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MTB Skills Coach, Gravity, DH & Enduro
Santa Ana, California, USA
163cm / 5'4"
Ninja Cougar to lower A-line: Whistler BC
Leigh Donovan was invited to a mountain bike race in 1992 while attending her second year of college. To her surprise, her 8 years of BMX racing skills transferred nicely and she fell in love with the entire experience. She went on to win the first ESPN X-Games in 1995, the UCI Downhill World Championships in 1995 and 2-US titles that year. In 2001, she retired with a World Cup title and walked away from full-time racing. By 2009, she was missing her friends (or as she called it, having a mid-life crisis) and signed up to race the Dual Slalom at Crankworx Whistler. She fell back in love with racing and came out of retirement for the 2010 season with a goal to compete at the worlds in Quebec (where she ended up placing 8th). This journey of racing helped Leigh reacquaint herself with the bike industry and by 2011 she was fully committed to bikes. In 2013, Leigh decided to focus on Mountain Bike education and launched ichoosebikes.com with a goal to get more women on bikes. Today ichoosebikes welcomes everyone and she loves helping riders find their best on their bike. 2020 marked her 20th anniversary to her former mechanic Stikman and together they have a teenage daughter; Grace, whom Leigh says is her greatest life bonus to date.