Interview with Katrina Strand: Pro Mountain Biker

Katrina Strand

In the sport of Moun­tain bik­ing, there are peo­ple who ride, then there are those who absolutely rip — per­son­i­fy­ing the win­ning spirit and charg­ing through every turn, every crank of the pedal on a climb, and through every sec­ond of glo­ri­ous air time.  The rip­pers are the ones we look up to, and who show the rest of us what is humanly pos­si­ble when the body is tuned to its high­est capa­bil­i­ties. Kat­rina Strand is one of those rip­pers set­ting the exam­ple for not just women, but every­one who rides a bike.  She is a leader both on and off the trail, work­ing as a pro ath­lete while also coaching/training the next gen­er­a­tion of moun­tain ath­letes from her home in Whistler.

I had a chance to catch up with Kat­rina before she was off to Europe for a few weeks, this is what she had to say:

Steve Andrews: How did you get started with moun­tain bik­ing?
KAT­RINA STRAND: Some of my guy friends were into it and I wanted to check it out.  My friend Lisa and I bor­rowed her par­ents val­ley trail cruis­ers and brought them up the bike park on a super muddy, rainy day.  Not sure how much time we actu­ally spent on the bikes but we were hooked!  Next thing I knew I was at the bank get­ting a loan out so I could buy a bike.

Katrina Strand
SA: Can you remem­ber the point when you real­ized that it’s more than a hobby, and that you have a tal­ent to make it a liveli­hood?
KS: No, not really.  Being so pas­sion­ate about moun­tain bik­ing sub­con­sciously dic­tated my life path.  All I knew was that I wanted to spend as much time as pos­si­ble rip­ping around the woods on my bike, so I cre­ated ways to do this through coach­ing, film and photo projects, rac­ing and events.  Com­pa­nies within the indus­try rec­og­nized my efforts and wanted to be a part of it.

SA: What’s it like being a pretty girl in such a testos­terone heavy sport? Are there times when you just need to get away from the dudes and chill with the ladies? Or are the blokes OK?
KS: It’s awe­some!  I like guys haha!  I ride with the guys a lot, but I also have a solid group of girls I ride with too.  It makes no dif­fer­ence to me, it’s actu­ally more so about who you are — guy or girl.

SA: How does your life as a trainer cross over to your rid­ing?  and vice versa?
KS: Well,  I get to train myself!  I work hard at the gym so I’m ready to take on the abuse of my busy sum­mers.  It’s also been a huge ben­e­fit when work­ing through rehab situations. But also, it’s brought together my busi­ness, Strand Train­ing, which is all about strength and con­di­tion­ing coach­ing and moun­tain bike coach­ing.  I train all sorts of ath­letes and peo­ple, but I do work with a lot of moun­tain bikers.

Katrina Strand at squamishSA: What chal­lenges have you faced along the way? on the road?
KS: Long list.  It’s hard to make it work in a ‘fringe’ sport.  But I’m not scared of chal­lenges, I see them more as hur­dles — I can get over them.  I just find ways to per­se­vere and keep mov­ing forward.

SA: Favorite place to ride?
KS: My back­yard!  Squamish, Whistler, Pemby.  I’ve rid­den all over the world, it doesn’t get any bet­ter than this.

SA: What can you say to all the up and com­ers try­ing to make a go of it as a pro?  in MTB, and also in action sports in gen­eral?
KS: The quote I live by:  ‘You’ll find suc­cess in those efforts that cap­ti­vate your heart and soul, belief fuels pas­sion and pas­sion rarely fails.’  Sounds cliche, but keep­ing it fun is really what it’s all about.  That and fol­low­ing your dreams with con­fi­dence.  If you’ve got that recipe sorted, the rest will fall into place.

SA: Sponsors?
KS: Race­face, Maxxis, Santa Cruz Bikes, Fox Sus­pen­sion, Mavic, Fox hel­mets, Oak­ley, e13

Originally Published at The Clymb