My Journey to Juliana

March 10 — 2015 | Santa Cruz, CA

Sarah Leishman tells her Juliana story

It’s funny how things in life can take a hard left turn and take you light years from where you started.  That’s kind of what happened for me in 2014, including the journey of becoming tight with Juliana Bicycles. I have come from great sponsors in the past, many of whom I credit for the fortune I’ve had on a bike.  When the conversations began about riding a Roubion in 2015, all of the ideas that were thrown around sounded impossible and too good to be true.

I was in a bit of a rut before I began talking to Anka and the Juliana crew at Crankworx last summer. I had ended my season early by breaking my wrist in the Whistler Bike Park. The crash that caused my injury was truly a long time coming for me – I was tired, I was grumpy, and there’s a good chance I wasn’t all that fun to be around…for anyone. My personal life was kind of…forgettable…and I had lost sight of what I was doing on my bike in the first place. When Anka and Elayna from SRAM (who, by the way, is both an incredible human and a visionary for women in the sport – look her up) pulled me aside to talk about doing cool stuff together, it was the first time in months that I felt like the power was back in my hands to do what I really wanted to do: ride my bike with great people, try really hard at what I love to do and do cool sh*t. Always.

For a few months, ideas were passed around and hundreds of emails were exchanged.  Anka, Kelli and I found our way to Santa Cruz in December of 2014 for the first time. I was still a bit of a hot mess in those first days together – I had only been back on my bike for a couple of months, and I was just starting to offset the effects of “making the most” of a less-than-stellar summer of 2014. I was worried about how I’d feel on a new team – with a new bike and a totally new crew of people. The brand I’d come from had been super-supportive and almost like family to me over the years – it had just become time to part ways. Could this even pale in comparison to where I came from?

I’ve since told this story to my closest friends, so it feels now like I say it the same way every time. As soon as I walked in the doors of the Santa Cruz factory with Anka, Kelli and our team managers Katie and Allan, I knew I was in the right place. I joke a lot that Anka and Kelli are the best teammates I could have asked for because I’d hang out with them for free any day - and it’s totally true. I’d pick those two girls out of a crowd to hang out with over and over again. I learn from them both when we ride together, we laugh at stupid jokes together and we share a lot of ideas and philosophies about what makes the world so crazy and amazing, and what makes our sport so damn cool.

I’d definitely call myself a downhiller by design – I came from ski racing and snowboardcross coaching, and then moved to Whistler to be a Whistler Mountain Bike Park rat with my buddies. I’m so fired up about the opportunity to spend my time on the Roubion and race some Enduro World Series events for the next two years. My plan is to tell the stories about the people I meet, the things I see and what I learn along the way (there’s sure to be a lot of learning on the way). I’m really lucky to be in the best possible company to do that with. See you at round 1 in NZ! 

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