In this second installment of the Rider Profile series, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce everyone to Leslie. Some of you may know her from the Dartmouth Cycling Team or from seeing her out on the road. Leslie has been writing some articles for the newsletter and I thought this would be a great way to give you a little background on her. Hope you enjoy.
What do you do for work?
I’m fourth-year PhD student at Dartmouth College. I work in a lab that studies cancer metabolism.
How long have you been riding?
Around 5 years, I guess. I played basketball through college, moved to Boston, worked as a research tech at MIT…and, though I had dabbled with triathlon before, it was really there that I picked up the bike and fell in love with it. I never would have imagined it. But, I started at Dartmouth the next year, and have been enjoying it ever since.
Name 3 things that most people don’t know about you.
I grew up on a small farm, and showed sheep for most of my life. I do NOT like shopping, but can spend countless hours in a good grocery store or card shop. I’m a big fan of sunglasses and big pom pom hats.
Do you remember your first bike?
Yes! I got it for my birthday, and it was a pink Barbie bike with white wheels. I think that the hope was that if I had my own bike, I might stop stealing my brother’s. But I’m not sure that it worked. I’ve always had a thing for black bikes…and Ninja Turtles.
What are you currently riding?
Do you have a favorite race?
My favorite race from last year was the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic. I also marshalled at the Overland Grand Prix, and would LOVE to do that this summer. And, basically any race that has Richard Fries announcing at it is a great one.
Favorite band or musician?
Brandi Carlile and Eminem. They’re practically the same.
What do you do for training?
I ride. On the bike, I follow a periodized training plan. I started doing a lifting program this year, and that’s been quite a bit of fun. I do yoga a couple of times a week. I’m lazy; sleep a lot; try not to take myself too seriously. I live down the street from the shop. Hmmm – that might actually be the best training decision that I’ve ever made.
What does your schedule look like this year?
I started training for the road season at the beginning of November. Took a couple of training trips, one to North Carolina, and another to California, and now have about a month before the collegiate race season will start. That will run March through May capping off with Nationals. I’m hoping to be at the top of my game there, then take a little bit of time off before jumping into the summer road season.
Besides riding, what do you enjoy doing?
I think that most people who know me would say that my life outside of cycling is pretty boring. I read. I enjoy spending time with my friends. I listen to a lot of music…sing and dance around quite a bit…which is kind of unfortunate, because I am not particularly good at either of these things.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of riding and racing?
There’s a lot to get lost in. You have your hopes, dreams, fears, doubts, insecurities there inside you; all of the external factors that could influence what you’re doing, or distract you from your goal. And I think that it’s hard…really hard, to let everything and everyone “into the room,” and among that chaos, still focus on the task at hand.
It’s not easy. But, if you can do it – if you can let go, and put certain things aside – you give yourself the chance to perform your best, and really see what you can do.
What’s your favorite part of riding?
Let’s see…I love the exhilaration that comes with exploding away from a group, whether it be for a finish, or just some random town line. I love the moments when you’re climbing up a hill and, all of a sudden, you feel like you’re flying. I love the times when your mind goes blank, you breathe deep, and cannot help but wonder if it’s possible to feel any more alive. I love that the sport is so full of challenge…that there are SO many times when you think that you cannot possibly do it. You CAN’T go any further or faster or harder, and then you do. I consider myself to be extraordinarily lucky. I’m “living the dream” at the same time that I’m fighting for it. And, I guess that that’s the best part for me— REALLY investing myself; striving for something that I consider to be great; taking some big risks – and knowing that I’m not doing it alone. I’ve got some of the best people in the world around me. And, though I hope that it’s only up from here, to some extent I cannot help but think that this is as good as it gets.