Australian Caroline Buchanan is on her way to her second of three world championships so far this year. The London Olympian got her campaign underway by claiming the BMX World Championship in New Zealand just four weeks ago and now she has her sights set on South Africa.
Buchanan is aiming to prove she is a master of all trades by competing for the win in the downhill at the 2013 UCI MTB World Championships which begin this Wednesday in Pietermaritzburg.
Her journey will then take her to Austria in September where she will attempt to regain the 4X world title, an event she won in 2009 and 2010. Buchanan admitted she feels more at home when racing 4X, but nonetheless is looking forward to the challenge of the downhill in South Africa this week.
"I think I am a little more confident in the 4X side of things, that one I definitely want to win and show I can get back those rainbow stripes," said Buchanan. "But the downhill is more challenging as it certainly puts me out of my comfort zone.
"It's hard to gauge where I am at (in downhill) as at the last World Cup in Scotland I got a flat in qualifying," she added. "I did have a good pre season in Australia racing the Subaru National Series and felt really good then, but since then it's been a big block of BMX racing.
"So I am coming in a little blind with expectations, but maybe that's a good thing. I didn't have as much pressure heading into BMX worlds last month, and that paid off, so going in with a bit more of that attitude for this race as well."
Although relishing the variety of pursuing the three separate events, Buchanan admits that it's so far been harder than she initially expected.
"When I planned it, I was all over it, but I have been permanently on the road, the calendar is a logistical nightmare, trying to juggle all the events and qualifying, different bikes, different mind and skills sets for the three disciplines," explained Buchanan.
"But it is a good goal, one I have always wanted to do as it stretches myself and my abilities and puts myself under the pump. But I know I won't be doing it again, so next year will be a lot more relaxing."
Buchanan will be joined in the Australian team for the downhill events by reigning national champion Tracey Hannah, 2012 world championship bronze medallist Danielle Beecroft and Tegan Molloy who will both contest the junior women's downhill event. On the lead in to Australia's world championship campaign, Buchanan is adamant that the depth of the sport is on the improve and is optimistic of Australian success this week.
"The depth of women's mountain biking in Australia is certainly growing and it's great to see four of us here," said Buchanan. "The elite event is going to be a really tight competition with Tracey [Hannah], even though she has been injured is one to watch, and Rachel Atherton [from Great Britain] has been killing it this season. In the juniors, I believe Tegan and Danielle have really good shots at the podium this year."