Katrina Strand: Pro Mountain Biker

Katrina Strand

There are moun­tain bik­ers who ride, and then there are those who absolute­ly rip. Per­son­i­fy­ing the win­ning spir­it and charg­ing with every turn, rip­pers hold noth­ing back through every crank of the ped­al and every sec­ond of glo­ri­ous air time. Rip­pers are the ones we look up to; they show the rest of us what is human­ly pos­si­ble. Kat­ri­na Strand is one of the rid­ers rais­ing the bar, and not just for women, but every­one who rides. Work­ing as a pro ath­lete while also coach­ing and train­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of moun­tain ath­letes from her home in Whistler, Kat­ri­na is a leader both on and off the trail.

I had a chance to catch up with Kat­ri­na before she was off to Europe for a few weeks.

Steve Andrews: How did you get start­ed 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 par­en­t’s 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 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! 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?
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? 
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 is “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