One would be hard-pressed to identify an individual better qualified for In the Arena's programs than Lea. One could safely say she has the Midas Touch: everything she touches turns to gold whether it's her undefeated high school cross-country season, her collegiate skiing and road cycling titles, her sparkling mountain biking career, or importantly, her Little Bellas program. This last, a social entrepreneurial venture co-launched by Lea and her sister Sabra, will be the focus of Lea's youth development work. As such, she and Sabra will continue to develop the valuable and meaningful mountain bike mentoring program for young girls in Northern New England and nationwide. For more information on the Little Bellas, please visit the organization's website: www.littlebellas.com
|Years Racing||10/8 Pro|
|Favorite Race||Mount Snow, VT|
|Nickname||LLC (there's a story behind it)|
|2-time World Championship team member, Mountain Biking|
|5-time National Champion, Mountain Biking|
|Eastern NCCA Road Champion, Cycling|
|Eastern Slalom Collegiate Champion, Skiing|
|Team Captain, Skiing|
|2-time VT State Champion, Cross-Country|
|Middlebury College, 2005|
A Dream Come TrueJune 22, 2012
I am going to the Olympics! I am beyond thrilled and it has been an amazing weekend. Luckily, Katie Holden, was there to capture it all. Above is a video that she created of the entire experience. Please excuse some of the choice excited words that were thrown out there in the moment.
The Olympic team was set to be announced on Friday, June 15th and I was waiting in high anticipation of this moment for a long time. I thought maybe I would get a phone call or an email, but I definitely knew that they were going to post the press release on the USA Cycling website. So, my parents were up at midnight browsing the website, and that's how the day began. I don't think I have ever pushed refresh on a website so many times. I don't think my family and friends have ever pushed refresh so many times. It was just refresh...wait ten minutes...refresh....refresh...refresh...and then, oh wait, refresh. We thought they would post it at various times, but there was really no rhyme or reason to it. It only took until 11 AM for my sister, Sabe, to have enough with the waiting and all of the nervous tension. She set out to get some answers and called USA Cycling directly herself. She befriended the receptionist, she called the director of communications, she called the director of communications' cell phone, and then finally went back to her friend at USA Cycling. She found out they were putting the final touches on the press release, but it turns out there were a lot of finishing touches.
I finally couldn't take it anymore and extracted myself from the house to push refresh on my cell phone in a different location. I followed JoJo and Katie to Sugarbush to wait around while they practiced some downhill runs before their race this Sunday. Sabe rode her bike over to meet us. Jojo and Katie made me wait the twenty minutes for them to take a downhill run to check so I would at least be around someone when I found out the news. Those were some of the longest twenty minute segments of my entire life. The entire afternoon passed with no word and we drove over Applacian Gap to head to a Little Bellas mentor gathering for burger night at a local farm.
The drive over App Gap has spotty service so we couldn't check. Then, Zeke, a Middlebury Ski Team friend who we haven't talked to in six years sent Sabe a text saying, 'Congraaats!'. I was driving, and Sabe and JoJo started frantically loading pages on their phones. Then, Jojo gasped, smiled, and said 'pull the car over'. In that moment, I knew I had made it. I was wearing a bikini (because we were possibly going to a swimming hole) and I pulled over on the side of the road. This is where the Olympic celebration started. I never pictured myself celebrating my Olympic berth on the side of the road in a bikini (slightly awkward). I was so happy to be surrounded by my favorite people and even more thrilled that I got to celebrate with my good friends from the Little Bellas, my coach, Andy Bishop, and his family, and, finally my family throughout the evening. The whole evening is captured above.
This is really a life long dream come true. It takes a village to get an athlete to the opportunity I found myself in now. There's truly a vast and deep support network behind every athlete and mine is no exception. There are so many people that helped make this dream come true, and I'm so grateful that I could celebrate this victory with some of the big players on Friday night. This victory is also their victory. Thank you to my mom and dad, Sabe, and jojo for providing the biggest support and for being my loudest cheerleaders. Thank you to my coach, Andy Bishop, for constructing the path to this dream. Thank you to Bill Knowles and iSport for making me stronger post hip surgery than I have ever been. Thank you to everyone at Specialized for taking a chance and picking me up when I hadn't even raced for a season, fully supporting me, and making damn fast bikes. Thank you to In The Arena for helping me realize two dreams: getting more girls on bikes and going to the Olympics. There are so many more. Thank you.
Sabe said it perfectly during the celebration. In this overwhelming moment, I said "I don't even know what to do!"
Sabe replied, "Keep on the gas"
Exactly. We are halfway there.
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