Steps to the top: Caroline Buchanan

Caroline rides bikes. She rides all kinds of them.

She speaks fondly of all her bikes, from her Harley to her downhill rig to her BMX race bike — the one that made her a star. She talks about learning new skills and perfecting others. She talks about new experiences in bicycling disciplines she’s still trying to master.

But her roots are found in the short, almost violent bursts of speed out of a start gate, and the perfect timing and skill it takes to extract the maximum amount of speed out of a BMX track. Which is why the Crankworx event she simply cannot stand to lose is the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge.

Gone here, though, are the powerful starts, because there are no chains allowed on the Crankworx pump tracks. Here, it boils down to making the most efficient use of your body and the track layout to find winning speed. A lap is only a few handfuls of seconds long, but laps of practice and qualifying and then the live show start to add up. It’s no joke.

Caroline grew up doing this. She’s built for it. She owns the experience of thousands of races. And she’s forever focused on the win. If you think about it for a minute, almost every other Crankworx event gives the rider at least a moment in the run to reset and refocus. There’s no time for that here. You have to get qualifying and heats right if you want to advance to the final. And the only way to win the final is to make it perfect.

Caroline Buchanan knows what it takes to lay down perfect laps when she has to. And she loves it when everything comes together for the win.