By Robin Alberti
The Mountain Times had the opportunity to speak with an up and coming talent on the MAXXIS Eastern States Cup Women’s Intense Downhill Amateur circuit, 15-year-old Lenci Bogdan. She will be a sophomore at Killington Mountain School (KMS) this fall, and won her first three races ever this year. Though currently sidelined with a wrist injury, she is eagerly looking forward to being cleared to race again.
Mountain Times: How long have you attended KMS?
Lenci Bogdan: I have been a student at KMS since November 2020, but I attended the KMS Alpine boost program in December of 2019, when I was just in 8th grade.
MT: What made you decide to move from New York to attend school in Vermont?
LB: I’ve always gone to Vermont since I was a baby and have always had an interest in KMS, so when I started to pursue Alpine skiing, I figured I would get more opportunities in the future living in Vermont.
MT: What do you like best about KMS?
LB: KMS, overall, is incredibly different from my school in New York. My favorite thing about KMS is how the school is based on athletics that my old school did not have. The small number of kids in each class makes it easier to learn efficiently.
MT: You started attending KMS for skiing, correct? What made you decide to compete in mountain biking?
LB: Yes, I did start KMS for skiing. It was a mix of just wanting to try competing in mountain biking and seeing how it would go, and seeing the low number of girls that mountain bike.
MT: How long have you been riding downhill MTB?
LB: I have been downhill mountain biking for around four years, but I recently, just last summer, started doing harder, technical trails at Killington.
MT: What do you like best about it?
LB: Simply put, my favorite thing about mountain biking is the ability to go fast and scare myself.
MT: What scares you the most? LB: What scares me the most is that I will end up getting an injury that isn’t as easy to recover from as my current and previous injuries.
MT: You won your first three races your first season competing, that’s awesome. Then you got injured. Can you tell us about that?
LB: Yes, I had recently broken my wrist on the Killington trail Sideshow Bob. It should, hopefully, be a relatively quick healing timeframe, so as soon as possible I can get back to racing. I honestly am not 100% sure how the crash had happened, just that it was quick and ended with a broken bike, wrist, and a ton of bruises.
MT: How long are you out for?
LB: It has already been over two weeks since the crash, so I should only be out for an additional two weeks, but I will be mountain biking in a brace for the majority if not the whole rest of the season.
MT: Do you think that injury will affect how you ride?
LB: I can say that the injury will affect how I ride. I can’t confidently say whether or not it will be because of my time off the bike or if I will ride more conservatively now that I have gotten an actual injury.
MT: What is your approach to races?
LB: Though I have raced skiing I still am figuring out what works best for me for mountain biking. I am sure I will find a certain approach through experience, but currently I just try and remain as calm as I can, visualize the course, and, if need be, pretend a shark (yes on land) is chasing me, or someone is kidnapping my dog.
MT: What are your goals for downhill MTB?
LB: As for my goals for downhill mountain biking, I want to be able to succeed and continue to get on the podium and go up to the more competitive category for women.