Western Australia’s Lauren Reynolds is ready for another bout with the best as the 2019 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup kicks off this weekend in Manchester and this time, she will be doing it on her own.
It will be 391 days since Reynolds has competed in a world cup round when she lines up on the gate this weekend and she is excited to be back on the international circuit.
“I’m feeling really good,” Reynolds said.
“I’m excited more than anything else because it’s been a while since I’ve been competing internationally. I’ve been doing plenty of training and plenty of work has gone into it, so I’m hopeful that it will be enough.”
While the 27-year old originates from Bunbury, WA, Reynolds spends the majority of her time in the USA competing on the American circuit with the help of her coach Sam Willoughby.
“I race over in the states and I’ve gotten used to racing those girls so it’s good to race against the rest,” Reynolds said.
To say Reynolds is an experienced world cup campaigner is an understatement. Debuting in Copenhagen in 2009, Reynolds has had nearly decade of competing at the top and while she has made 17 world cup finals, she knows that there is always something new to learn about her racing.
“I’ve been around a while now… but with that being said, I still learn something about myself all the time,” Reynolds said.
“It’s a constant challenge to be ready and to be totally confident in your routine and procedure. Every day, I try to replicate what it’s like on race day and when I get to a major race, it should be like I’m on auto pilot and just run off the hype and confidence with the work that has been done.”
Also returning to the world cup stage is Columbia’s Rio Olympic gold medallist Mariana Pajon, who is back on the bike after suffering from an injury that ruled her out for the entire 2018 season. But Reynolds will not be paying attention to anyone else on the track when that gate drops.
“There are so many female riders doing well at the moment,” Reynolds continued.
“There are also so many we don’t know about!
“The key thing to remember is confidence. I try not to think about who’s going to be racing. BMX is an individual sport and you have to be selfish, that’s been one of the biggest things to learn.
“Having said that, the Dutch girls are always really competitive and there have been injuries that have put people out of the race for a while. Sometimes the injury can bring them back stronger than ever, so I think there will be some really good racing.
“Manchester is a good race track and no one will be holding back. Let’s just hope there are no crashes that mess up the racing. It should be just full hard racing.
The 2019 world cup will be big. But there will be an underlying theme throughout the year as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics continue to draw closer.
Qualification points are on offer and every rider participating on the world stage will be giving it all they’ve got to boost their chances of making their nation’s side. Reynolds is no different.
“I don’t think about the Olympics when I’m racing,” Reynolds said.
“It’s always hard not to think about it, but I just need to think about the process. It’s so easy to get caught up in it all and that puts a strain on things because I now have to pay for everything.
“I need to be careful about picking and choosing what events I enter. When I do, I go into the racing ready to risk it all. Everything is on the table and the results on paper is what counts.”
Reflecting on her Olympic experience already, there is a lot to look forward to for Tokyo and Reynold’s is more than eager to go there again for the atmosphere alone.
“The Olympics is incredibly emotional,” Reynolds said.
“There’s a lot of unnecessary stress with the lead up, before and after with all the highs and lows.
“I think just the challenge to make it to the Olympics is a challenge in itself. Doing it all on my own this time and not being encouraged as I used to be from the Australian Cycling Team makes it different.
“It’s never been like that for me. This time round it makes it a little more fun and a little stressful.
“If I make it, it’s going to be so rewarding and I will only have one or two people to thank for it. I don’t have a tonne of people behind me this time, so every time I line up on the gate, I have to give it 100%.”
The goal of 2019 for the dual Olympian is a pretty simple one.
“I need to be as consistent as possible. Be 100% healthy and do my best to make every single main event I can compete in. I know if I’m in a main event, I’m a serious contender.”
The last time the world cup made its way to Manchester was in 2016 and it was Australia’s Caroline Buchanan who sat atop the elite women’s podium. This time around Australia will have two genuine chances to win there again.
Joining Reynolds in the women’s elite class with the Aussie strip is Southlake/Illawarra’s Saya Sakakibara. The 20-year old has made the transition from star age group rider to elite title contender and finished the 2018 world cup second overall. With that result, Sakakibara has risen up the rankings to sit third in the world behind Netherland’s duo, Laura Smulders and Judy Baauw.
Action commences this weekend at 11pm AEST on April 27 with the early rounds before the main event begins at 1am AEST on Sunday morning.
Round two launches at 10pm on Sunday evening with the main event expected to start at midnight.
Keep an eye on BMXA’s social media platforms as we share the live streaming of the event closer the to the date.