At home with Australian BMX Olympian, Lauren Reynolds

First of all, how are you doing?

Lauren Reynolds: I spend most of my days at the Chula Vista elite athlete training centre, and with the current situation I've had to make some slight changes to my daily training, but that's really it. Staying at home is not all that bad for me! I cook almost every meal at home, I love being at home, so the restrictions haven't had a huge impact on my daily movements... in fact, now I feel like it's OK to be a little boring and not have to leave home too often. I don't feel guilty saying ‘No’ to friends, haha!

What kind of ‘home gym’ are you currently using?

LR: I’ve slowly over time added some equipment to the garage which has been really fun, and a little accomplishment in itself. It’s not fancy and I don't have everything to give me the luxury of being able to explore the exercises I do, but I certainly have enough to get the job done :) With the goal to get strong, you don't need much, and with the closure of the training centre – and, I think, every gym in the world – it’s been perfect to be able to keep my training level at a high. I’ve been able to do everything I'd want besides a few track sessions, which to be honest at this point, is not the priority.

I want to keep adding to the home gym and now is a perfect excuse to invest and not feel bad about it! I have a squat rack, with a full range of bumper plates, a full dumbbell rack, med balls, benches, bands and other accessories.

What's your local BMX track and how long will it be closed?

LR: I ride the three tracks at the Chula Vista elite athlete training centre. Tyler Brown’s public track – a BMX track – is closed and the time frame is totally unknown, however the other two – Supercross tracks, controlled by the training centre – are still open to select groups.

In percentages, how do you see BMX?

LR: Skill: 30%, Mental: 40%, Strength: 30%.

What's the most fun part for you?

LR: I love to train as much as I love to race. The routine of my days, the hard work and searching for the improvements every day is fun to me! It can be very rewarding to look back on a training week or a block and see the growth.

You've been on the BMX scene for a long time… what keeps you going?

LR: I think the main motivation for me is knowing I haven't reached my best. I still feel I have more in the tank. I have amazing sponsors behind me who continue to believe and trust, and that is motivating to get better and keep fighting. I'm just now seeing some big gains that I've wanted for a long time, and I put that to my coach Sam Willoughby. Once I began working with Sam in 2016/2017, I saw a whole new outlook on my own capabilities and potential to achieve what I've always wanted in this sport.

In August 2017, Cycling Australia called to tell me they wouldn't be renewing my contract and it’s time I retire, and provided me with the details of the people to start my exit plan with… keeping in mind this was a year I got bronze at the Papendal UCI World Cup, 4th at the Heusden-Zolder UCI World Cup, I won a USABMX race, and got 7th at the Rock Hill UCI World Championships. Two days after this phone call I sat down with Sam, who I had been working with for over six months at that point, and we set out a three-year plan, to basically completely start over. I had sponsors who wanted to back me, I had the motivation to prove this to myself, and I said I’d see them in 2020. Knowing I have Sam in my corner, sponsors in my corner, and knowing I'm far from retirement, this was more than enough to want this more than I ever have.

Today we are on track for Tokyo, my third Olympic Games. It's a bummer what's happening in the world at the moment, but it won’t change too much. We will eventually have the Olympics, and I'll be ready.

A lot of BMX Racing now seems to revolve around the Olympic Games. How different would it be for you if BMX had never made it to the Olympics?

LR: Who knows?! 2003 is when it was announced, I was 12, but at that point I didn't know what or where BMX could take me. Olympics was instantly on the radar then, so I'm sure with the encouragement of my parents that was the target. Racing in the USA was always a big dream for years before the Olympics.

Who are your favourite BMX athletes to watch?

LR: I always enjoy watching Sylvain André race!

What tracks do you like to race on?

LR: I was always a big hill girl! But over time I've found a big love for racing the flat USABMX tracks, especially to USABMX Grands. I like a fast track that still heavily relies on skill.

How did it feel to have the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup come to Australia?

LR: Racing a home UCI BMX SX World Cup was so amazing! Neither Sydney or Melbourne is home for me, but just being in Australia, during the summer, having my parents in the stands, and getting a couple of weeks on the tracks before the racing rather than arriving days before the event was incredible. I thought Shepparton was a fantastic race track, the spectators were amazing, the weather was hot and it was held for some of the best racing. I'd go back any day!

You've got a steady crew of sponsors; what do you do to keep the sponsors happy?

LR: I have a really great support crew behind me which I am so thankful for! Representing the brands to align with their beliefs is key but you also have to align with that naturally, otherwise it doesn't work. We all know how much social media is an expected part of being part of the team these days. It's just the way life is so we have to put effort into that and ensure we are being creative to find ways to show off the brands and what they have to offer.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

LR: Sipping a glass of red, watching my kids grow up and working my business:)