Cam Wood 2022 Worlds Interview
Team USA

Cam Wood Is Ready for BMX Worlds in Nantes

By: Jim Rusnak  July 26, 2022

Cam Wood's first year as an elite was nothing short of amazing. With a World Cup podium under his belt, he's looking to better his 8th place performance from last year's Worlds.

Wood after placing second at the Papendal World Cup.

BMX racer Cameron Wood has always been a process-driven athlete. Do all the right things today — your training, your racing, all the little details — and the results will take care of themselves.

He says it’s that philosophy that has taken him such a long way in such a short time in his sport.

Wood turned pro last year at the age of 19 and saw significant success, culminating with an eighth-place finish in the main at the 2021 UCI World Championship in Papendal, Netherlands. And despite some challenges early on this year, Wood’s season is now trending in the right direction.

His most recent accomplishment took place once again in Papendal, where he finished second in the fourth race of the UCI World Cup series. Now he’s got his sights set on the 2022 UCI BMX World Championships, July 26-31 in Nantes, France, and beyond.

“I’m a very analytical person,” Wood said. “I feel like I have really good self-awareness, and I know what my strengths are and what I need to work on. I stick to what I know, and I’m more process-driven than outcome driven when it comes to these events. That’s what helps me be consistent in the pro class.”

The Backstory

Wood says his background story is probably a little different from most BMX racers. He was born and raised in Montana, living in Bozeman until he was 16. While he was competitive at a young age, the Montana climate limited his riding season to about three months a year.

He played football and basketball to stay active in the long offseason, but in 2018, his family moved to Phoenix, Ariz., to give him a better opportunity to chase his BMX dreams. The move paid off, with Wood turning pro for the 2021 season and proving himself with his outstanding rookie performance at Worlds.

He credits his success to having good people in his corner—including his family—who have helped guide him through that transition from amateur to pro.

“I had a lot of great guidance along the way, and people who helped me reach (the pro) level at a very fast rate,” Wood said. “I think the biggest adjustment for me was just racing at that speed all day. I think when you’re an amateur, you don’t understand how many good, solid, consistent laps it takes to get the results you want at this level.

“Once again, I’d say the common theme is just self-awareness—knowing what you’re good at and being able to execute it no matter what the stake of the race is. I try not to let the spectacle of the races distract me from what I need to do to perform at my best.”

This Season’s Challenges

Coming into 2022, Wood faced a number of challenges early on. The season started off kind of slow at the first three USA BMX Series races. Wood felt like he was riding at a high level, but he just wasn’t getting the results he wanted. A series of “BMX circumstances” left him struggling.

“In our sport, everything happens very fast,” Wood said. “There are a lot of split-second decisions involved, and a lot of things that are out of your control at times. Whether it be where other racers are on the track, or the conditions, there are a lot of circumstances in BMX. I felt like a lot of times early on, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time in a lot of the races, and unfortunately that cost me. But on the other end of that, I hold myself accountable for those things. I always have the mindset of, ‘If I were out front, I wouldn’t have to worry about circumstance.’ I was in some tough situations early on in the year and wasn’t able to capitalize and make my way into main events.”

On top of that, the coach he had been working with for the past three years left to pursue other opportunities. Wood began writing his own training programs and leaning on himself. But what began as a setback actually set the stage for Wood to turn his season around.

“Midway through the year, I kind of had to make an adjustment and rely on myself a little bit more,” Wood said. “I’ve learned a lot since my previous coach, and I’ve taken some of the things that he’s given me and run away with it to some degree.”

“The success kind of happened when I was doing things by myself. That’s what kind of gave me that next level of confidence—just knowing that I had to fall back on myself for a lot of the results I got, and doing things more individually than I’ve done in the past. That was a big challenge, just that adjustment period and having to do things on my own, but at the same time it helped me understand more about myself.”

The Season’s Successes

While it always helps to build confidence with early season wins, Wood says he never really had any self-doubt. He knew he was riding at a high level and the results would come if he just kept chipping away.

It finally started clicking and coming together at the USA BMX Legacy Nationals in Tulsa, and then at the two UCI World Cup races in Glasgow and Papendal.

Wood attended a USA camp in preparation for the Tulsa race. He said he really clicked with the track and got a lot of solid training leading up to the race, and he ended up with his second USA BMX pro win of his career.

“I was definitely riding on a high from that,” Wood said. “It was a good way to finish out the USA BMX races before going all-in on the World Cup schedule.”

The World Cup in Glasgow was his first international World Cup as a pro. He rode solid laps and made semis both days and was just one spot away from making two finals. Then in Papendal, he finished second in the fourth stage of the series.

Wood felt like he was finally achieving the results he deserved.

“I was in a good mindset heading into the World Cup in Papendal,” Wood said. “I had some previous success there making the final at the World Championships in 2021. I think the track suited me a little bit more, and I think I had a lot of good feelings toward Papendal. We had a bunch of practice sessions leading up to it, and we had more time on the track with the team. Things were kind of just falling into place, and in the back of my mind, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to make the final. The goal was to get on to a World Cup podium, and I was able to accomplish that.”

Looking to Worlds and Beyond

Wood has had the World Championships circled on his calendar since the start of the season and will get his chance to race this week in Nantes, France. There, he hopes to improve upon last year’s eighth-place finish.

“Getting yourself in a World final, you just execute the best you can and the results just kind of seem to take care of themselves,” Wood said. “When you’re able to get into your routine and get in a good rhythm at the big races, whatever results come, you just want no regrets. Leave it all out on the track.”

After Worlds, he’ll turn his attention back to the USA BMX series. He concedes that he’s dug himself a bit of a hole with his performances earlier in the year but wants to put himself in contention for the series title by the end of the season.

“My focus from day to day is just always getting the best out of myself and doing everything I can to master the process of it all,” Wood said. “What else can you do, other than do the best that you can and perform at the best of your ability? It shall be what it shall be.”

And after this year? Wood’s goals include the Olympic Games, the highest spectacle in his sport.

“That was always my dream when I started this whole BMX journey,” Wood said. “I think while it’s always going to be in the back of my head – it’s always been a dream of mine—I’m going to do my best just to stay present and in my race-by-race mindset. If I am able to get the most out of myself and make the most out of every race I’m in, I have high confidence that I’ll get there.”

Watch the 2021 UCI BMX Racing World Championships live July 30-31st.