Two-time Olympian Caroline Buchanan was showered with beer when she crossed the finish line to claim her eighth world championship in a remarkable effort in Italy.
Just weeks after adding a BMX time trial world title to her trophy cabinet, Buchanan smashed the field at the mountain bike four cross event at Val di Sole in Trentino.
The win capped off a hectic year for the 26-year-old, who is set to return to Canberra in the coming weeks for a month-long break from the international circuit.
Buchanan finished second at the BMX world championships in the USA at the end of July, won the Crankworx pump work title in Canada last week and added the four-cross win in Italy.
But Buchanan says she thrives on having a packed schedule and has enjoyed the pressure of changing disciplines to compete against the best in the world.
She will recuperate in Canberra in September before preparing for her final race in November in the US.
“I think this year has definitely been my biggest year ever,” Buchanan told Fairfax Media.
“In the past four weeks I went to the BMX worlds, then to Canada for Crankworx and then on to Italy basically straight after.
“To get three titles on three different bikes is pretty amazing. Every year I think about taking it a bit easier, but there just seems to be more and more.
“It’s crazy, but I think I perform better when I’m under the pump with everything. It’s becoming a bit of a trend for me … when I only focus on one event, like the Olympics, with nothing else on my mind I don’t seem to perform as well.
“When I’m doing a lot and have a lot going on, I tend to excel and step up.”
Buchanan has now won five mountain bike world titles and is the back to back four cross champion.
She hit the lead at the first corner and never looked like losing the final, beating Romana Labounkova and Helene Valerie Fruhwirth across the line.
Fiance Barry Nobles, who was also competing, greeted Buchanan on the finish line with a boozy shower in celebration of another massive achievement in her career.
“The feeling never gets old. The world championships and the rainbow cycling stripes … they’re recognised across the board,” Buchanan said.
“You become part of a bigger cycling family. I woke up this morning to a message from [Australian cycling champion] Robbie McEwin and you are part of that family. That’s why it’s special.”
Buchanan finished second in the BMX world titles last month by an agonising 0.008 seconds, but won the time trial world championship.
Meanwhile, Canberra trio Dan McConnell, Rebecca Henderson, Eliza Kwan and Ronja Hill-Wright will race for Australia as part of the men’s and women’s elite teams at the mountain bike world championships in Cairns from September 5-10.
McConnell, Henderson and Kwan will race in the cross country events while Hill-Wright is part of the elite women’s downhill squad.