A year ago, Lea Davison (Specialized) won her first elite women's cross country title at the US Mountain Bike National Championships. She repeated that feat again this weekend, but only after missing the first half of this season due to hip surgery and rehabilitation.
"This win means so much because I was in the pool getting my range of motion back while all the other girls were training," said Davison of her spring time. "I started back to racing in Missoula [one month ago], but I've been training like mad."
Prior to the 2012 London Olympic Games, in which Davison competed, she had the same hip injury, surgery and rehabilitation on her other side in 2010. She thought she'd put the experience of having a torn labrum behind her and was disappointed to discover in January that she'd have to go through the same process all over again on her other side in 2014.
Davison battled former US cross country national champion Georgia Gould (Luna) on Saturday at Bear Creek Resort in Pennsylvania. It wasn't until the final half lap that Davison was able to get a gap on the last steep grassy climb on an otherwise rocky course. She rode on to victory which proved her comeback was complete.
"Going into the race, I was a wild card, even for myself. I didn't know how I would perform. I just started feeling good in the nick of time this week, so I had a little bit of confidence, but it was definitely a question mark. I still wanted to win, but I'm just happy to be back racing."
After her cross country win on Saturday, Davison followed up on Sunday with a third place. It wasn't enough to defend her 2013 short track national title, but it was still a good showing.
"I felt pretty good. I felt solid. I had some pretty good legs out there," said Davison, who said she made a mistake in thinking officials would call three to go, but found herself too far back when the started the countdown with two laps to go.
"It was my bad - my positioning wasn't the best at the crucial time. Georgia and Chloe [Woodruff] were so strong," said Davison, who chased, but couldn't close the gap to them in time.
Davison will head next to her home Pro XCT round, the finals at the Catamount Classic in Vermont. She'll also race the next two World Cups in Mont-Sainte-Anne and Windham before heading to the Worlds in Norway.