Women Involved: Claire Buchar

Bronze Medal at 2011 World Championships in Champery Switzerland
photo by Canadian Cyclist
Claire competes, coaches/trains, and overall proves to me she's a very real woman doing some pretty amazing things. 
I was very excited to get a response back from Claire, who was very willing to participate with my blog project. I decided after interviewing her for my Women on Bikes Series, that I would love to have her in the Women Involved series too. This post will talk more of the competing and training side of Claire.

Read her On Bikes interview!

Can you tell us more about Downhill?
Downhill Mountain Biking is primarily a gravity driven sport where we use lots of front and rear suspension and ride down tracks or trails that have many different obstacles like roots, rock gardens, berms, jumps and drops at high speeds! You can do this in designated bike parks or specific built trails. Often times there is chairlift access or you need to find your way to the top of the track by either riding, pushing or shuttling in a vehicle. It is a point to point format much like Downhill Skiing. 

What prompted you to start competing? To see what you could do personally or did you have friends suggest you should? (or both?)
I needed somewhere to funnel a lot of energy, hurt, pain, anger. At the time I didn't know that I was choosing a positive path but sports and outdoors were in my roots and I have my parents to thank for that. I wanted to see what I could do personally. I always had that drive and I always wanted to compete to show myself and others what I could do. I guess riding wasn't enough for me, I needed to race. I needed to prove it. And I needed the challenge. The easiest trails can be challenging when you add speed and try to ride them as fast as you possibly can.

How did your first competitive competition go? What were some main things you learned?
I caught on very quickly and I took to the format easily as I did ski racing as a kid. So I was doing well right away. One of my first National level races was the Canadian National Championships and I finished a close 2nd. I knew that was pretty good but I was so ignorant and new to the sport that I didn't know that qualified me for a spot on the National Team and a chance to race at the World Championships. It obviously wasn't even in my plans or even a goal as I didn't even know that sort of thing existed! I went with it. Racing forced me to learn how to ride well but I was quickly learning that I needed to improve on a lot of levels. I also learned that i needed support as traveling and racing was not going to be cheap. 

What inspired you to get involved with coaching/training?
I love teaching and I think I have a knack for organizing thoughts/ideas/concepts in my head and expressing them. It is also a great way to earn an income while being on the bike. I feel like I am in a position where I can help to inspire others to get into sport and share how important sport is in ones life.

What would be one of the most inspiring moments you've had as a coach/trainer?
Working with kids, girls and just people in general is always inspiring. Being a positive role model and seeing the little differences I can make. Sharing with people how choosing sport pretty much turned my life and how it has helped me grow as a person and that it is so much more than winning a medal. When my story transfers and relates to their lives, that is what is rewarding and inspires me to continue. But I did have the chance to lead a clinically blind man down a popular advanced jump trail called A-Line in the Whistler Bike Park. Amazing individual. And he just trusted me to lead him. He followed my voice as I shouted commands and he used his other senses to make it happen. If that's not inspiring, than I don't know what is!

Tell us more about Canadian DH Girls!
Canadian DH Girls is an avenue in which a group of female shredders in the sport can express and tell the world and our followers what we are up to, share our bike adventures and lifestyles and show how cool our sport is. Myself and Katrina Strand started the blog back in 2006(or so) as a way to showcase ourselves and our supporters so that we could make a bigger impact with what we were doing on bikes and in the bike world. 

What is one thing that you want everyone to know about you? (it doesn't have to be bike related!)
Like many people, I haven't had it easy. I have had a lot happen in my life. I'm a fighter. I am learning and growing every day and I am on a journey. I have a lot of love and strength and a desire to give and so much that I do comes from that.

Stay Connected!
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