Accomplished biking champion Marla Streb reaches out
With a diverse background and advanced degrees in molecular biology, Marla Streb found her true passion in adrenaline sports. As an accomplished cross-country athlete with experience in BMX, cyclocross, singlespeed, road and motorcycle racing, Streb’s pioneering spirit for women in gravity sports quickly brought international recognition to her downhill racing talent in the late ’90s and early 2000s.Streb was the X Games mountain bike champion in 1999, a nine-time NORBA national downhill winner, a World Cup winner and a two-time single-speed world champion andamp;#8212; with the winner’s tattoo to prove it.Having retired from racing a few years ago and now a mother of two, Streb continues to be one of the most influential women in biking as she balances public relations for the LUNA Pro team, builds trail networks in Costa Rica and leads skill clinics that empower women in their sport. After reading her book, andamp;#8220;The Life Story of a Gravity Goddess,andamp;#8221; I couldn’t help but ask her a few questions:Q andamp;#8212; What attributes of your background inspired you to reach your highest racing performances?A andamp;#8212; As a child, I was painfully shy to speak to people, so I learned to enjoy attention by showing off with physical, daring stunts. My best results were on muddy or icy courses. Slippery conditions in downhill racing require endurance and fearlessness with less precision. The endurance came from my obsessive training to compensate for lack of talent. The fearlessness must have come from growing up with four brothers. Lack of precision from lack of talent.Q andamp;#8212; If you were granted a pile of money, what would you do?A andamp;#8212; Sponsor developing underprivileged athletes and move back to California andamp;#8212; not in that order.Q andamp;#8212; Balancing motherhood, training, travel and racing, what advice do you have for new mothers who are committed to staying fit and active?A andamp;#8212; Purchase a Chariot (jogger, bike trailer, etc.) with all the attachments. Take the baby on all your workouts. Also, breast-feed if possible. That will help shed any extra pounds.Q andamp;#8212; Building on your current momentum, how do you want to proceed in the next five years?A andamp;#8212; I’m trying to open a bike-cafe and start a nonprofit bike advocacy group.Q andamp;#8212; What are the top three places you feel most grounded and able to be you?A andamp;#8212; Marin County, Montezuma (in Costa Rica) and Lake Tahoe.Transforming challenges into empowerment, Streb also loves spreading valuable knowledge and skills, helping fellow women achieve their athletic goals. Streb will be at Northstar-at-Tahoe instructing a downhill mountain bike clinic with the Tahoe LUNA Chix and a cross-country mountain bike clinic with Lake Tahoe’s All-Women Sports Camp the weekend of Aug. 19-21. For more information, go to http://www.allwomensportcamp.com or http://www.teamlunachix.com.andamp;#8212; Team rider Forrest Huisman is the author of this week’s Marc Pro-Strava Racing column. For more information about the team, results and upcoming events, visit http://marcpro-strava.com.