What’s Left On Mountain Biker Lea Davison’s Bucket List?

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 4:04 AM

The 32-year-old mountain biker has competed in an Olympic Games (finishing eleventh at the two thousand twelve London Games). She's won a medal at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships (bronze in two thousand-fourteenth).

What’s Left On Mountain Biker Lea Davison’s Bucket List?

Lea Davison has already checked off at minimum three items on her bucket list.

The 32-year-old mountain biker has competed in an Olympic Games (finishing eleventh at the two thousand twelve London Games).

She's won a medal at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships (bronze in two thousand-fourteenth).

And she’s been to a Beyoncé concert.

But why stop there?

Back in VT this winter, Davison sat down with TeamUSA. org to speak about latest season and — with her typical enthusiasm and zest for challenges — the bucket list items she hopes to check off this coming season.

For the past half decade, Davison has regularly finished in the top ten in world cup races. Then latest July, she earned her first world cup medal, finishing second in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. It was the best world cup finish for a Team UNITED STATES OF AMERICA rider in five years. And it was Davison’s best-ever world cup finish.

Presently the Team Specialized rider has her sights set on the podium’s top spot. Number American has won a world cup cross-country race since two-time Olympian Alison Dunlap won two in two thousand-second.

“On a excellent day, they can be beat,” said Davison, referring to world cup overall winner Jolanda Neff from Switzerland and reigning world winner Pauline Ferrand-Prévot from France. “I’ve beaten Jolanda and Prévot before. It just takes a excellent day. And hard work.”

For inspiration, Davison looks to the U. S. women’s cross-country ski team, particularly fellow Vermonter Sophie Caldwell, who won her first world cup race in January.

“Their performances are inspiring because I perceive love they've bigger mental barriers to winning because Norway is so dominant and has so many resources,” Davison said. “To overcome that and obtain medals and win, I think it’s a lot more than I've to overcome mentally. To look them do that, it’s very inspiring. If they can do it, I can do it.”

Then she added, “If Sophie from VT can do it, I can do it.”

The UCI world cup tour kicks off this weekend in Cairns, Australia, then moves to Europe in May. A top-three finish in one of the Europe world cups will qualify Davison — or any American mountain biker — for the Rio two thousand sixteen Olympic Games, though only one U. S. athlete can qualify this way.

In every cycling discipline — road, mountain bike, track and BMX — the UCI presents the world winner with what’s called the rainbow jersey. It’s a white jersey with the rainbow color spectrum striped across the chest and arm cuffs.

Number American mountain biker has won a rainbow jersey since Dunlap claimed an emotional world title in two thousand-first — five days after nine/11.

Davison would love to add a rainbow jersey to her wardrobe.

At two thousand-fourteenth world championships, she came close, winning a bronze medal — forty-three seconds behind winner Catharine Pendrel from Canada.

Latest year, at two thousand-fifteenth worlds in Andorra, Davison moved into the lead on the first climb, and she wasn’t even trying.

“I was going up the first climb thinking, ‘I’m going to win world champs today,’” she remembered.

Then in the first technical section, she crashed hard, nailing her knee on a rock and falling down an embankment. By the time she scrambled back onto the racecourse, she was at least forty-five seconds behind the leaders.

Knocked off her bike and off her rhythm, Davison continued to crash on the cold, moist course. At one point, she even fell into a grouping of spectators who lifted her back onto the course.

“I crashed more in that single race than I'd all season combined,” she said.

She was pleased to salvage tenth space — five places lower than she needed to automatically qualify for the Rio Games.

“That was a disappointment, but I think of it as, well, I can win world championships for five minutes, and we nailed the peak for an event,” she said.

The two thousand sixteen UCI Mountain Bike World Championships will be held in the Czech Republic from June 28-July 3.

At the top of Davison’s bucket list is to win an Olympic medal in Rio in August.

Love London, the Rio Olympic mountain biking course is manmade, with a sidewalk-like surface punctuated by rocky technical sections. The only disagreement is the quantity of climbing. Unlike London’s rolling racecourse, Rio’s course climbs a real mountain.

“It’s a really quick course, it’s a power course,” explained Davison, who rode the Rio test event in October. “It’s love a sidewalk going a million miles an hr into these rock gardens. You’re like, ‘Hang on!’”

But the course suits her.

And Davison is stronger than ever.

“Just her quad size has changed, honestly,” said younger sister Sabra, who could be Lea’s twin. “Her strength map has gotten more refined and more challenging. Her early season results are better. She’s never been within striking distance this time of the year.”

Lea finished fourth in an early season U. S. Cup race in CA in March.

She frequently trains with Sabra, a competitive cross-country skier and mountain biker who presently runs Small Bellas, all girls’ mountain biking programs that the sisters began in two thousand-seventh.

“We have a classic sibling rivalry. There’s number one that I wish more to win or to beat,” said Lea with a laugh. “She pushes me.”

But it’s been Lea who’s presently pushing Sabra harder than ever. Sabra used to challenge Lea on the flat sections of training rides. Presently Lea has evened out her weaknesses.

When doing intervals, the sisters deal a time handicap. For instance, Lea will give Sabra a thirty-second lead.

“The times have gone up that I necessity to be her carrot in training,” said Sabra. “It’s beautiful interesting. Latest year, we were even. This year, I necessity to be 30 seconds in front of her to be her carrot. There are positive measures that you can tell. It’s awesome.”

In two thousand-fourteenth, after Davison won a bronze medal at world championships, she attended a Beyoncé concert in Paris and checked it off her bucket list.

Asked what’s on her list now, Davison thought for a minute, then laughed.

“The following thing on the bucket list is to be Beyoncé’s backup dancer,” she said, still laughing. “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to check that one off.”



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