2019 Athlete of the Year: Lea Davison
Lea Davison is back, and you should keep an eye on this racing veteran and Olympian as she hustles for a spot at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Lea Davison, Arlington, Vt.
In the past two years, it may have seemed like Lea Davison, 36, was chasing shadows. She was racing in the shadow of Kate Courtney, who at 22 won the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland—the same place where Davison earned the silver in the Worlds in 2016—her second World Championship medal.
At the 2019 Worlds in Mont St. Anne, Q.C., Courtney earned a fifth and Davison an 11th. By finishing in the top 8, Courtney has secured a spot in the 2022 Olympics, Davison—a two-time Olympian—is still having to fight for hers. And she’s had to do so without the support of her long-time sponsor, Specialized, which dropped her in 2017.
In some ways, Davison has also had to chase her own shadow, the long one she has cast as the leading lady of cross-country mountain biking and a contender, finishing 11th and seventh, respectively, at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
But with the 2020 Olympics coming up in Tokyo this summer, Davison is back. She’s now riding for Felt bikes as part of USA Cycling’s World Cup team and Sho-Air TWENTY20 team for domestic races. She’s also supported by Louis Garneau and is a brand ambassador for L.L. Bean.
Recently, she cut her hair, threw out her old bike kits, rebooted and changed up her training program and reset her energy. She began working full time with a nutritionist and strength trainer and filling in her winter fitness with Nordic skiing (Davison competed in Nordic at Middlebury College). And supporting her along the way was her wife, Frazier Blair, a senior VP at Orvis, who had competed as a ski racer at Williams College.
The two were married last summer in the Northeast Kingdom, wearing identical white kits made for them by sponsor Louis Garneau and spent Christmas vacation in Norway, cross-country skiing, part of what Davison has posted is her “Race Burnout Prevention Recipe.”
Then, it’s back to the grind and getting ready for the last Olympic qualifier: the World Cup opener in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic in May where the top 8 will secure Olympic spots. Davison will be there, fighting it out with Courtney and fellow U.S. teammates Erin Huck and Chloe Woodruff for what may be just two remaining spots.