“No matter what level you’re on, the athletic experience moves you,” Slavin says. “The fight, the struggle, the victory… moments that are affirmations of life, of who we really are. I love the process of improvement. I’m living proof that you don’t have to come from a strong athletic background to become an athlete – you can transform yourself into whatever you want to be through hard work and perseverance.”
Laura Slavin grew up in the woods. Without any close neighbors or other children to play with, Laura spent much of her time exploring the 2,000+ Norvin Green acres that surrounded her childhood home solo. The close relationship she formed with nature in her early years helped foster a deep and lasting love of being outdoors that would fuel personal endeavors throughout her life – certainly playing a role in her rapid attachment to mountain biking.
Slavin spent her teenage years and early 20’s floating, attempting to discover something that would ignite her. When she went to college, she did so without any focus other than learning for the simple pleasure of learning. She felt that being exposed to a wide variety of subjects might help her determine what her life’s work should be.
The hook began to set when she took Anatomy & Physiology and Chemistry courses. Still unsure of a future career, she knew her profession would incorporate these subjects, and she studied them with a ferocity she had never put into anything before. Along the way to a science-based degree, she received many academic accolades, including a place in Phi Theta Kappa’s honor society, many semesters on the Dean’s List, and graduating with honors.
Slavin was working as a chemist in the fragrance industry, and met Kenneth Lundgren solely by chance. Shortly after, he introduced her to bikes.
With Lundgren’s encouragement, she bought a Trek FX flat-bar from her local bike shop, thinking the bike would serve as an environmentally-conscious method of commuting to work. Much to the amusement of those watching (who were most likely taking bets on how long before she’d be in a full body cast), she could barely balance on the bike in the shop lot, yet regardless of the shakiness, she found herself riding to work as many times as she could, enjoying faster speeds and the freedom of weaving through heavy morning traffic without delay.
After two magical months of riding, Slavin somehow ended up with her feet in the pedals of a 2001 Trek Top Fuel 8. Local MTB legend Ben Williams of CCI Racing talked her into some cross-country racing; it was the beginning of an all-consuming addiction.
Slavin spent her first year racing Cat-3 sporadically but with impressive results, capturing podiums at every race she entered, eventually working her way to the top step. The next year, she spent the early season racing all over the Mid-Atlantic region as a Cat-2, grabbing podiums everywhere she went – by April, she was racing as a Cat-1. All said and done, she wrapped up her first full-length race season with silver medals in both the New York and H2H Series Cat 1 overall standings.
In less than a year and six months of racing, Slavin applied for and received her Pro USAC XC mountain bike racing license.
With her mind for science and her love for racing, she ultimately decided to leave her job as a chemist to join the team at Elite Endurance Training Systems, applying her background in biology, chemistry, and mathematics to the field of athletic performance. She has helped create Pulseline data analysis and DietRx nutritional counseling, two of Elite Endurance’s most important and coveted proprietary training tools.
Today, Laura is passionately committed to XC mountain bike racing, a healthy lifestyle, and the fanatical study of power data. She can usually be found at Jungle Habitat in West Milford NJ, decorated with cuts and bruises and sporting a wide, muddy grin – “in my endless quest to find what would ignite my spirit,” Slavin says, “I stumbled onto cycling and found fire.”