Claire Buchar hasn't been doing a ton of racing this season, but she didn't look at all out of practice when taking down the pro women's title of the Garbanzo DH.
The Whistler-based rider recorded a winning time of 14 minutes, 22.64 seconds in Crankworx's longest downhill on Tuesday, Aug. 12, stepping on to the Garbanzo podium for the fourth year in a row.
"I always seem to do pretty good even though it's so painful that I kind of dread it," she laughed.
There wasn't a huge field for Buchar to contend with on Tuesday — just six pro women finished the difficult course — so the race mostly came down to a battle between her and fellow B.C. rider Casey Brown, who finished 17 seconds back and took the silver medal. Swiss rider Lorraine Truong was the best of the rest, finishing third.
"I just kept it smooth. I didn't do anything special," said Buchar. "To be honest, in some spots I felt so slow and didn't think I was doing well. You never know, but I think that's just the nature of the course."
Buchar's good form comes during a summer when she hasn't been doing much racing at all. Though she's unbeaten in Whistler Mountain Bike Park races this year, the 2011 world championship bronze medallist hasn't competed elsewhere and has turned her attention on other projects, such as being one of the featured riders in this year's GoPro Dirt Diaries. Her entry placed third on Tuesday night.
"That was a really big project and we put a lot of work into it, so (racing has been) kind of secondary to me," said Buchar. "But I think that helps me, because I didn't burn myself out practicing too much or thinking about it too much."
Still, Brown wasn't a bit surprised to see the 36-year-old claim another Garbanzo DH win.
"Claire's always one of the girls that's real good and consistent," said Brown. "She has so much experience, she knows how to race, and it's pretty cool that she's out here doing it still."
Buchar said she and husband Chris Kovarik considered doing some select World Cup races this year like they did in 2013, but ultimately decided against it.
"It would have been just too half-assed," she said. "I'm fully aware of what it takes to compete at the World Cup level, and we were like, 'You know what? It would be an insult to us to go and do that to ourselves.'"
Depending on how plans with their sponsors work out, Buchar said she wouldn't totally rule out a return to racing World Cup events in the future, even though it's not likely that she and Kovarik will race a full campaign on the circuit again.
"I'm still riding fast, but I'm not taking as many risks anymore because I've had so many injuries," she said. "But I still love racing. I love it so much and I think I always will."