How about a little riding motivation for Monday? As long as racing a bike has been in my vocabulary Marla Streb has been an inspiration to me. Killing it on downhills stealing titles from the kids, Marla started racing after a career as a cytogeneticist studying the AIDS virus. Watching her riding style on VHS definitely helped me in my early years to learn to let go of the brakes and sit back on the saddle. But I think her story and talent marketing herself is what really drew me in. I think the fact that she was a smart girl with courage to battle the boys makes her such a great role model. Her effective way of communicating her story made her a household name in Bike culture. She didn't care if you knew all of her secrets, she actually shared every detail she could to inspire other chics to kick ass. Every time I am in a coaching situation there are Marla quotes that pop into my head to help other women "get it". Probably the most effective is "keep your eyes on the horizon line" whether your climbing or decending this always help women grasp looking farther off in the distance.
But balancing out this intellectual beast is a fun loving big hearted mamma that still goes out and kills it. I'll never forget her answering a serious training question with, "I just do it so I can eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's without guilt". Or there was the year she showed up in Downieville as a new mom and did the river jump with a doll strapped to her like she was taking her little baby along for the flying ride. I mean really, just her doing the river jump as a mom was enough to impress me!
All of that and she has lead many other women to success as a huge asset to the unbeatable Luna Chix Pro team. A few years back I put on a Women's Skills Clinic at the Sea Otter Classic. When a surprising 35 beginner women showed up, Marla eagerly stepped in to help out, taking a handful to the pump track, while I took the rest to a grassy hill to work on cornering.
She will be one of our hot models in the Pedal Styles Fashion Show coming up this year at the Sea Otter Classic, where she'll get to put that Single Speed World Champ tattoo under a pair of Bloomers (and a stylish outfit). If you're at the Otter this year be sure to come hang out on Saturday afternoon in the grass in the middle of the expo. We'll be featuring more then just Bloomers but showing how diverse pedaling a bike has finally become!