LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - While most cyclists ride their entire lives, Leah Thorvilson is the exception.
“One girl has been racing since she was 6. I started when I was 36,” Thorvilson said.
Thorvilson began riding about a year and a half ago, and is already competing on the international stage. She just came back from competing in Europe, where she partook in three big races.
One of those races was the women’s event associated with the Tour de France. The event was called La Course and spans 45 miles.
“It’s unbelievable to think I’m here at the Tour De France," she said. "What am I doing here, this is crazy.”
Thorvilson was a marathon runner before she began cycling. She ran over 40 marathons, and took first place in a majority of them.
“If you look back at all her marathon trophies she was an outstanding athlete and won multiple marathons around the country. She’s got that motor and the will to compete. It’s just changing over to a different sport,” said Andy Nelson, Thorvilson's boyfriend.
Thorvilson said the running took a toll on her knees, and she needed to have four surgeries in the span of three years. She said she has learned to love cycling just as much as running.
Thorvilson competed along side nearly 120 riders at La Course, but is unsure of what place she took. She said the course was really tough and offered her a big challenge.
“I’m not very good at descending, and in a race it’s very scary,” she said. “I had a max speed of 50 miles per hour and I got dropped, left behind going 50.”
Although she did not ending up placing in the race, she said she is still grateful for the experience.
“Even though it was really tough..I just really enjoyed the experience.”