Athlete Profile - Lisa Leonard

Lisa Leonard, The Dirt Unit

Athlete: Lisa Leonard

Lives City/State: Las Vegas, NV

Go to Orange Mud Gear: Endurance Pack 2L

Primary Sport: Mountain Biking

What sports do you participate in?

My main sport is Mountain Biking. I have been racing solely MTB since 2017. Before that I raced on and off-road triathlon since 2008. I also love trail running, snow boarding and yoga

What is your favorite race food?

I have a pretty dialed in race nutrition, so I race MTB almost solely on GU energy gels. If it’s a longer event, I do love to add in salted potato chips and a coke! On one race, they had margarita’s at the finish line and that wasn’t terrible. 

What is your go to hydration mix?

I’ve recently switched to GU hydration and I’m trying to figure out my fave!

Do you have a major quirk you’d like to share?

I’m fairly superstitious, like one time I drank a coke the night before a race and won that race, so then for every race for the following 3 years I would drink a coke the night before..

If you were relate to an animal, what would it be?

Probably my dog Freddie. He’s a border collie/lab and he just LOVES the trail. He also will go forever. He might have a short break but then he’ll go again. He’s also a bit daft...

If a newbie to your sport asked for one piece of advice, what would it be?

Remember to have fun. Mountain biking can be intimidating if you think of it that way. Mountain biking is an incredible sport that takes you to the most beautiful and remote places, take the time to have fun and acknowledge the awesomeness of it all.

Do you have any racing pet peeves? (Gel packets, mud, thorns, smelly runners, etc).

Littering for sure! Or racers who race with a sense of entitlement. We are all in this together, be kind and try not to be a d***.

What do you do for fun?

I love to sing and play piano, music is my zen.

What is your post race ritual?

Post race is tough. I try and wait to get hungry and then I eat. I’ve had trouble eating too soon and getting ill. Post race is all about food!

How long have you been running or riding?

I mean I started running probably around 2 years old… haha, for real though I started running to get in shape in 2006 or 2007. I was terrible. I couldn’t run for 10 minutes without stopping but I enjoyed it. I finally increased my running time to 20 minutes and promptly signed up for a marathon. Such a fool. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years but I’ve learned a lot and met the best people along the way. Now I run for fun, sometimes even with my dogs and boyfriend :)

Why do you enjoy the sport? 

Mountain biking is challenging technically and physically but I get to train and race on the trail which I love. The trails feel like home to me.

What's your favorite trail race?

Last year I raced in the Breck Epic in Colorado and I think that may have been my favorite race.

What's your favorite local trail?

Tough one. I love the Deadhorse loop as the climb is long, the views are awesome and the descent keeps you grinning ear to ear.

What's your go to piece of Orange Mud gear and why?

Well my Endurance Pack is my favorite. The elasticity of the pack means I can pack it full or keep it light and its not flappy. The separate compartments keep my repair tools and snacks separate. Plus I keep my phone in the front pocket, upside down and play music...I know that’s not what the pocket was designed for but I love it!

Profession and educational background?

I am a Pediatric Physical Therapist working with infants aged 0-3 years, and also as a regular Physical Therapist with adults with intellectual disabilities in institutionalized living.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport? 

Gaining my professional license may be my biggest accomplishment on paper, but Breck Epic was probably my biggest accomplishment. In a former life, I raced all over the world with triathlon on the age-group Great Britain squad and even one Silver Medal at the European Championships which my Mum was there to watch so that was special.

Do you have a set training schedule and if so, what's it like?

If not, how do you decide what to do? I have a chaotic schedule right now. Because I have a flexible work routine it makes it challenging to set a schedule. I work with Lynda Wallenfals and try to get my key workouts in. Sometimes they’re  not on the right days but I make it work.

What's your dream race? 

The Olympics. For sure. Second place would be Cape Epic. I’d love to race that with my training partner Jake Billings, so if anyone wants to sponsor us, hit me up :)

Favorite book for athletes?

The ‘Art of Racing in the Rain’. So, I didn’t realise this book had nothing to do with athletics, but it is a wonderful book with so many relevant lessons for MTB. I also LOVE CHrissie Wellington’s book ‘A Life without Limits’

Do you listen to audiobooks or music during exercise?

Depends, usually music, but if it’s a grind, like long endurance stuff, I love podcasts and audiobooks.

What advice would you give to a new runner coming into the sport? 

Pace yourself.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Knowing that I haven’t come close to my limits keeps me pushing and striving for more. I’m inspired by kind, driven people who are badass and I’ve been lucky to meet so many passionate, driven people who inspire me every day. There’s this one guy Josh Sprague who is the most hardworking, kind, driven guy and he inspires me to be a better person all the time.

Have you struggled with any injuries? How do you manage them? 

*Touchwood* not recently.

Anything else you’d like to share? 

I’m sure there’s plenty

What was the best advice you were ever given? 

’You can’t get faster if you’re injured.’ ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’

What is your favorite local running or biking store?

I go to Las Vegas Cyclery on Town Centre/215. 

Social Links

IG: @thisdirtlife

Facebook: This Dirt Life with Lisa Leonard

Twitter: @thisdirtlife