Numerous knee dislocations, a torn ACL and ankle surgery – all before the age of 15 – have not stopped Canberra teenager Mikayla Rose from becoming one of the most exciting BMX prospects in Australia.
But her next challenge is her toughest, taking on her idol and reigning World Cup series champion Caroline Buchanan.
The pair will go head-to-head in the ACT BMX Championships at the Tuggeranong BMX Club on Saturday.
Buchanan has played a vital role in Rose's development having brought her into her Next Gen all-girls BMX team designed to find the next Olympian.
The program enabled Rose to compete at last year's world championships and she has set her sights on making the finals at this year's event in Belgium. Rose is grateful for Buchanan's assistance, but keen to test herself against one of the world's best.
"I'm not going to get too confident and stay close to her because she's so fast, but I'm just going to do my best and chase her around," Rose said.
"Caroline's been an amazing support. To be able to give me and my teammates all we've been given is such an incredible opportunity."
Rose is coming off back to back wins at the BMX Australia National Series in Perth last weekend.
The 14-year-old has fought her way back to the top after a horror run of injuries in the past couple of years.
She dislocated her knee numerous times before a knee reconstruction in 2013. Rose then broke her ankle in October last year, putting her out out of action for two months.
"It's been hard to keep coming back, especially with my ankle again," Rose said. "My first race back from ankle surgery was at Nerang and I proved some people wrong and did pretty well there."
Buchanan is in awe of the determination and believes she's capable of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games.
"She's gone through more injuries [than] even I have today, especially these major ones," Buchanan said. "She's showed a lot of strength through it all and she's definitely back from injury for sure. There's a lot of other talent coming through in Australia, but Mikayla is one that I can see going a long way."
Buchanan will use the ACT championships as a warm-up before training with the Australian team in the lead-up to the first round of the BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester next month. More than 750 riders will take part in the ACT championships this weekend.
- The ACT BMX Championships will be held at the Tuggeranong BMX Club on Saturday and Sunday. Racing starts at midday on Saturday and 10am on Sunday.