The experience of representing your country at the World Championships is incredible. It's a challenge to qualify and it can be expensive to get there and stay the week, but it's something that creates fantastic memories.
Typically the week will start with sign on, where national team officials will register riders and hand out the race plates and wristbands (a bar code is on the wristband, with a matching one on a sticker for the ride's bike, this is scanned on leaving and entering the pits to ensure thefts don't happen.) There will be a practice session on each of the next two days with racing beginning midweek with the youngest riders. The next couple of days sees action broken down by class. The Elites finish the week off in style.
This means there's a lot of free time at the Worlds, so plenty of opportunities to explore the local area or hang out with other Brits!
Although the team spirit is brilliant, the size of the block of Brits (we were the second biggest contingent in Holland in 2014 and the largest nation in Zolder in 2015, with over 400 riders!) means laps are at a premium. Riders, especially young ones, must be alert to the lack of time and ready to make the most of the slot. Every lap counts at the Worlds, learning a difficult new track in only a few goes round is hard.
One issue for younger riders and parents is the lack of access they'll have to each other in practice and on race day. Simply put, only riders and official national representatives are allowed in the national team area (pits/staging) meaning parents of younger riders in particular need to think about preparing for the day.
The good news is that the team of volunteers who act as official GB team personnel are absolutely superb! They sacrifice their week to help riders get to the right races, eat/drink between motos, sort mechanicals, hold hands, provide high fives and hugs and anything else that's needed.
For both riders and parents the Worlds is an intense week of action; the scale of the event is unlike anything else with a corresponding increase in pressure.
Nations practice in blocks, so all the British riders are in together. This creates a fantastic atmosphere as rivalries are put aside and everyone buzzes from excitement about being part of Team GB.
BMX is unique amongst the cycling disciplines because its World Championships combine the events for the sport's elite and amateurs of all ages. Held annually at a different location each year, the Worlds is a week long festival of BMX.
Riders qualify through their own national series' as well as gaining valuable points from other competitions, such as Euro rounds. It's prestigious to pull on the national jersey and with so many fellow representatives at the event, riders feel part of a family.
The racing is divided into Championship and Challenge classes. Championship comprises Junior Men,, Junior Women, Elite Men and Elite Women. These racers will earn a coveted rainbow jersey for winning (denoting the current World Champion, it's a UCI institution featured in each discipline.)
The Challenge classes are each age group class (such as 17-24) and all cruisers. The eight finalists in each class get to race on a "W" ranking the following year, with the champion on W1. It's a real achievement to make a Worlds main and the finalists rightly deserve the plates.