Lesley Paterson, aged 32, is a self labeled, “failed triathlete” who owns a film production company out in California, along with a mountain bike coaching firm patriotically labeled Braveheart Coaching. Lesley spends her days rubbing shoulders with the likes of Morgan Freeman and Johnny Depp, working out in the California mountains, co-ordinating her business activity and has recently added professional mountain biker to her lengthy to-do-list.
“Managing time is tough but I seem to do better with mental stimulus and keeping myself busy with things to do. I have a bunch of funny stories, like training all morning and then going to big time movie sets and meeting famous movie stars with my sticky, sweaty cycling kit still on.”
Born and raised in Bridge of Allan, near Stirling, Lesley grew up immersed in sport. Triathlon was the main focus in her teenage years and she went on a personal mission to make the Commonwealth Games Scotland team in 2002, but rapidly fell out of favour with the sport when she was not selected.
“I became disillusioned with the sport when I didn’t make the team and decided to move to San Diego to study”, Lesley said. “I spent a few years filmmaking and did a whole load of weird and wonderful things which rejuvenated my passion for life really. I’m a really driven person and I channeled that through endurance sports for a while. When I got that passion back I started running, and was just doing it for myself.”
“It use to be that during a triathlon race, I would always loose time on the bike and make it up on the run, so three years ago I got into mountain biking. Then all of a sudden I won quite a few big races and I was like ‘Oh wow I can actually ride a bike!'”
Lesley’s next step on her mountain bike journey took place when she entered a UCI National Series event in her home state of California: “I actually ran before the race. I definitely didn’t realise the enormity of the event and when I arrived all these big name Olympians were there and I was like oh my gosh I’m going to thrashed.”
“I had to start at the very back because I didn’t have any UCI points, but throughout the race I picked them off one by one and managed to bridge the gap to the leaders and ended up winning by 20 seconds. Everybody was like ‘who the hell is this girl?'”
After failing to make the Commonwealth Games in triathlon, Lesley has since managed to turn her weakness into her strength and will hopefully assuage her disappointment next summer, as a serious contender for a starting place in the cross-country mountain biking at Cathkin Braes.
“If I had to summarise my sporting career so far, I would say that I became disillusioned with triathlon and then rediscovered sport which was a spring board into mountain biking.”
Last weekend, Lesley successfully defended her Xterra US National Title. Xterra is an off-road version of triathlon and she will go into the Xterra World Championships next month knowing she is in contention for a place in the Team Scotland Mountain Bike squad for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
You can follow Lesley on Twitter @lesleydoestri
Photo Credit: Lesley Ann-Webster