Lauren Reynolds fondly remembers the thrill of launching herself off a Bunbury jetty on an old BMX bike on long summer days during her childhood.
She guesses she was about seven when she first propelled herself into the river, joined in the risky business by her brother Bryce and some friends.
A wooden ramp provided the launch pad and milk cartons tied to the bike ensured it was not lost in the silt on the river bed.
"We'd set that up on the end of the jetty and get a big run-up," Reynolds recalled. "We'd just charge at it in our bathers, get some pretty solid air and jump into the water.
"The bike would float back up and we'd pull it out and do it all again. They were some of the best memories I have and it probably represents the attitude I have on a bike and my passion for it.
"I certainly didn't think back then that this is what I'd be doing. I was a bit of a nutter but that's what's made me who I am today."
Those river days are long gone but the fearlessness has endured, propelling Reynolds towards the London Olympics.
Now based on the Gold Coast where she trains at the Australian Institute of Sport, the world No. 5 received the perfect 21st birthday present this week when she was named in a five-strong squad heading to the Games.
Reynolds stormed into Olympic contention with two podium places at last year's BMX test event in London, where she was second in the time trial, and in racing finished third behind New Zealand's Sarah Walker and Britain's Shanaze Reade, who won on her home track.
Reynolds' performances have boosted her confidence ahead of London racing, which starts with seeding on August 8.
"I love the Olympic track and it definitely suits my style. I get good vibes when I'm riding there," she said. "The jumps are big and it's fast. It's a bit extreme. I like all that."
Reynolds' interest in BMX rose sharply when as an eight-year-old she raced and beat a group of boys at the local Bunbury track.
In 2003, after years of mixing BMX and basketball she recognised her talent on a bike could take her places.
The stars aligned when just two weeks before she was to race for a junior world title in Perth, BMX confirmed its place on the Olympic program for the first time.
Reynolds was suitably inspired and won the title in the 12-year-old category.
She is now headed full tilt for London where she hopes she can repay mum Jonenne and dad Geoff who fostered their daughter's passion for racing.
"I'll be doing everything I can to make them proud," she said.
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