Monday, 10 February 2014

Lewis Buchanan | Interview

With numerous UK Youth and Junior National and Scottish Championships titles, not to mention a few top 15 results from the World Cup Series through 2010 to 2012, Lewis has experienced many highs of his career so far. An accident at World Cup Round 2 last year created a new low point as it brought his 2013 season to a premature end with a broken leg.

So we had a few words with Lew about how he has dealt with the whole situation, and it is of no surprise that he has sharpened himself up into the best shape he has ever been in.

STB: Tell us about the bike you are riding this year. How does it feel to ride?
Lew: This is my first time riding a carbon DH bike & first time on a Kona. Already I feel super comfortable on it, and I have not done much testing on it yet as far as suspension goes. That will begin at the start of March so when the season kicks off I will be ready to go. But overall I feel like the bike is right for me and can get the job done.

STB: So you have a factory stock bike, what changes have you made on it to get it dialled?
Lew: There are quite a lot of changes I have made to my Carbon Operator. Cockpit set up is all RaceFace bars & stem with Formula brakes. I am running DVO Suspension which I’m really happy about and working with them will be great. I am running Industry Nine wheels as well but like I said come the start of march I will begin proper testing and get my bike 100% dialled in.

STB: Does it feel better or worse being back on 26" wheels?
Lew: To be honest I try and avoid all the chat about 26” vs 27.5” as I know a lot of people have different opinions. I feel more comfortable being back on 26” just purely because that's' what I have rode ever since I was 10 years old and I am used to it. So yes for me its a positive being back on 26”.

STB: Your injury was obviously a set back last season but you have done well in your recovery. Do you think it has made you a stronger rider than you were before?
Lew: I think it has made me mentally stronger for sure. After dislocating my shoulder way back in 2011 that was the biggest injury I had to deal with up to that point in my career. That was a tough one to get back on track from as I basically raced myself back in to shape. 2013 was kicking off just perfect until I broke my leg at round 2 of the World Cup series. It was a major bummer for me as I worked super hard to make 2013 a great year & a lot of people don’t know how much crap I’ve been through to really get back on track. When I knew that my season was over I still worked super hard on my recovery to make sure I could come in to my off season training for this year100% healthy and a tad earlier than the others who had been racing all year long. I have made the right moves/decisions and this is the healthiest I have been since 2010, so it's been a good learning curve to be honest. I just won’t give up till I achieve what I know I’m capable off.

STB: So there is no big factory team this year.  It must be hard going being a privateer. Apart from the Singletrack Bikes / Kona deal, what support are you getting for the coming year?
Lew: That is correct…no factory deal for me this season. It's been a lot of work to try piece something together but we got there in the end. It's my first time being a privateer since 2009 & its a lot of work for me but my dad more importantly. I am lucky enough to get support from DVO Suspension, SDG, Raceface, Atlas Brace, DZR Shoes, CycleFixwashington, Formula, Ethirteen, Industry nine Wheels. Without these guys I would not have a race bike and shout out to Dave at Singletrack Bikes for hooking me up with the Kona Carbon Operator and believing in me!

STB: Tell us a little about your preseason testing with the Scottish team. That must have been a great feeling riding abroad again?
Lew: To be back on the Scottish cycling DH squad is a big deal for me. My coach Chris Ball is hands down one of the most knowledgeable guys in the Downhill Cycling industry & I have had great success with him in the past. He knows what he is doing and is for sure pointing me in the right direction in every way possible. My conditioning coach Kenny has been super helpful and I am in a really good position right now with the correct people I need surrounding me to make it happen. Myself & the team went to Spain for our second 4 day team camp focusing on DH and it was great to ride some rough terrain & really get to grips with the new bike. I feel fit, fast and just making the most of the support I got from these guys so I come in to the season knowing I’ve done all I can.

STB: So what's the plans this year then and have you set yourself a target?  
Lew: I will be racing the Full British Downhill Series & Scottish Downhill Series. Fort William World Cup is 100% going to happen and I am going to try make it to the European World Cups. The UK National Championship Title is a big goal off mine as its in my hometown Innerleithen this year so I am excited for that. As far as my other goals I am going to keep that personal but just to make it through the whole season being consistent, competitive & healthy would be awesome.

STB: What advice would you give to young riders trying to get on the World Cup circuit?
Lew: My advice would be to have fun, train hard, ride as much as you can, be good with the media as that goes a long way as far as people knowing what your all about etc. I just trained hard put my head down going in to my first year junior and surrounded myself with the right people & got some of my career bests when I was only 16!! Its all up to the individual at the end of the day.

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