American born Marla Streb got into mountain biking later in life at age 28, her professional downhill and single speed racing lasting from 1998 to winning 1st crankworks Enduro Downhill in Whistler in 2005. She ended her professional racing career on a high by winning Single Speed World Championship in 2005 at age 40. That's a fantastic achievement when you consider her competitors were half Marla's age.
Marla has written several books, I read her first book (her autobiography) with interest and it was fascinating to get into the head and read with clear understanding the thoughts of a downhill racer and what makes her tick. Marla having grown up with 4 brothers ( as I did) having to compete with 4 lads when you were growing up made you tough. She competed in a few bike races in her 20's but she really got the MTB bug when she met a handsome , hunk mountain biker called Martin (I'm wondering was his name really Martin)on a trip to Europe who loaned her a mountain bike and he took her on the DH trails and she was elated at the experience of trying to keep up with this gorgeous bloke. Reading her book, I think he's is the guy she should have married, his dream was to be a downhill racer. (as later on Marla would be) But it never works out that way in real life as hunks and handsome are usually gits and only good to be around in the short term, so anyway she married a nice guy but not the guy who made her feel alive. I think you MTB women will be interested to learn that Marla like most of the women into dangerous sports is also a high achiever and has a graduate degree in marine biology but rather than spend her life in beautiful exotic locations around the world as a biomedical researcher there was intense fulfilment to be found in getting bruised and dirty on a high tech mountain bike, competing against girls half her age. So what is Marla up to now I hear you ask ? Marla and husband Mark had their first child in 2007 and they are expecting their second child within the next six weeks. They are now running their own MTB skills training business in the beautiful exotic location of Costa Rica. Some are women's only camps. The skills training courses are all inclusive, (except flights and transfers) Just bring your helmet and bike shoes. Check out Marla's website for full details of her training camps. www.strebmountainbikecostarica.com
Picture top left, credit to Gerald Bybee (for making our sport look sexy) is on the cover of Marla's book, The life Story of A Downhill Gravity Goddess. Pict. Bottom Right, Marla winning the world Championship in 2005.
Pic Below left. Marla on the podium US National
Downhill Champion 2004