Vernon cyclist Leah Goldstein is getting set to compete in the Race Across the West from California to Colorado starting Wednesday.

Vernon cyclist Leah Goldstein is getting set to compete in the Race Across the West from California to Colorado starting Wednesday.

Vernon cyclist wheels toward West challenge

Vernon's Leah Goldstein will compete in the Race Across the West cycling event from California to Colorado...

Leah Goldstein won’t see as many states in her latest trip south of the border.

The defending women’s solo champion of the gruelling Race Across America, the Vernon cyclist is shortening her trip when she starts Wednesday in the Race Across the West event, which goes 800 miles from Oceanside, Cal. to Durango, Col.

The 2011 Race Across America went from California to Maryland – a distance of 3,000 miles – and Goldstein finished a day-and-a-half ahead of her closest opponent. That event has been called the toughest bike race in the world.

So 800 miles from California to Colorado will be much easier, right?

“I don’t take any race lightly,” said Goldstein. “It’s still sleep deprivation, deserts, 7,000 feet of climbing and really tough competition.”

That tough competition comes in the form of  American Seana Hogan, who has won many ultra-distance cycling events, including Race Aross America and holds the 24-Hour World Record.

Goldstein is a relative new-comer to ultra-cycling (only her third year) but has won everything she’s entered, and holds several records of her own.  Race organizers are advertising this as the showdown of the decade as these two master athletes go head to head.

“I never underestimate anyone,” said Goldstein. “I always train to win, and that is always my intention at the starting line. But anyone can be beaten.  Anyone.”

Goldstein started cycling in the late 1980s, but didn’t start her ultracycling career until 2009.  She had been considering changing gears from stage racing to ultra-endurance racing for a while, and after three crashes (one near fatal) she decided it was time.

Goldstein is no stranger to tough competition.  At 14, she was a national taekwondo champion, and by 17 became the world kick boxing champion.

Her 10-year professional cycling career took her across the world for many races including the Tour de France.

Goldstein is sponsored by Trek, Pearl Izumi, Shimano, Zeal, Continental Tires, Fresh Air and BreakAway Fitness.

She is currently a trainer at BreakAway Health & Fitness and shares her cycling and kick boxing passion with their members.

To follow Goldstein’s progress in this year’s Race Across the West, visit the BreakAway Fitness Facebook page.