The Games in Rio are creeping ever closer and three time BMX World Champion Shanaze Reade is preparing for a very different Olympic year in 2016.
Reade hasn’t had the best of luck in the past, crashing out in the final of the 2008 games and coming sixth despite incredible performances in the heats leading to the 2012 medal decider. This time around, however – she’ll be riding a very different bike.
After years placing all her focus on the BMX track, Reade says she’s “mellowed out” and chosen the velodrome as her new home. She’s gunning for a spot in the Team Sprint squad of two at Rio, and longer term has her eyes on the Keirin and Match Sprint at Toyko in 2020.
“I just feel like my mind-set changed from being this extreme person who loved doing extreme things – and BMX as a sport represented that – then I kind of just mellowed out. I guess I’m getting old now!”
The 27-year-old, who rides for Madison-Genesis, explains: “I’ve done everything I wanted to do in the sport of BMX – I didn’t get an Olympic medal, but everything else. It’s bizarre – I just feel like my mind-set changed from being this extreme person who loved doing extreme things – and BMX as a sport represented that – then I kind of just mellowed out. I guess I’m getting old now! I don’t miss BMX – in 10 days’ time it’ll have been a whole year since I rode my BMX on a track. Of coupe I’m still interested in how the teams are doing, I do a lot of coaching, but actually riding I don’t really miss it.”
Ideally, Reade would have taken to the track a little earlier in the Olympic cycle – but the time was right for her – she says: “I needed to have the time that I had to realise that I was finished with BMX. Otherwise I would have had questions in my mind. It’s all planned out well, I’ve really made the right decision and I can focus now. After 16 years in BMX now it’s nice to have a new training focus – so many things are unknown, it’s challenging and fun at the same time.”