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Q&A with Lea Davison

London you say? That’s right. A number of our very own Strava athletes are currently competing on the world’s biggest stage. You may recognize one of them from No One Everyone. Lea Davison will be competing in the Women’s MTN Bike race this coming Saturday, August 11. We caught up with her before she headed across the pond.

Strava: Best part about being in the Strava commercial?

LD: Having the opportunity to show a female ripping around on a mountain bike to a lot of people. Women riding bikes isn’t portrayed in the media that often and it’s great that an empowering, excellent commercial was seen everyday by people who watched the Tour. It’s amazing and a really exciting thing to be a part of.

Strava: What’s the biggest thing on your mind as you head off to London?

LD: The biggest thing on my mind is doing the best I can every day in the preparation time I have left to the Olympic race. This means sleeping well, training hard, and eating well. I am also soaking up and enjoying this entire experience. It’s absolutely incredible and a dream come true. I still have to pinch myself and say, ‘Is this really happening? I’m going to the Olympics.’

Strava: Riding at the highest level of the sport, do you have advice for Strava users and aspiring cyclists looking to improve?

LD: Get out there and train hard! It takes a lot of hard work to get to this level of cycling. Strava gives me the perfect tools to compare my times, see my improvement, and motivate me by competing with other Strava users. Strava is also a great way to track my training and progress.

Strava: What’s the hardest ride you’ve ridden in the past season? The most rewarding?

LD: Two rides come to my mind: I did a killer ride in Santa Cruz prepping for the spring world cup. It was a 3.5 hour ride with three  20-minute climbs at threshold. I was absolutely toasted, and I was able to do it solo (it’s the ride that you guys highlighted for my commercial that I titled Climb, Climb, Peanut Noodles, Climb). The second most rewarding and hardest training day was two days ago. I had a double workout. I did a 2-hour HARD motorpace with my coach in the morning, and our local Wednesday night mountain bike race series at Catamount Outdoor Family Center in the evening. The evening race is about an hour and I was unsure of how I was going to feel because the morning session was very taxing. I ended up feeling fantastic in both workouts and nearly winning the race against all the local boys. It was extremely rewarding because it gives me confidence that I’m right on track for the Olympics and all of my work is paying off.

Strava: What are some of the ways you’ve learned to keep yourself fresh, motivated, and having fun on the bike?

LD: For my approach, it’s really important that I spend time off the bike in the off season to keep it fresh. I spend the fall on Kauai surfing and hiking. I spend the winter in Vermont cross country skiing, which is an extremely important part of my training progression. Nordic skiing whips me into shape. During the race season, I keep it fresh by adding fun mountain bike rides into the mix. Mountain biking is so much fun. I also love to do workouts with my sister, Sabra. We are really competitive and she’s my carrot during hard intervals. I also have blocks of strength training during the season to mix it up and keep my power going.

Lightning Round!

Favorite race food?

LD: During the race, I take half caffeinated Clif Shots to keep me going. After the race, the food is way more exciting. I love to hit up the local specialties. My favorite so far were the Belgium waffles after the world cup in Houffalize, Belgium. I honestly ate eight waffles over the weekend. The boerwost rolls in South Africa were amazing, and the gelato and panna cotta in Italy was to die for.

First bike?

LD: The first bike that I can remember was a plastic three wheeler that my sister and I used to rip around the driveway on. My first real bike with gears was a Schwinn.

Dream ride?

LD: Riding all of the classic climbs in Europe; Italian Dolomites, Alps, Spain.

Best recovery method?

LD: Soaking the legs in a cold Vermont swimming hole.

Favorite Pro perk?

LD: Getting to ride my bike every day and traveling all over the world.

Best of luck in the race Lea! We’ll be cheering you on.