In his diary, Justin Leov tells us about his life as an EWS-racer and as a father of two children as well. In this Episode, he tells us, how he got back on track with intensive recovery and training.

Sanremo, Italy. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Hey everyone, well there has been some big changes since my last diary. The 2015 season was a roller coaster for me, I had my first win of an EWS round which was a massive high, leading the series was the bonus of my efforts. This was followed with the rock bottom of getting out of the series with my shoulder injury, this happened as quick as the flick of a switch. The season was gone!

The silver lining is, I went back to New Zealand and got organized with a top surgeon who I have used previously. Fortunately he was able to fit my surgery in straight away, this may have been helped by the fact he is mad keen on Mountain biking. I had what is called a Laterjet procedure, which is in Simple terms, moving a small piece of bone in the shoulder and then re attaching it with two screws to a new location. The idea is that following the surgery the shoulder is reduced from the risk of future dislocations due to the bone in its new place. Although it is an open surgery, this should be a more robust solution for the long term and allow me to take a fall on it without any problems.


My coach put me on a good regiment of walking, indoor bike sessions on the erg and strengthening. I’ve been busy in the gym doing what I can to maintain muscle in my upper body and build more strength and power in my legs. Doing sessions on the bike with a sling took some set up adjustment, but it keeps you sane and seemed to aid my recovery and general motivation for a return to the circuit. One of the biggest problems with an injury is how it can send you into a dark place. Your mood can drop after the high of travelling and competing and it’s important to get on top of that as soon as you can. I defiantly had my days when it did suck, especially watching the last two rounds of the EWS from the computer screen. I got through it with a solid plan for the recovery and keeping myself busy. Setting small goals each day helped a lot. The second day after surgery I managed to walk 500 meters from where we were staying to the beach before I felt sore and dizzy. From then on it was seeing how much further I could go each day and within a week I was getting 2 hour walks in and enjoying them. The progress was small but it did become something to look forward to and the fresh air was helping me to feel better.

Fast tracking forward, It has taken nearly five months to get back to a reasonable amount of strength to hold onto the handle bars, however, I now am at a point where I feel like I’m ready to work on getting myself back to race speed on the bike.
During the summer in New Zealand I have chosen to build up slowly and just compete in a couple of events close to home. With a long season about to begin, it’s going to be about continuing that building strength and speed through the coming year. I think we all saw last year how important consistency is for a successful season.


I will be intensifying the cooperation with adidas Sport eyewear for the coming year so a big thanks to them as they are helping me get this diary out there once again, with the support this year of Canyon too. Actually the big news is my team switch to Canyon.
This is a new opportunity and working with a different company and people is what I needed to keep excited and motivated about racing.
With an almost complete sponsor change, I’m getting my head around the products and especially the smaller wheel size for this season. For the past three years I’ve been riding 29er for most of my races and this year I’ll be locked and loaded on the 650b. I’m enjoying the playfulness of the new bike and finding its downhill like geometry is a heap of fun.

A few weeks ago I got my first chance to race against other NZ Downhillers, it was a good way to test out my recovery and some gear settings on the lengthily descents that the race offered.

It’s not long until the first EWS round and already it’s starting to heat up with training sessions, team camps and getting all the logistics organized. Family logistics alone take a bit to arrange following the birth of our second child, Annabella, in January. The rest of team Leov will be over slightly later in the season, but the plan is to be in Finale Ligure, Italy, once more to set up our ” European home “. This season I will be focused just on racing, the last few seasons have been crazy busy with my course support and coaching at the Downhill World cups on top of my own racing. I am looking forward to this change so I can focus solely on the Enduro races and have some downtime between races to spend with the family.

Bring on the first round in Chile and I can’t wait to see what the first round has in store. Ciao, see you at the races.!


Photos: Ale di Lullo, Matt Wragg, Justin Leov

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