Chestermere BMX athlete Daina Tuchscherer, 22, is preparing for her second round by competing in the 2019 Pan American Games in early August.
To qualify for the games, Tuchscherer was required to make a semi-final at a world cup and was selected based the results.
“I was pretty excited,” Tuchscherer said.
“Having already participated in the games and being older, I’m more developed, and I have a better chance at these games than I did at last one,” Tuchscherer said.
“While competing in these games, I know a lot more, I’ve had more time for personal development, and I feel more confident going in than I did at last games,” she added.
To ensure Tuchscherer is prepared for the games, she is continually training either on the track, doing sprints on her bike, or lifting heavyweights in the gym.
“I’m continuing with a lot of training, we’ve competed in many races already this year,” Tuchscherer added. “I’m constantly in the gym or on the track.”
This season, Tuchscherer has spent two months racing in Europe and competed in six world cups.
Being mentally prepared for competitions is just as vital as being physically prepared for Tuchscherer.
“I try to think positively and take it one race at a time. Competing, I know I’ve done everything I can, I’ve worked as hard as I can, and I’m going to do the best I can. I just go in thinking there’s nothing else I could have done and that I’m ready,” she said.
She added, it can be challenging to keep training and competing confidently after experiencing injuries.
“As in every sport, there are injuries, and with injuries comes a little bit of fear. Mentally as athletes, we all struggle,” Tuchscherer said.
She added, “I work with a sport psychologist to help overcome the fear, and I work with a physiotherapist to try to be as healthy as possible.”
Tuchscherer spends a few months at home healing any injuries she obtained throughout the previous season and focusing on gym training, said her mother, Tina Tuchscherer.
“We enjoy when she is home, but the time does go by really fast,” Tina said.
She added, “We love to try and coach her in all aspects of her life. She makes it clear she has a trainer and a coach and would like for us to focus on the parenting side of things.”
Although competing in high levels of BMX can be challenging, Tuchscherer had a passion for the sport since she was five-years-old.
“I started BMX because my brother had done it before me, and one day he and my dad went to a bike shop and got a BMX bike,” Daina said.
After her brother had gotten his bike, Daina decided to try it out for herself and hasn’t quit since.
The siblings began competing together, traveling for races in Canada, and eventually traveling for international races once they were older.
“I had a passion for it. I just kept sticking with it,” Daina said.
When competing in her first world championships, Daina realized she really loved the competition part of BMX.
Now, she has competed in numerous competitions, including the junior world championships where she placed eighth, and world championships.
“It was pretty awesome,” she said.
Although competing championships is exhilarating for Daina, having the opportunity to meet athletes from across the world has been a highlight throughout her BMX career.
“Meeting so many riders all over the world, you can travel anywhere, and you have friends all over,” she said.