite in the race for the four cross national title, however the Canberra local believes Sarsha Huntington of Queensland will be biting at her heels. "Sarsha has put in a lot of training over the last few years. Every race she gets closer and closer, and I think the race will be between her and me."
With a busy schedule that combines mountain bike and BMX racing, Buchanan has few opportunities to spend time at home and could be excused for being torn between the two disciplines of the sport.
"With the Olympics coming up, BMX is going to be a major focus, but now that I also have the rainbow jersey for mountain biking, I still want to be doing that," she said of the constant juggling act she is currently managing.
"Balancing the two sports is something I always have to work on by going to the races, in both sports, that count."
As far as being a pioneer for her sport in Australia, Buchanan is quietly modest but hopes one day she will be remembered as one of the greats of Australian cycling.
"There are not many other girls I can race against in Australia. Mum and Dad have been really supportive and have helped me get on the world circuit to give me that overseas experience," she said.
"I think there are still big things to come from me, and I'm looking forward to getting my name up with all those other great Australian women."
Caroline Buchanan will be aiming to defend her four cross Australian title on Friday, the first full day of racing at the nationals.