BMX champion Caroline Buchanan, second from right, spent time at Fadden Pines to present end of year trophies to members of the Tuggeranong Vikings BMX Club on Saturday. From left: Andrew Beer, Natalie Pettett, Jeremy Pettett and Samantha MacArthur. Photo: Graham Tidy
SNOWBOARDING, a return to mountain biking and a fun-filled trip to Las Vegas have been part of Caroline Buchanan's long-term plan for Olympic redemption.
While the pain from her fifth at the London Games lingers, Buchanan has gained perspective on an action-packed year which netted a World Cup title and delivered valuable lessons for her assault on Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Back in Canberra on a well-deserved break, Buchanan revealed she had finally watched a replay of the women's BMX final, where an error at the starting gate cost her any chance of victory.
Buchanan after her devestating Olympic campaign. Photo: Iain Gillespie
It was a hard pill to swallow at the time for the world No.2, who was the fastest in the seeding runs and won two of her semi-finals.
''In the moment, it sort of felt like the end of the world,'' Buchanan, 22, said.
''I was more disappointed in myself because I knew I could have won the race and a medal.
''Once I was able to walk away from the Olympics and had time to think about the positives and the great experience that it was, that's when it started to sink in.''
That realisation allowed Buchanan to regroup for the rest of the World Cup circuit, claiming the overall title and finishing runner-up in the American series.
Since completing the last of her races two weeks ago, Buchanan has blown off steam with a snowboarding trip in Canada and a visit to Las Vegas.
''I'm exhausted now and pretty worn out, especially with the heavy racing schedule I had,'' she said.
''I knew I had to make a big effort to get to Whistler, get on the mountain bike and go to a trade show in Vegas, given the craziness of the last four years.''
With all the focus on winning a medal at BMX's inaugural Olympic Games appearance, Buchanan admitted she was stressed leading into London.
That has taught her to take a circumspect approach towards stepping on to the podium in Brazil in four years.
''It's so far away that I can't really get too excited because I know in London, I was burning so much energy all the time,'' she said.
''The closer and more real it became with qualifying and everything, even when I was trying to be relaxed and calm, I wasn't.
''Rio's such a long way away, so that's part of why next year I'm getting back on the mountain bike again because that's my fun outlet, that's what I really love.
''I gave up mountain biking two years out from the London Olympics to focus on BMX, so that's new and fresh and I'm excited to get back into that.''
Buchanan is determined to return to her peak after winning two world titles in the four-cross division, this time turning to the downhill discipline.
''I've set my goals high and I want to be on the podium at the world titles,'' she said.
''The mountain bike stuff is only going to help the BMX stuff down the track, the skills really cross over.
''It'll be a good base and conditioning leading into Rio.''
Buchanan will contest the first two rounds of the national series in Mt Buller and Thredbo in January, before returning home for the Australian championships at Stromlo Forest Park in February.