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Interview with Specialized Racer Lea Davison

Posted by: Matt Williams |June 6, 2014 12:37 AM

Interview with Specialized Racer Lea Davison

Conspicuously absent from the start line of this spring's major mountain bike races has been defending US National Champion Lea Davison. The Specialized rider was slowed by a hip injury this winter and has been unable to compete at all thus far in 2014.

Davison recently took a few minutes to check in with MTBRacenews about her hip injury, her goals for the season, and what's new with her Little Bellas program. Can you tell us a little about the injury that's kept you out of competition this spring?

Lea Davison: I was spending time on Kauai this offseason, and, suddenly, my right hip starting hurting.  It was a pain that was similar to when I tore my labrum in my left hip so I was really worried. I flew back to Vermont Orthopeadic Clinic immediately, and the MRI revealed that I had torn my labrum.  Doctor Lighthart, same doctor that did the labral repair on my left hip, fixed my right hip in late January.  I've been working hard rehabbing and recovering under the direction of my athletic training and strength coach, Bill Knowles with HP Sports.  He has a progressive approach and we are working to come back for the second half of the season. What's the game plan with it going forward?

Lea Davison: I want to be prepared for and racing the Catamount Classic ProXCT Finals, the North American World Cups, and the World Championships.  I am gradually notching up my riding time and strength.  My entire plan is very calculated. What are your race goals for the second half of the year?

Lea Davison: To be racing those races that I said in the previous question, and, simply, to do the best that I can under the given circumstances.  I'm working really hard, but it's hard to really put specific result goals. It seems like you've stayed pretty busy with your Little Bellas program though. Can you tell us about the Sea Otter camp you just held?

Lea Davison: Our recent Sea Otter Classic Little Bellas camp was our most successful yet.  Over the course of the weekend, we got sixty girls on bikes, and everyone had so much fun.  Sea Otter just keeps growing and expanding every year. Any new programs planned for Little Bellas this year?

Lea Davison: This is a big year for the Little Bellas.  We went national with our camp format four years ago.  This year, we are laying down roots where our national camps have had the most success. We are starting a program, Little Bellas Sunday Sessions, in Salinas, CA to coincide with our Sea Otter Camp. We are also collaborating with the Amy D Foundation to start a chapter in our good friend Amy Dombroski's honor in Boulder, CO.  The Amy D Little Bellas chapter will springboard off of the success of our national camp at the Beti Bike Bash in Denver, CO. We have identified our regional coordinators in these areas and are training our new mentors. Today marks our third session in Salinas, CA and is also the start of our first Amy D session in Boulder, CO. Luckily, I am in Santa Cruz so I've been able to spend a lot of great time with our Salinas chapter. My sister and program director, Sabra, is in Boulder, CO.  Little Bellas is all over the map. I've heard you've also been active with the North American Women's Mountain Bike Coalition. How do you see that fitting into the bigger goal of expanding women's participation inmountain biking (and racing)?

Lea Davison: I think it's fantastic that Georgia Gould started this coalition.  We are both on the same page in terms of promoting women's cycling and growing the sport as much as possible.  To grow the women's numbers, it really takes effort from all stakeholders; industry, teams, riders, governing bodies, and race promoters. This coalition is a great place to take responsibility as female riders.  We are identifying the main obstacles for women to race, and we are overcoming some of the barriers by communicating through this venue. We are doing our part and showing up to the races that promote equality through prize money. You're involved with USAC and a rider rep, and I know you made it to some of the US Cup PRO XCT's this spring (Mellow Johnny's, Fontanda, and Bonelli). How big were those races for American mountain biking? Where do you see things going from here?

Lea Davison: Sho Air Cycling and Scott Tedro in collaboration with USA Cycling have really brought U.S mountain biking to the next level.  The equal prize money combined with the live coverage really is creating a high level of racing. There were twice as many pro women on the start line at Fontana compared to last year's ProXCT there. There were international and very competitive fields. It just proves that 'if you build it, they will come'. I hope to see this spring series grow as a must for every world cup rider to prepare for the upcoming season. I really think it has great potential to become the new Cyprus Cup, which is a race a lot of european racers use as early season training. I can't say enough great things about what Tedro is doing for american mountain bike racing. Are you psyched to have another woman, Kate Courtney, on the team this season?

Lea Davison: I am absolutely thrilled. She is very talented, and we really get along well. It's going to be a really fun season with her. Just have to ask, did you get to take advantage of any of the epic snow storms that rolled through Vermont this winter?

Lea Davison: Unfortunately, I did not because they rolled through after I had hip surgery. I did get to crutch through the epic snow storms, but, it turns out, that's not as fun as skiing. 

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