This phrase is literally and metaphorically relevant for all mountain bikers. Strava cycling pro Lea Davison tells us “there are times in every season where I crash, I’m covered in dirt, and literally have to pick myself up and try again.”
Fueled by maple syrup, Lea had her hand in every sport from a young age. It’s no wonder her persistence, positivity and hard work have lead her to the front of the pack. We caught up with the Vermont local after her best season yet to learn how she shakes those pre-race nerves, trains in the off-season and uses Strava.
Lea Davison Rider Journal: I grew up in Jericho, VT on a lot of maple syrup. My mom, Lucia Davison, was a product of the pre title IX generation so she didn’t have any athletic opportunities. As a result of this, she and my dad threw me and my sister, Sabra, into every sport possible. I grew up running, playing soccer, little league, swimming, sailing, skiing, and even windsurfing. I discovered that mountain biking was the perfect blend of fitness from cross country running and skills from downhill ski racing, both sports which I was very involved with at the time.
What aspect of the sport would you find most difficult to live without?
Freedom. Freedom to travel the world. The opportunity to work hard, push my limits, and see where it will take me. I get to ride my bike everyday. It’s incredible.
Do you get pre-race nerves? What do you do to shake them?
YES. I most definitely get really nervous before races. My friend Elke Brutsaert once told me that nerves are good because it means you have the potential to do really well.
If I weren’t nervous, it would mean that I didn’t care. Nerves are good sign. It means I have high energy going into the race.
However, I do have to control them. Too many nerves can mean I will race too tense. I try to smile on the start line and take some deep breaths to relax. I also try to focus on the opportunity that I have to do my best rather than being scared of the race.
Tell us about your 2013 season: What are some of the highlights?
The absolute highlight was riding to fourth place in the last world cup of the season in Norway. I was second wheel from the start of the race and in the lead group. I felt amazing and it was so incredible to really be in the mix in a world cup.
The other season highlights include winning the XC national championships (I’ve been gunning to wear that USA kit for a long time now), a fifth place finish at the Mount Saint Anne World Cup in front of my family and friends, and winning the Catamount Classic ProXCT Finals in front of my hometown and the Little Bellas.
At Langkawi you were leading when you took a wrong turn. What was going through your mind when you realized what had happened.
At first, I was really frustrated because Maja and I had worked so hard to get a lot of time on the other girls. I was feeling fantastic that day and really taking advantage of it. Then, after a long two hour spin finding our way back to the hotel, I came to the conclusion that, if making a wrong turn when leading a stage race is Malaysia is the worst thing that happened that day, it’s still a pretty good day. I just decided to move on and focus on the opportunities in the four stages that followed. And it worked out.
You’ve ridden all over the world; what’s the most exotic place you’ve mountain biked? Describe what makes it unique.
I’ve been lucky enough to get the opportunity to ride all over the world, but Malaysia is the most exotic place I’ve mountain biked. It’s so unlike any other race I’ve ever been a part of. It’s on an island. It’s in Asia. It’s muddy and it’s in the jungle. It’s hot. The food and culture are very different to where most of the world cups take place in Europe. Instead of the typical European bread, cheese, and meat for breakfast, there’s curry for breakfast in Malaysia. It’s wild.
Who do you consider to be your biggest rival?
The world cup fields are deep enough to not have one main rival. There are too many fast girls to just focus on one. If I had to name a person, it might be Georgia Gould because we absolutely battle it out once the gun goes off. But, most importantly, she’s my best friend on the circuit and I’m one of her biggest supporters.
How relevant is this phrase to you: “dust yourself off and try again”
This phrase is literally and metaphorically relevant. There are times in every season where I crash, am covered in dirt, and literally have to pick myself up and try again.
The moment that comes to mind from this season is the World Championships in South Africa. There was this steep A Line with log stairs and a sharp ninety-degree corner at the bottom. On my first attempt, I unclipped at the top of the feature, somehow rode through it with one foot in, and then tanked it into the fencing at the bottom. I was lucky that my hip took most of the impact on the fence post and nothing else. I was able to get up and ride again, but it took me a couple days of visualization to work up the courage to ride the stairs again. The day before the race, I rode it, and then I rode it in the race.
Do you have any mentors or role models, how do they influence you?
Andy Bishop is my coach, my mentor, and my role model all wrapped up into one. He rode at a very high level on the road (Tour de France) and on the mountain bike and he lives in Vermont. I’ve finally found a coach that really works for me and understands. Working together, we went to the Olympics. I sometimes call him my ‘life coach’ because I feel like he dictates my life more often than not.
Also, I always seem to use Katerina Nash as my benchmark in races. I know if Katerina can do it, I can do it. So, it’s fantastic when she wins world cups because it inspires confidence in myself.
What is your go-to bike snack?
I really love the salty Margarita Clif Shot Bloks and Clif coconut Mojo bars. Inspired by the Feedzone Portables cookbook, I’ve also really gotten into pancake sandwiches. I love pancakes and I’ll take two and slap some almond butter and coconut butter in between them. It’s delicious.
How have you used Strava in your training?
Strava is functioning as my new training log. It’s more fun to track my training than writing everything down in a notebook. My training becomes way more socially interactive and I can track my personal records on climbs and segments that I frequently use for intervals. It’s a great way to track improvement, plus it’s always really fun to get QOMs. Since I ride in new places a lot, I always use the segment explore to locate good interval climbs and create training routes. I spend a lot of time looking at that Strava map.
Do you cross-train with other sports? What does your off season look like? What are you most looking forward to?
My off-season is comprised mostly of cross training. I go to Kauai for November and December to stay with my girlfriend Jojo’s, family. I use this time to surf and put in a huge strength training block with my strength coach, Bill Knowles, which HP Performance designs for me. Then, I return back home to Vermont to cross country ski and my sister Sabe kicks my butt into shape. Sabe’s main sport is nordic skiing. I usually compete in the citizen biathlon race every Thursday (shooting and skiing) and then race in a couple of marathons. It’s so important for me to get off the bike and work on my fitness in other ways. I need that refresher mentally and physically. I’m looking forward to it all. I love Kauai and I love snow.
What is your best piece of training advice?
Work hard. Work harder than any of your competitors because that’s the only thing you can control.
Recover. Rest and recovery is so often overlooked and probably the most important thing. A body needs time to rebuild so take at least one easy day per week.
If you could pass one thing on to the next generation of cyclists, what would it be?
Equality. I would like to pass on a cycling world that is completely equal for female cyclists; equal prize money, equal media coverage, equal race opportunities, and equal career opportunities.
My sister and I are working on creating that world by getting more females on bikes with our nonprofit mentoring on mountain bikes program, the Little Bellas. We also made another step in the right direction with this year’s Catamount Classic. G-Form put up more prize money for the women than the men to make up for lost time, and the women raced in the premiere time slot in the afternoon after the men raced.
What’s your secret talent (it doesn’t have to be bike related).
I’m the best at silly, goofy dancing. Only my sister could give me a run for my money. I also love making Thai food.
Anything else you would like to share or think we should know?
The Little Bellas runs camps for 8-14 year olds at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA, Beti Bike Bash in Colorado, Catamount Classic in Williston, VT, and Providence Cyclocross Festival in Providence, Rhode Island. We also run weeklong camps in Vermont during the summer and Sunday sessions in the summer. Find out more information and sign up Littlebellas.com
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and Strava are challenging cyclists to rack up 5,000 meters in elevation gain between November 2nd and November 10th.
We encourage you to head to the trails, push it uphill, and climb some mountains. It’s not about how long you’re in the saddle or how far you travel – all that matters is how much you climb.
Don’t have a mountain bike? Try out your skinny tires; you might be surprised at how fun it can be. Even road pro Ted King switches it up sometimes. Check out this ride as proof: DIRTDIRTDIRTDIRT!
Take it to the trails and show your dedication to dirt. While you’re out there, respect the ground you cover and the people you encounter.
If you’ve forgotten the “Rules of the Trails” or need a refresher, read on. We’ve given them a little update and added a 7th rule – Be cool. Download the rules and share them with your friends, club or local trail association.
IMBA is a nonprofit organization that helps to advance, build, and sustain trail systems. To learn more about what they do and how you can contribute, check out this partner feature on our blog or visit their website at www.IMBA.com.
When the weather keeps you from getting outside, it’s time to log a workout on your indoor trainer. And now you have extra motivation to make your indoor training count. We’re excited to be partnering with The Sufferfest to offer our Premium members access to monthly training videos designed to help you stay fit, reach peak performance, and meet your goals.
Premium members, you can stream these videos via the Strava Cycling app on your iPhone or Android, and coming soon to Strava.com. Three videos are now available and we’ll be adding more periodically. Each video offers a structured workout focused on a different training element so you can stay on top of your game. You can now train with the following videos:
- Fight Club – 58 min, Time Trial
- Revolver – 45 min, Speed
- Rubber Glove – 58 min, Fitness Test
In keeping with Sufferfest tradition, we want to see your dedication to staying on top of your game when the elements are against you. Take a picture of your indoor training setup (aka your Torture Chamber) and tag it with #stravasuffer.
We’ll pick some of our favorites to highlight from now until December 1, and we’ll send you some swag in exchange for your buckets of basement sweat.
Ready to suffer? Go Premium for $6 per month or $59 per year and make your indoor training count.
Training videos cannot be accessed offline and you will need a WiFi connection or a mobile data plan (your mobile provider’s data rates apply) to access them. Check out our Support Forum to review the Training Videos FAQ for iPhone and Training Videos FAQ for Android.
Training for races is one of the primary characteristics of being a runner. To train more effectively for your next event, we’ve improved the way training information is surfaced with our recent update to Premium Pace Zones. Now, the names of each zone better reflect classic running terminology to help you easily map runs back to a training plan. Additionally, the expansion to six zones helps you more accurately visualize your training at a glance.
Strava uses a recent race or time trial to calculate your running pace zones. (Visit your Performance Settings and enter in your race pace at a specific distance.)
Here is a comparison of a workout consisting of a warm-up, a long tempo, and some faster running towards the end. Previously, this is how we reported pace zone distribution for such an effort:
With this new view we are able to better classify the run for what it was: a tempo run.
Here is the breakdown of the new Pace Zone Distributions:
Active Recovery – Very easy running. Usually done before or after a hard workout. Active recovery is also the pace runners jog at during the recovery intervals between harder efforts.
Endurance – Comfortable running. Sometimes referred to as “conversational” pace. This zone usually makes up the bulk of a runner’s mileage.
Tempo – This pace often matches the intensity of a Marathon, or up-tempo pace.
Threshold – A pace that can be sustained for up to 60 minutes with some difficulty. Workouts in this zone can be run continuously or broken up into longer intervals.
VO2 Max – The pace at which a runner reaches the maximum level of oxygen consumption. VO2 Max pace is typically run in intervals due to its intensity.
Anaerobic – Extremely hard pace, often done as short intervals or longer time trials.
Go Premium for $6 per month or $59 per year and train more effectively for your next event.
The Grand Slam is the ultimate test of strength and endurance for ultrarunners. This includes four of the most classic 100-mile trail running races: The Western States Endurance Run, The Vermont 100, The Leadville Trail 100 Run and The Wasatch Front 100. To put this in perspective, between June 28th and September 7th, athletes race 400 miles with over 77,000 feet of climbing, with most of these being logged at elevations between 5,000 and 12,000 feet.
This year, Strava run Pro Ian Sharman secured the overall title with a mere 20-minute lead on competitor Nick Clark. Ian placed fourth at the first two races and bumped it up for the win at Leadville. In the final race at Wasatch, he took second place, rounding out the Grand Slam with a record-breaking time of 69 hours and 49 minutes.
We caught up with Ian to see what was going through his mind over the past months on the trail. Read what he had to say and get snapshot of what it takes to be the ultrarunning Grand Slam winner.
Ian Sharman, runner journal: I’ve run Western States 100 the previous 3 years and it always dominates my summer so I wanted to do something different and find a new challenge. I haven’t run that many 100s before so the idea of 4 within 10 weeks was (and still is) intimidating, but ultrarunning is all about getting out of your comfort zone so this sounded appealing.
My main goal was to get to the finish of the final race in one piece, but ideally to also break the Grand Slam record for the combined time from all 4 races (74h 54m).
You and fellow ultrarunner, Nick Clark were both very close to the Grand Slam record this year. Has his competitive presence in the Grand Slam impacted your own training and racing?
Yes, it’s made a huge difference and we’ve pushed each other hard. All of the races have been very tight between us with both leading at various points in each 100. We’re competitive guys and good friends so it’s made the summer so much more memorable to have a rivalry like this.
Nick’s won it previously and was only about 69 mins behind me going in to the last race, which sounds like a lot but one bad section at Wasatch Front 100 could have easily erased that lead.
You currently hold the fastest time ever run on American soil for 100 miles on a much different type of course than any of the races in the Grand Slam. Do you have a certain preference for terrain? Does one cater to your strengths better than the other?
I love to run in really varied places, whether it’s roads, deserts, jungles or mountains. That’s one of the things I find most fun about running – that it has no limits on where you can go. Slightly flatter trail runs seem to suit me best but I’m happy to race in events, which may not be ideal for me just to enjoy some fantastic courses.
How do you recover and continue to train with only a few weeks in between races?
Between each race I do very little training, mainly hiking and active recovery like walking. At most I run every other day to not overstrain myself since the biggest focus is to let my legs and body heal from each 100. Eating the same kind of supplements that body-builders take (the legal ones!) is also good for speeding up muscle rebuilding.
How have you used Strava in your training?
Strava has shown me so many new routes, especially since I only moved to the Bay Area a few months ago. It’s also fun to use the segments for fartlek and speed work so I’m trying to capture all the CRs near where I live – it’s incredibly motivating and helps to vary the routes I use.
What was going through your head during the Leadville 100 when you found out that you were leading? Given the field and your two previous 100’s this year, did you think it was a possibility going into the race?
I knew that if I had a near perfect race I’d be somewhere around the front but the second race in the Slam (Vermont 100) I felt so bad almost the whole time that I mainly hoped Leadville would just feel better and be more enjoyable. Once I got into the lead it was about two thirds of the way through so I was feeling better than I’d expected and knew that if I could keep things together then I could probably hold on to the lead. But Nick Clark wasn’t far behind and he’s such a fierce competitor that I took nothing for granted – he had me running scared!
Your pace on Strava shows that you ran a pretty consistent race. Were there any sections of the course where you really struggled or felt challenged?
Around 85 miles in I got delirious and was stumbling over rocks and slowing down. So I focused on trying to eat more gels and hoped it would turn around if I lowered the intensity, not that I had much choice. A few miles later I was starting to feel a bit more with it, then was told Nick was just 10 minutes behind and the adrenaline kicked in. I was just about able to hold a faster pace to the finish. I had to assume he’d be running hard and fast to the end although he was actually having stomach problems and wasn’t able to keep food down in those last miles.
What are your plans after the Grand Slam?
Rest and recuperation! I’ve planned trips up to Sonoma and a couple of breweries so can’t wait to relax and let my legs recover.
Can you picture your life without running?
To be honest, no. But I think I’d do a similar sport if something stopped me running, like an injury. I used to play a lot of team sports so I’d have to remain active as that’s a way of life I couldn’t stop.
Outside of racing you are a running coach. What kind of advice do you give those attempting their first ultramarathon or their first 100 miler?
The main thing is to train for the specifics of the race you’re attempting since each ultra is unique, which is a big difference to road racing and halves or marathons. Experience and tactics make so much difference in the really long events so it helps to be cautious, respect the distance and aim to look after your body to try to head off any problems in training and racing at the first sign of something going wrong.
Connect with Ian and check out his activity from the Grand Slam races:
Today we’re excited to make the Strava Route Builder available to all users. Using real athlete data to recommend the best roads and trails around the world, the Route Builder lets you create running and cycling routes that fit your preferences and goals, whether you’re trying to hit the most segments or go for the most (or least!) elevation.
We’ve made some improvements since launching our Routes Preview that we want to share with you:
As a runner, you may want to create a route (that cuts through a park, for instance) that the Route Builder prevents you from creating because it doesn’t yet exist in Strava’s basemap. The new manual mode feature will let you turn off all popularity and elevation controls and essentially draw lines on the map wherever you’d like.
Estimated Ride Time
For cycling routes, you’ll now see an estimated ride time in the bottom bar of the Route Builder, on Route cards, Routes pages, and cue sheets which will estimate how long it will take you to complete the route based on your average speed over the past four weeks.
Strava Popularity Heatmap
To see the most popular roads and paths across the world, you can now toggle on a Strava Popularity heatmap in the Map View Options panel of the Route Builder.
If you’d like to delete a route that you’ve created, you can do so from the My Routes page. Press the actions button (wrench icon) on the Route you wish to delete. From that menu, you can either edit or delete the route. Deleting a route you created is permanent, so make sure you really want to remove it.
Access the Route Builder and all of your created and starred routes by clicking the My Routes tab on your dashboard.
Over the past nine months we’ve been laying the foundation for our new ride pages, and we’re excited to take the next step in bringing them to you. Some of the improvements include:
We threw out our old charts and paved the way for a brand new experience. Our new charts are easier to use, significantly more powerful, and just stunning to look at.
We’ve built an entirely new way to analyze your rides. You can zoom in on custom sections, laps, and Strava segments, and the map and elevation chart will follow your every move. Instant averages and maxes are displayed as you pan and zoom, giving you total freedom to obsess over your ride.
Top Notch Premium Analysis
We’ve revamped the Premium experience with bigger and better visuals. Our power analysis now includes map and elevation chart integration to show you exactly where on your ride you put out peak power.
We’ve made it easier to see how your effort stacked up against your past efforts and those of the entire Strava community. Mini leaderboards let you dive in and out of specific efforts on your ride.
Much More Coming
This page is core to the Strava experience and we will never stop improving it. We’ve got lots more planned in the coming months.
Over the next month, we’ll be inviting more and more users to try out the new page. During this opt-in period, you can go back and forth between the old and new pages. Keep in mind that the new pages are in beta mode, meaning some of the functionality is not quite perfect. We’ll be working around the clock to tidy up the experience. In the meantime, you can tell us what you think of the new page in our support forum.
You’ve pioneered new roads, put in the miles, and trained hard. Now, show the world what you’ve accomplished by foot and by bike. Premium members, now you can create your own personal heatmaps to visualize the ground you’ve covered around the world. It’s the perfect thing to share with friends.
From your Profile on Strava.com, click on the Heatmaps tab to get started:
1. Pick your sport and date range for the activities you want included in your heatmap.
2. Click Generate and your list of personal heatmaps will appear below.
3. Click View to see your heatmap. Move to a region or zoom in to share that particular heatmap via Facebook and Twitter. Share the URL with a smaller group of friends via email.
You can create unlimited heatmaps. Generate an all-time view of the year and compare it to years prior, or set custom date ranges for your heatmap. For instance, take a look at Laurens ten Dam’s Tour de France heatmap. Or check out Strava Run Ambassador Laurent Boquillet’s adventures in and around Paris. Or did you see Ambassador Galen Burrell’s fifty-two (and counting) Mount Tam summits this summer? How about Strava Cycling Ambassador Kate Powlison’s hard earned miles in 2013? Kudos!
Training for an upcoming Marathon? Looking to build on your base training and crush your PR at events like Berlin, Chicago, or New York? Strava is here to support your goals with another round of the Marathon Training Series.
For each of the Challenges in the series, you need to run the required distance in a single activity to make it count. Like a race, the results will be ranked by average pace. This means the faster you run, the higher your place on the leaderboard.
The Marathon Training Series consists of three individual Challenges, with distances and scheduling designed to align with your existing training calendar:
|August 2013 Half Marathon (Aug 1-31)
A 13.1 mile test to see where you stand
|September 2013 Long Run (Sep 1-30)
Up the miles and prove you’re ready
|October 2013 Marathon (Sep 29 – Nov 3)
Translate your training block into a marathon PR!
Do you have what it takes to complete all three Challenges in the Marathon Training Series? Join all three Challenges today (half marathon, long run and marathon), and get yourself out there. You’ve got some running to do…