October 3, 2023

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Halleluja, it's

Lea Davison ’05 announces retirement from World Cup mountain biking

5 min read

To say that Lea Davison ’05 has led an accomplished mountain biking job is an understatement.

The Middlebury alumna and Vermont indigenous introduced her formal retirement from the Environment Cup circuit on Feb. 22, but that doesn’t imply she’ll be strolling absent from the sport any time shortly. Now, she turns her interest to the Daily life Time Grand Prix, exactly where she will join 29 other elite feminine cyclists to compete in six of America’s most iconic biking races. 

Even with boasting an illustrious career in mountain biking spanning a lot more than 20 many years, cycling wasn’t generally in Davison’s blood. The two-time Olympian ran observe and downhill skied in significant school, catching the notice of a number of faculties prior to committing to run and ski at Middlebury. It was only in her junior 12 months of large university that Davison’s cycling occupation started.

“I was working track in the spring and a pal of mine explained, ‘Hey, you ought to attempt [cycling] out,’” Davison explained to The Campus. “I tried it and loved it right away. It was a perfect mixture of operating and snowboarding due to the fact it expected you to have an engine but also to have specialized dealing with qualities.” 

Davison in the beginning raced around her hometown of Jericho, Vermont, but quickly certified for bigger races on the nationwide junior level. Through her senior 12 months of higher college, Davison gained a race at Vermont’s Mt. Snow, earning her a bid to the junior entire world championships. 

“A consultant from Usa Biking arrived up to me and informed me I was going to the entire world championships,” Davison claimed. “I didn’t even know there was a world championship for mountain biking. I remember thinking, ‘What? You can make a dwelling out of this? Game on.’”



Even with her speedily establishing biking vocation, Davison pursued her managing and skiing occupations at Middlebury. She ran cross nation for the duration of her to start with yr, but made a decision to hold up her working shoes shortly soon after the period finished. 

On the ski slopes, Davison put 11th at the NCAA Championship as a rookie, just hundredths of a 2nd absent from All-American standing. She redshirted her sophomore 12 months thanks to a cruciate ligament tear, returning to ski race as a junior. 

“I was the captain of the crew my senior 12 months, but I hardly ever actually returned to that identical degree of snowboarding I experienced been at just before my personal injury,” Davison explained. “At the very same time however, I realized that cycling was starting off to truly work out.”

From there, Davison’s biking profession blossomed. Soon after a long time of tricky get the job done, having quite a few assertion wins together the way, Davison claimed her very first countrywide title in 2011. The pursuing 12 months, she became an Olympian. 

Though Davison hardly ever thought she would discover her way to the sports’ most significant phase on a bicycle, she had constantly dreamed of Olympic status. Rising up ski racing less than the mentorship of Barbara Ann Cochran, an Olympic gold medalist in 1972, Davison vyed to be an Olympian from a young age.

“I surely generally dreamt of going to the Olympics,” Davison recalled. “With that being said, it took numerous years of really hard do the job and was in no way a ensure. When I lastly walked into that stadium in London, it was a aspiration coming correct.”

Regardless of her 11th position complete in London and seventh spot end in Rio, Davison highlights her crowning achievement as her restoration from hip surgery in 2014. Leaving the medical center in February, she skipped the start out of the season in March and produced her return in mid-June, just a thirty day period right before the U.S. national championship. 

“At the start out of the period, anyone else was heading out for four hour teaching rides,” Davison recalled with a laugh. “Meanwhile I was in my basement making an attempt to shift my leg.”

Inspite of acquiring only a single thirty day period on the bike below her belt because coming back again, Davison defended her countrywide championship title in July with a stunning victory. In August, she acquired a Environment Cup medal. By September, a entire world championship silver medal hung all around her neck. 

“It was a terrific testament to the price of determination. You’re going to operate into accidents, you are heading to have crashes, you’re likely to have decades with lousy benefits, but it is when you persevere and goal for your ambitions that you can find achievements.” 

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Now retired from the Globe Cup, Davison is turning her awareness to both of those the Lifestyle Time Grand Prix and to her public talking vocation. A staunch advocate for LGBTQ legal rights and gender equality in sports activities, Davison will be giving a TedX chat in Boston on May possibly 16 to celebrate 50 decades of Title IX. 

In addition to her public speaking, Davison also helps run the Small Bellas program with her sister, Sabre. The program, which is centered about mentoring youthful women through mountain biking, was began in 2007. Born from her sister’s senior project at Middlebury, the software begun with a singular method in Vermont but is now operating in 71 various locations this coming summertime. Davison hopes the system can educate younger girls to be self-confident in by themselves, and over all, to have enjoyable.

“It’s all about possessing entertaining. I have a declaring: ‘Happiness is fast.’ I truly imagine in that.”

Followers who desire to follow Davison in her pursuits on and off the bicycle can come across out a lot more on her Instagram, @leaeatsalot.

Charles Crounse

Charles Crounse ’24 is a sporting activities editor. 

He writes principally for the sporting activities area, contributing both equally protection of crew performances as properly as feature content. This is his 2nd year producing for The Campus. Crounse is pursuing a double major in French and Environmental Research with a concentration in environmental plan. He is also a writer and editor for Middlebury Geographic, the school’s main travel magazine, and is a presenter for the Language in Movement method. In his absolutely free time, Crounse enjoys reading, crafting, and currently being outside. 

He is also a member of the men’s crew group and competes with them during the tumble and spring seasons.