I am a happy person that is incredibly hardworking and thrives on getting more girls on bikes and inspiring women through cycling. I think I have found a balance between the demands and rigors of elite level mountain bike racing and living a full life. I truly believe happiness is fast so I do things that make me happy, like eat ice cream, ski in the winter, ride with the Little Bellas, and spend time with friends. Even though sometimes those things may be atypical for cross-country bike racers.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I am from Jericho, Vermont and right now, I live between Jericho, Vermont (northern Vermont) and Sunderland, Vermont (southern Vermont) where my wife, Frazier Blair is based. I'm spending more and more time in Sunderland, Vermont.
Who do you ride for?
I am currently in transition but I will be racing World Cups next year and going for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I'm a big sleeper so I typically wake up anywhere between 8 am and 10 am. I usually eat fried eggs and toast for breakfast, and then get on my bike for a workout. This workout can be between 2-4 hours typically. Then, I'll come home and EAT, shower, and then start in on emails, working on Little Bellas, working on travel logistics, and sometimes fit in a nap. Then, if it's a double workout day, I will do strength or a second ride for another 2 hours and then spend the rest of the evening cooking dinner and hanging out with Frazier.
How did you get into mountain biking?
A friend in high school, Dan Dombroski, suggested that I should stop running in circles on the track and try out mountain biking. So, as a junior in high school, I stopped running track and field, and I joined our very small high school mountain bike club. I immediately took to the sport since I found it was the perfect combination between downhill ski racing and cross country running, two sports I was very immersed in at that time. During the second year I was racing, I competed in the NORBA national race at Mt. Snow in the junior category and won. That automatically qualified me for the 2001 junior world championships. At that time, I had no idea that there was a World Championships even. So that really opened my eyes that mountain biking could be a career. From that moment on, that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a professional mountain biker.
What is something you believe that other people think is crazy?
I believe in energy. Energy runs through our bodies and some people take away our energy and other people add to our energy. That's why you have to be careful about who you surround yourself with. Energy can get blocked, and I believe that's when sickness or injury happens. I regularly get bodywork such as acupuncture or cranial sacral work to maintain health or address injuries or sickness. It's very powerful.
What are your strengths?
Resilience. I have come back from two hip surgeries to return to even better form than before my surgeries. Flexibility. I think my 'go with the flow' attitude serves me well in the constant changing conditions and environments of mountain bike racing. Strength. I put in a lot of time strength training in the offseason and in season.
What are your weaknesses?
Time management and resting. I have a lot of energy and there are a lot of cool things to do. On bike, I also need to work on my jumping and drops.
Where is your favourite place to ride?
There are so many great places to ride your bike, but I really love mountain biking in Vermont. It has a combination of everything; very technical riding with wet roots or fast, flowy trails as well. The amount of trails and networks Vermont Mountain Bike Association are building are incredible. I feel very lucky to live where I live. I have to say the Kingdom Trails in Northern Vermont are some of my favorite since I just got married there this fall!
What are some of the accomplishments that you're most proud of?
In 2014, I had hip surgery the end of January, and I came back to racing World Cups in July. I'm really proud of coming back from that surgery in the same season to win the XC U.S National Title, return to the World Cup podium, and win my first ever World Championship medal. I'm also really proud of my silver medal World Championships' ride in 2016 where I came around the start lap in 20th and fought my way to a second place. The 2012 and 2016 Olympics is something I am really proud of.
Do you have any big projects or trips planned for next year?
I will be racing a full World Cup mountain bike circuit. I will be going to Norway over Christmas and New Year's for a cross-country ski training trip with Frazier.
What's been your worst crash over the years?
The first one that comes to my mind is a crash I took off the first big drop on the Worlds course in Cairns, Australia. The Rodeo Drop may look small on redbull.tv, but that drop is about 6 feet tall. My timing was off, and I landed front wheel first and exploded off the back off the bike. This is my worst nightmare when riding drops. I landed in a superman position, and hit my head so hard on the seat that I cracked my helmet. This was the first day of training. Thanks to an amazing support staff at USA Cycling and a great Giro helmet (believe me I checked to make sure I didn't have a concussion), I was able to race the relay and the cross-country race (6th place!). But, adrenaline does amazing things and after I returned home, my shoulder was really injured and I couldn't even ride a bike. I spent all last fall rehabbing and getting my shoulder back to ground zero where I could train again.
What bikes are you riding right now?
To be announced soon!
Who's your favourite rider?
I really like Gunn Rita because I think it's incredible how many years she's been able to perform at the top of the sport. She won World Cups 22 years apart! She's also a great human.
What's your favourite motto or saying?
Hard work pays off. #happinessisfast
What annoys you?
Inequality between men and women (sexism, unequal prize money, unequal opportunity, unequal media coverage...). On a lighter note, I really don't like it when the hot water runs out. I love taking hot showers.
What makes you happy?
Singletrack. Powder. Achieving goals. Frazier. Ice cream. Family and friends. Maple syrup. Humor. The list goes on. There's a lot of things that make me happy.
What do you enjoy away from bikes?
Little Bellas! Skiing. I love snow and cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing, and downhill skiing. I also really love cooking and trying out new recipes. Swimming holes.
What's your favourite non-bike website?
New York Times Cooking.
If you weren't a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing?
I would be trying to be a pro freeskier.
Where do you think the future of women's cycling is headed?
Women hold a lot of the buying power, and more and more women are getting into cycling. There's A LOT of potential and a market there that hasn't been fully tapped. On the other side of the spectrum, I also think women's World Cup cross-country mountain biking has never been more exciting. Our field is so incredibly deep and the racing is tight. It's very inspiring. If the industry is listening to both of those factors, I believe the only way to go is up. If we combine both of those things, we really could get a lot more women riding bikes.
How do you want to be remembered?
I would love to be remembered as a bright light on the World Cup circuit who was also a ferocious mountain bike racer. I would also want to be remembered as a woman who made a big impact on a lot of women's lives and got a lot of girls on bikes.
Learn more about Lea Davison at www.leadavison.com
and follow her on Instagram, @leaeatsalot