By Trina Ortega
(LAS VEGAS) — When your acceptance speech into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame is a litany of apologies, it’s safe to say you’ve had a darn good career. Plus, in the case of Marla Streb, she was able to clear her conscience by airing some dirty laundry. (Dipping a frame in acid to save weight? Oh, do tell.)
Streb was among the 2013 inductees, who became part of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame on Sept. 18 during the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. Downhill racer Nicolas Vouilloz; Moab pioneers Robin and Bill Groff; the Los Angeles-based Concerned Off Road Bicyclists Association; and photojournalist David Epperson were the other 2013 inductees. (To read a related story about the MTB Hall of Fame Museum moving from Crested Butte to Marin County, click here.)
Streb was nominated by Sal Ruibal, who commended Streb for succeeding in so many different areas within the sport: racer, advocate, teacher, author, explorer, businesswoman and “kick-ass rider.”
During her 16-year racing career, she won the X Games championship, a UCI World Cup in downhill, three U.S. National Downhill championships and two Singlespeed World champions. She currently works as a media liaison and coach with Team LUNA Chix, instructs for the nonprofit Bike Maryland, which teaches cycling safety to underprivileged youth, and owns a bike park construction company called Streb Trail Systems.
“There might be a few riders with more world-class wins and there might be some writers who snuck into the Hall of Fame with lesser credentials, and we will always need an army of IMBA warriors to keep our trails free, but is there a mountain biker who has excelled in so many different areas?” Ruibal—a writer—wrote in his nomination. “Some have made it to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame with the strength of their legs or the courage of their convictions, but there will never be a rider with a bigger heart and a sharper mind.”
On the homefront, Streb is married with two young daughters and her family travels primarily by bike and skateboard. Her life goal is to encourage others to “ride daily and take chances … safely.”
Streb took some chances Wednesday when she accepted her nomination at the Hall of Fame ceremony.
“This would be the perfect opportunity for me to apologize,” Streb said in opening her acceptance speech that was accompanied by a slide show with photos from her race days. Then she proceeded to apologize to former sponsors for things such as dating an engineer in order to gain a more “plush rear end,” wearing Oakley frames—and nothing else—while posing for a Yeti poster (keep an eye on ebay to get one of these iconic posters), providing colorful excuses to reporters for losing, and altering jerseys to achieve a more feminine cut, and to American kids who ask about her top speed. “I always say 84, but I never say that it’s measured in metric units.”
She revealed some long-held secrets, too. For instance, she apologized to Yeti Cycles for secretly dipping one of her downhill frames in acid to save weight. It dropped nearly two pounds, she explained.
“Of course, on one of the first training run at nationals, the rear swing arm and top tube crumpled like an aluminum can. And Yeti didn’t know why, didn’t know why. So, anyway, now you do,” Streb said.
And she shared some apologies that remained secret for only a brief time. To LUNA, she apologized for “getting knocked up not once but twice” while under contract. (She noted that in the team photo she hid behind Georgia Gould so as not to reveal her baby bump.)
Streb also had apologies for her two daughters: “I am sorry to my first born child, Nico. I launched the Downieville river jump with you strapped to my chest.… It didn’t really hurt, and it was a crowd pleaser.”
That led to the next apology to her second-born, Kiki, for NOT launching the Downieville river jump with her strapped to her chest.
“I am joking a lot,” Streb concluded. “I am sorry for some things, but I have no regrets as far as my career.”
To read about the accomplishments of all of the 2013 Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductees here, click here.