The resulting speed pushed Wester far past the current
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As mountain biker Lea Davison prepares for her second Olympics, two things give her peace of mind. First, this isnt her first rodeo, er, singletrack. As a wide-eyed newbie in London four years ago, the Jericho, Vermont native never expected to medal and was happy with her 11th-place finish. Now, with a silver medal from this months UCI 2016 Mountain Bike World Championships in the Czech Republic, shes feeling much more confident going into Rio.The second calming thought is knowing that no matter what happens at the Games in August, the 33-year-old already has an enormous fan base of 7- to 16-year-old girls -- girls whove learned mountain biking as part of the nonprofit Davison created called Little Bellas.It makes it easier to have this whole army of little girls who are just so excited that Im there. It really puts it in perspective, says Davison, who is the director and co-founder with younger sister, Sabra (who she lovingly calls Sabe), of the Little Bellas. Since its inception in 2007, the nonprofit has helped more than 2,000 girls across the country get on a bike.And those new bikers are unequivocal fans. One time, Davison recalls having a subpar finish in a team relay race, but the girls didnt care at all. Sabe was like, Lea, I was watching the live feed with our overnight campers and they were like, Wow, Leas in ninth! Just to hear they were so psyched means that results dont really matter. Its the fact that Im out there, doing this, and I have this opportunity to meet these little girls and have an impact. I would say that helps take the pressure off.Today, Little Bellas offers 24 non-competitive programs in eight states and sees about 500 girls, on average, a summer. The younger girls focus on getting comfortable on bikes over time and having fun on the trails. As the girls get older, they shift to more serious biking, with training in nutrition, maneuvering challenging terrain, and becoming a mentor and role model to others. Though Davison is a full-time athlete, she serves as a sounding board for executive director Sabe, helping to devise the curriculum and teaching the girls to ride.Her dedication to the Little Bellas has been no different this Olympic year. Though its definitely a balancing act, she admits, especially leading up to the world championships and Rio. I could be exhausted from a three-to-four-hour training ride, and feel like, Ugh, how am I going to go to the Little Bellas tonight? Ill eat lots of snacks and drag myself over. Once there, Im surrounded by so much energy that its never a problem. Im like, OK, here we go! Its really fun.Part of her own grueling training program includes motor pacing, which means drafting behind her coach of 11 years, Andy Bishop, on a motorized scooter. Well go out for two to three hours. Its really intense, but its really the best training, especially for Rio. Davison got to preview the fast and technical, mostly man-made mountain bike course in Rio during a two-day Olympic test event last October. Its very much a power course, she says of the race route that features rock gardens, drops, jumps, and significant climbs.Davison has also added more strength training in the gym than ever before. In the offseason, she lifted six times a week, focusing on activating her muscles with a level of instability, by doing exercises like single-leg moves on a Bosu ball. The goal: to force muscles to find balance, which is crucial when shes out on the trail. Harnessing this kind of strength has been a huge part of her Rio build up.Despite the tight schedule and the stress of the upcoming Games, she swears its all worth it. Helping a little girl develop confidence is motivating to me. That helps me balance it all. Also, my sister and I started this program, so its our baby. Were extremely invested in it. And, really, I wouldnt be able to do this without Sabe -- she runs the show and creates this platform for me to make an impact. She adds, Theres a village behind every Olympian. Sabe is the mayor of that village [for me].Davison will compete in Rio on Aug. 20, and with two world championship medals (a bronze in 2014 and the most recent silver), she could end up on the Olympic podium as well. And you better believe the Little Bellas will be tuning in to cheer her on. Were planning a viewing party at this local college where the auditorium seats 100. Were a little worried it wont fit everyone. Were also having a Little Bellas send-off at the airport when I leave for Rio, says Davison, who will also have a welcome home party when she returns -- with or without a medal. Mark Recchi Jersey. Having already announced that the race will start May 9 with three stages in Northern Ireland and Ireland and finish in Trieste on June 1, the rest of the route was unveiled Monday. 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Last week, the world record for fastest speed on a downhill skateboard was 81.17 mph, achieved by Canadian Mischo Erban in 2012. But a lot can change in a week.On Tues., Aug. 29, Santa Cruz-sponsored downhill skateboarder Kyle Wester built up a new board, changed out his wheels and bearings, and pushed off from a top a steep descent at an undisclosed location in the U.S.The resulting speed pushed Wester far past the current world record to 89.41 MPH.Although Guinness World Records has not approved Westers accomplishment yet, Westers spoonsor, Santa Cruz Skateboards, has verified that the paperwork is in the process.ddddddddddddIts the record in the skate community right now, but will take 4 to 6 weeks for the paperwork to process, said Santa Cruz brand manager Andrew Cannon.And hes not done yet.My goal is to be the fastest in the world, says Wester. This is just the beginning.Follow along with Westers latest downhill exploits on Instagram. 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