“…if I’m terrified and excited at the same time, then I know I’m on track. That’s how I’ve judged my goals”
8-time cycling World Champion Caroline Buchanan has been one of the most requested guests for Sparta Chicks Radio over the last 18 months.
So I'm delighted to finally welcome her to the show this week!
Caroline's cycling bio is extraordinary.
Not just because she's won 8x World Championships, but also because she has achieved them across multiple disciplines within the sport of cycling (3x in BMX and 5x in mountain biking).
She is a 2x Olympian and has now competed at the World Championships in 4 different cycling disciplines.
Off the bike, Caroline is committed to the next generation of cyclists and to encouraging more girls to get into the sport.
In 2013, she established Buchanan NextGen. At first, it was an all-girls BMX team to financially assist, mentor and promote young women in the sport of BMX. And now under that brand, she has partnered with Jayco to provide scholarships to girls in the sport.
And just last month, she launched the first book in a children's book series called 'Girls Can B'. (You can find the books here).
Needless to say, she's a woman of many talents - both on and off the bike.
We could have spent the hour just talking about her cycling career, but I wanted to go deeper than that; to discover the mindset and mental strategies she uses to manage her fear (in a risky and potentially dangerous sport) so she can perform on the world stage at her best.
In this conversation we discuss:
- how she got into cycling at 5 and how (and why!) she's explored the different disciplines throughout her life,
- which of the different disciplines she’s likely to pursue at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (given that freestyle BMX is introduced for the first time),
- how she manages her mental state when she feels like she’s rebuilding from ground zero after an injury,
- why she looks for the positives after she crashes her bike and the mantra she uses to help her recovery,
- why you shouldn’t be scared or hesitant about riding with the men in your life (hint: it’s about how their support and faith in you helps you to bring out your best),
- the importance of practising your weaknesses and the things scare you (also, why it’s mindfulness in practice),
- the powerful visualisation she uses to put fear in her back pocket (literally!) so she can quieten the voice of doubt and fear on the track,
- the challenge of managing her own expectations and the internal pressure she places on herself vs the expectations and pressure that the public and media place on her,
- the benefits of ‘failing’ and the importance of learning from it,
- how she realised (in hindsight) she had the opportunity to win Gold at the London Olympics but that she didn’t believe she could (and how she sabotaged herself as a result),
- the importance of following the same success process that brought you results in the past (and not getting distracted, overthinking or second-guessing what’s worked for you),
- the need to acknowledge that women have a heightened sense of fear and risk (as a biological and evolutionary function) and the importance of having deliberate strategies in place to manage it,
- her meditation and mindfulness practice and why she sets ‘rules’ for herself (I’m adopting this tip!)
I really loved this conversation and know you will too!
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