Claire Buchar: "I Really Do Mean It's A Great Day To Be Alive" - Video

May 3, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  

Words by Claire Buchar

I was a privateer my entire racing career except for 2 seasons, 2009-2010, when I was lucky enough to be a part of the CRC Intense World Cup Team. In 2011, newly back as a privateer, I was unable to make it to any World Cup rounds but I managed to win the Canadian DH National Championships and bring home a bronze medal at the DH World Championships in Champery, Switzerland. Going into that off season, I was more motivated than ever to train and return to racing World Cups.

However, I was running on low batteries and that winter after starting to feel particularly lethargic and not being able to make it through a gym workout, I set my ego and goals aside and allowed myself to sense that something wasn't right. Stuff that had been creeping up on me for years had finally caught up and my poor body was not keeping up with my mind anymore. I sought help through various avenues and was eventually diagnosed with a pretty real autoimmune disorder and this is when my very real healing journey began.

In the spring of 2013, an auto accident sent me falling backwards on this healing journey. An out of control driver hit me side-on going about 80kph and there was only a thin metal door between their truck and me. I was badly concussed, broke most of my ribs and my pelvis in 2 places. One lung was full of blood and my liver and spleen were lacerated. When I woke up and realized what had happened and that Chris, who was with me in the car, was alive and relatively ok, I had to breathe tiny gasps of air from the top of my lungs to stay calm and alive until help arrived. What followed in the coming weeks was an experience I’ll never forget and I’ll forever hold a huge respect for our firefighters, paramedics, doctors and nurses when it comes to rescue and putting the body back together!

The very first second that I was able, the rehab began. However, the injuries, trauma and concoction of drugs from the hospital triggered quite a set back in my health. Visions of my own strong and beautiful mother, who fell ill and who I lost when I was 17, would flood into my head and I just thought that that would also be my fate.

But my goals and dreams also danced within my head. I took my athlete mindset, I took my pain and grief and I took my gratitude for life and dove head first into rehab and recovery from the accident. I stacked towels on a stationary bike to cushion my pelvis so I could spin my legs, I pool walked with seniors, I did lung exercises and my ribs finally started to heal after vomiting for weeks on end from the drugs and trauma. Physio was so painful and exhausting that I’d go home and nap afterwards. My right shoulder will never be the same. But I was gonna get back on my bike and fall into the swing of things as if this didn't ever happen. I started visiting a concussion specialist to help ease my vertigo and as soon as I got the ok from the doctors, I got back on my bike.

Looking back now, I returned to riding my bike too early. The central nervous system and PTSD can take years to heal and I ended up re-braking 3 ribs later that summer in a small crash. I wish I had waited but this is just where I was with my ego at the time and I was convinced to get back to who I identified myself as, a World Class DH racer, as quickly as possible.

I also wanted to start moving forward with my health again. Seeking answers, navigating much misinformation, finding truths, getting lost again, being scared, being determined and finally following my heart to where I am today, mainly through diet, I have healed immensely, gone off of my medication (which did include antidepressants at one point) and have even baffled some doctors with how my blood test results are moving in a positive direction by just allowing my body its incredible ability to heal itself.

Today my bones and organs are healed from the car accident and hopefully I have pulled the last piece of car window glass out of my right side! I have done a lot of work to heal my energy systems and will continue to do so. My internal healing journey is not over yet and likely I will have to continue my plant-based eating lifestyle for the rest of my life. Oh well, there are worse things, I love it! It is a healthful and compassionate way to live and, as I said, I do feel better than I ever have. It is a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back kind of thing and I have to be careful with what I take on or my energy can fall flat fast. But steadily moving forward is key and the lessons I have learned are 100% invaluable. It has also allowed me to share the knowledge I have gained along the way with friends and family that too are seeking health.

The ego is a huge double-edged sword, it can help you to accomplish incredible things and it can harm you or hold you back and finding a balance is tricky to navigate. I have been lucky to be able to continue riding and racing my bike through most of this adventure. The mind and heart is a very powerful thing!

To everyone over the years who has helped me in my healing, to everyone who has shown encouragement and support with my riding and to everyone who has tolerated my competitive behaviour (as it has not always brought out the best in me), huge love and a very genuine thank you.

Let’s keep on rockin’!

- Claire Buchar

MENTIONS: @pinkbikeproductions


  • 45 1
 Claire is such an awesome person & rider! She's always stoked to be out on the trails, no matter what bike or conditions.
  • 20 0
 Really enjoyed your story and learned a lot from it especially with your positive attitude towards life. Dogbert was hilarious to watch charging all over the forest and glued to your chain stay ... And solid riding so fun to watch !
  • 15 0
 Claire rules! Before the experiences she describes here I would have described her as brave, friendly, tenacious and thoughtful. and awesome, and silly... She has proven those attributes by remaining herself through these struggles and accomplishments. Thanks for sharing Claire
  • 18 0
 Super inspirational! I had no idea....
  • 4 0
 Yes indeed
  • 14 0
 Claire is my new life hero. Such an awesome attitude!
  • 11 0
 Go Claire! You are very strong - especially to share your story with us.
  • 8 0
 Still one of my favourite mountain bike videos EVER!!

Happy Awesome Trail Enjoyment

We love you Claire.
  • 7 0
 Thank you everyone for all the support and love. The MTB community is amazing. You know I am throwing more support and love straight back at all of you and anyone out there that is struggling with their own challenges. Much love! 3 3 3
  • 10 0
 Very impressive, I suddenly feel sooo lucky !
  • 9 0
 Wow! Such a warrior
  • 4 0
 That was inspiring claire, thank you for sharing. Something you complaint over some really insignificant stuff and then you read stories like this and make you look at this in a different perspective. Life is good live it !! good luck claire Smile
  • 8 0
 All that and Claire recently won the 2018 Pemberton Enduro, I might add.
  • 4 0
 I've been wanting to apologize to Claire for years for accidently standing in her podium spot at a BC Cup 4X in Penticton in 2004 maybe??? It was my first BC Cup and I was out of my mind! She was soooo nice to me (offered me a loaner chain guide) and too polite to tell me to get out of her way. Thanks for sharing your story - I also have PTSD so I can relate to your struggles. You have always inspired me. Stay strong and keep riding Smile
  • 8 0
 Claire is rad!
  • 2 0
 Such an open and honest conversation, while demonstrating incredible MtB skills. I kept worrying about the dog getting tagged by her bike though! Best wishes to you Claire in your continuing recovery. Thank you for sharing your story in such an open and honest way.
  • 5 0
 What a great person, rider and attitude! And that truck...that truck...
  • 3 0
 Great video, down to earth & inspiring. Best wishes for the future.
  • 3 0
 Genuine happiness and just chilled. Keep up the good vibes
  • 2 0
 Great vid. Riding in February, lucky. Its May in Calgary and still all mountain trails are unridable.
  • 1 0
 Is that common for elite riders to re-ride sections of trail like that rather than going all the way to the bottom and do another lap?
  • 3 0
 That is a big pick up!
  • 2 0
 The trail pup is adorable. I want one! :3
  • 2 0
 That's the attitude! Such a lovely person.
  • 2 0
 Great attitude to have in life...Keep Positive Claire!
  • 2 0
 Claire is THE BEST! ..also she is pretty good at Karaoke. Hehe!
  • 2 0
 Great fluid riding style! I want to go and ride my trail bike now!
  • 2 0
 Ever-so-calm. So Tippie must irritate the hell out of you?
  • 2 0
 That was great because it had Claire Buchar in it
  • 2 0
 Nice to hear your story Claire. You are inspiring to us all!
  • 2 0
 What kind of dog?
  • 2 0
 Absolutely Awesome!
  • 2 0
 You’re the best!!!
  • 2 0
 Ya Buck!! Smile
  • 2 0
 Very cool
  • 1 1
 Did she clean the poop off the neighbors' fences?

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