fixture on the American race scene for years, Specialized racer Lea
Davison had a breakthrough year in 2012. Davison raced to a top-ten
finish at the World Championships, and represented the US at the
Olympic Games in London.
is back at it and off to a strong start in 2013, taking multiple
early season PRO XCT wins. But her main focus remains the World Cup
circuit later this year. She was kind enough to take a few minutes
before Sea Otter to check in with MTBRacenews about what last year
means to her, what's new with her Little Bellas program, and what
races she's most excited about this summer.
MTBRacenews.com: Is it fair to say that 2012 was your best season ever? What do
you think was your best race of the year?
Davison: 2012 was my best season to date. I had a lot of
great races last season, but my best race was probably 8th place at
the World Championships.
MTBRacenews.com: Congratulations on your trip to the Olympics. Can you sum up that
experience for us? What happened that you didn't expect?
Davison: It's hard to sum up the Olympics in a couple of words
and a lot of things happened that I didn't expect. My american
teammate, Georgia Gould, described the Olympic race perfectly. The
noise and the nervous energy is like a world cup race start except
that it lasts the entire race. It's wild. I also didn't
expect that there would be a McDonald's in the athlete village dining
hall that always had a line. The entire experience was completely
exciting and really a dream come true. Sometimes it still seems
like a dream.
MTBRacenews.com: Was it hard to stay focused on actually racing your bike in
London given everything else that what going on?
Davison: The Specialized team stayed away from all of the chaos
in London and the Olympic Village. The race venue was about an
hour away from the village so we stayed at a hotel in the quiet town.
With this setup, it was easy to focus on the race because it felt
like a normal world cup.
MTBRacenews.com: Did you do anything differently in 2012 that helped you achieve a
higher level of success, or was it just the result of small
improvements year to year?
Davison: For the 2012 season, I continued straight through the
offseason with my strength training program designed by Bill Knowles
and iSport. I took a break from the bike, but I didn't take a
break from the strength training. I also did a lot of motor
pacing with my coach, Andy Bishop, to prepare for the unique Olympic
course. Years of training build on one another, but the
schedule was so different last year that it took a different approach
from a lot of angles. I needed to have great fitness in March,
April, and May for the first four World Cups which were Olympic
qualifiers. Then, I was obviously focusing on the Olympic race
MTBRacenews.com: With the Olympics out of the picture for a couple of years, how
does 2013 look different that 2012?
Davison: As I said above, the schedule is a lot more normal.
Because the world cup opener is in mid-May as opposed to March
last year, I had the opportunity to do a lot more nordic skiing this
winter. I actually raced in two 50k skate loppets. It's so
great to immerse myself in a completely different sport and forget
about cycling for little bit.
MTBRacenews.com: How big is it to have a PRO XCT in your backyard (at the
Catamount Family Center in Williston, VT)? Can you give us any
insight into how that came about?
Davison: It's a dream come true to have the ProXCT Finals at
Catamount this season. I get to race in front of my family,
friends, and Little Bellas. My sister, Sabra, works part time
for Catamount, and Eric, Catamount's director, has always been
interested in hosting a national race. They both floated the
idea by me, and I was so excited about it. I'm on the ProXCT
committee along with a handful of other committed volunteers.
Together, with the lions share of hard work from Sabe and Eric,
we are making this dream a reality. It's going to be a great event.
MTBRacenews.com: What's new with Little Bellas this year?
Davison: The Little Bellas are expanding, and it's going to be a
great year for the program. The majority of our Vermont
programs are already filled up. Our national tour is returning
to the Sea Otter Classic in California, the Beti Bike Bash in
Colorado, and the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival in Wisconsin. We are
adding three stops to the tour for 2013. We will be running our
national camp at the Catamount Classic and also a large camp at the
Providence Cyclocross Festival. We will also have a presence at
La Bella Preme, a unique bike tour in Malibu, CA. La Bella
Preme participants have the option to fundraise for the Little
Bellas, and we are really excited to pair with such a great event.
MTBRacenews.com: Where do you see the Little Bellas program in five years?
Davison: The Little Bellas will have a strong national presence
with more camps across the nation.
MTBRacenews.com: Riding for Specialized you have access to a broad range of bikes.
How do you choose between the hardtail and the Epic for endurance
racing? Is wheel size still something you play around with?
Davison: Specialized makes such great bikes and that's good
problem to have. Specialized also makes the best, high
performance women's bikes. I usually race the Fate, the women's
29er, because it's one of the lightest bikes out there. The
Fate can handle a lot of world cup courses, and I raced the Epic in
one world cup last year. Both bikes are a great choice. Once I
rode the Fate, I was sold on 29ers.
MTBRacenews.com: What are your goals for 2013?
Davison: To get on as many world cup podiums as possible.
MTBRacenews.com: Last question, what was
your favorite new artist/album this last year?
Davison: I love anything that comes from Florence and the Machine
and Mumford and Sons.