Walker ready to take on the world
16 September 2015
LOOK out world – Sarah Walker is gaining momentum.
A year after a horrific crash and a head injury which sidelined the 27-year-old BMX star for five months, Walker is racing hard and has put her competitors on notice.
Speaking to the Beacon from Rock Hill, North Carolina on Sunday, Walker said she felt at the top of her game as she prepares for the final BMX World Cup race of the season in two weeks.
“I love riding my bike at the moment. I am riding as well as I ever have. Each time I race I feel better.
“I think getting more confident in my racing is pretty dangerous for the other competitors and I am excited for that moment.
“I will continue to work hard over the next few weeks.”
In September 2014 at a world cup race in California, Walker crashed and suffered a concussion and broke six bones, including both her arms.
The concussion proved to be the biggest challenge for a time she needed help to brush her teeth.
“I knew my head knock was bad, but I didn’t think it would take the longest to recover.
“I knew I wasn’t ready to stop riding and the only thing that would stop me was the neurologist saying I could never ride again.”
Walker said she hasn’t had migraines in a long time, but said she sometimes struggled to think of words to describe things, but that was a problem before the crash.
Her new-found confidence has led to success in reaching semi-finals in world cup races, taking on jumps she never has before and winning a bronze medal in the elite women’s time trial event at the world championships in July.
Walker said she has learned a lot since the crash and was keen to be a part of next year’s Olympic Games, and event she won a silver medal in at the London games in 2012.
“The biggest thing to come out of this is my drive to be in pain voluntarily. I want to be sore from the gym and training.
“I would rather push my limit and fail than hold back and fail anyway.
“Being in that pain through injury has helped so much to push myself harder than I have been able to.
“I think this has been a better build up than London. The potential is there to be faster than I ever have and it’s crazy to think what could come out of this.
“Sometimes you have to take those backward steps to catapult forward and I hope that is what happens.”
Walker is a veteran of the BMX circuit, winning multiple world titles and is in her third Olympic cycle.
She has always been an advocate for the enjoyment of the sport – her primary reason to continue.
“I enjoy it even more so now. When I wasn’t riding all I could think about was getting out there. I appreciate it even more now.
“The part that it effected the most is the racing and I am still adjusting to that.
“Having no control over my competitors is the part I am still quite nervous about. It could be a mistake some else makes that ends my career which is no different than it was before, it is now a bit more real.”
After the world cup race, Walker will fly to Rio de Janeiro for a test event on the Olympic track. She will collecting points to qualify a bike for New Zealand at next year’s games.
To earn a tick to Rio, Walker would have to meet criteria for Bike NZ although she is comfortably in the box seat.
Source: Whakatane Beacon
Photo: By Fairfax