Name: Leslie Lupien
Hometown: Pomfret, CT / Enfield, NH
Discipline (Road, CX, BMX, etc.): Road, cyclocross, for-fun mountain biking
Bike(s): Scott Addict road and cyclocross bikes. Scott Spark FS mountain bike
How'd you get into cycling?
I played basketball through college and originally purchased a road bike to participate in a charity ride and try my hand at triathlons. I pedaled around on my own for a while, but didn’t really get into the sport until I moved to Boston, and by some stroke of luck, found myself in the midst of the (then powerhouse) MIT Cycling team. I fell in love with the road and the people around me, had a coach say a couple of things that got me dreaming, and that was it. I was hooked and started racing the next year when I began my PhD program at Dartmouth.
How do you organize your life around it?
(If my boss is reading this, I DON’T plan my life around cycling. In fact, ALL of the bikes in my apartment are purely ornamental) The true answer: I love to ride and race, and am uniquely fortunate to have a lot of friends and friends-turned-family that seem to be on the same wavelength. So, I plan my research in the lab around my race and travel schedule. And, I tend to make the most of my holidays, weekends, and vacations in the winter…in that they nearly all wind up having a training-in-a-warmer climate component.
Favorite place you've ridden?
I absolutely loved riding in the Dolomites and up some of the mountains in the Interlaken area of Switzerland. The sights were truly breathtaking, and I cannot even begin to express how incredible it was to so slowly ascend up and through herds of cows as the bells around each of their necks created this almost magical orchestra of sound.
Place you'd like to ride?
Mountain bike in the Dolomites; go out West to Tahoe, Moab.
I follow a lot of racers both on the National and World stages. And, I find it pretty difficult to not be continuously impressed by the near-constant display of almost superhuman strength, smarts and strategy (that turn a race into a chess match). But, if we’re going to talk about true heroes, the first people that come to my mind are Lea and Sabra Davison. To be such amazing athletes and to share the sport you love SO passionately in a way that empowers and inspires young girls…I can’t imagine doing anything better than that. It’s individuals like Lea and Sabra (and all the Little Bellas volunteers) – the people that are able to use their bikes as a platform to make the world and those around them a little better—who are the real heroes to me.
Goals for riding in the future?
Making the final push to finish my PhD really took a toll on my road season this year. So, I ended up shifting my focus toward cyclocross. I’m still pretty new to it, but looking forward to seeing what I can do within the women’s elite field. Then it’s going to be a bit of time off and some really solid training before trying to put my best foot forward with the women of Green Line Velo next spring.
Favorite Velocio pieces?
I always struggle to answer this question. Living in Northern New Hampshire, I cannot help but appreciate the incredible versatility of the ES Jacket and the Wind Vest. But, if we’re basing favorite off of usage, I would have to say the Signature Fly Bib Shorts. I truly believe that they are the best in the market with respect to style, fit, and durability. They’re great for rides of all lengths and terrains. And, I basically refuse to wear anything else on my longer, more grueling days in the saddle, as their comfort is unparalleled by any other brand of bib that I’ve tried.
Best riding story:
Cycling came into my purview during the “Lance Armstrong, American Hero” era. I can remember watching a stage of the Tour de France and thinking to myself, “Oh, I want to do THAT! And, I want to start today!” So, I threw on some sneakers and basketball shorts, tracked down a GT mountain bike that was hiding in my basement, and spent about an hour searching for a helmet and trying to figure out if/how I could possibly pump up the tires. So close and yet so far! I ended up walking over to one of my handy neighbors, let him know that he was inflating my dreams, and then rode down the street. I was doing it, and yet, IT WAS REALLY DIFFICULT. I trudged along, feeling as if I was making very little forward progress, until eventually calling a stop sign my turn-around point and heading home. My Mom later clocked the distance. As it turns out, that sign was a half a mile away. It took a solid five years before I really got into riding, but I guess we all have to start somewhere.