What's Cool In Road Cycling

Trent Klasna: The Interview

When I reached Trent he was buying a bed. Little did I know Max Testa had just told him to stay off the bike for a while. The reason? Re-occurring back problems. Trent was hit by a car in ’92 and broke his back. I know how debilitating this can be as I went through the same a few years prior. We then spoke openly about his life as he was stretching and finally just plain lying on the floor (not his new bed). Perhaps this gave him an opportunity to look up beyond the ceiling of his new house and reflect on the grounding his couple hood offers.

TRENT KLASNA
Born: 09/12/69
Age: 32
Born in San Diego
6’1″, 162 lbs.
Hometown: Pine Valley, CA
Residence: Tahoe, CA
Strengths: Time trials, small climbs

EVB- Whereas partying was an integral part of your life, do you harbor an on/off relationship with it? Are you okay discussing your turbulent past, sometimes linked to alcohol, living in the streets for six plus months as a young man?

TK- Frankly, I’m proud of my past. Anyone should, coming out of what I went through so no, it doesn’t bother me in the least! Honestly, I’m not the best with or without alcohol. You should see some other riders’ habits! No better. I find it best to focus on the bicycle when I need to and when the season ends, put the bike on the hook, go hiking with Tracy (his wife of one year) and the dogs (Trent domesticated two itinerant dogs). The house and land we purchased just before the San Francisco Grand Prix last year is conducive to so much positive distractions. We have two and a half acres in the Sierras near Tahoe, have no neighbors to speak of. It№s just great.

EVB- You lived out of a motor home for sometime, moving around as your heart would lead you to new training venues in California.

TK- Yeah, it was getting tough on my training, setting up camp every time I stopped. It wasn’t the optimal condition for a pro rider. Funny you should mention that, I’ve got to re-list it for sale. I’d like to get a smaller one when I retire though (from racing). You should see this thing sitting in my backyard now.

EVB- Steve Hegg (close friend and teammate while on Chevrolet/L.A. Sheriff) described you as having the class to compete with the best, including Lance and go to Europe.

TK- I could do it today though my situation changed since Steve’s quote. But at what cost? Eight months on the road… Team Saturn has so much depth I can see the younger guys doing it. My life is not all about the bike. Tracy and I are soo connected. It all comes back to balance.

EVB- How did you and Tracy meet?

TK- In Miami, the year I won PCT.

EVB- Didn’t see you there last year!

TK- Laughs. I’m not welcomed there anymore. No, seriously… Hmm, weird. My ex girlfriend of almost 10 years is now dating the guy Tracy was seeing for ten years. How could they now give me any hardship if I ran into them be it there or elsewhere as it stands now? Ha, ha!

EVB- Assuming there’s a possibility of contract renewal at the end of 2003 with Saturn, what are your goals past that point? I know you№re flirting with Athens.

TK- I can№t see making it to the Olympics with any other team but Saturn. With the likes of less talked about guys like Wohlberg or O’Neil who can surprise us in a TT soon, we have nothing to envy to USPS. They’ll have a tough time with us whether we find ourselves in Europe together or domestically. There’ll be one spot on the National Team for Athens and I hope my name’s attached to it when the selection comes.

EVB- Speaking of US Postal. Clichй question but what do you think of Armstrong today?

TK- What can I say or add… What he overcame… He’s actually approachable and well grounded considering his stardom. He№s a sensible, nice guy!

EVB- How do you reconcile your training logs from your personal coach to Andrzei Bek, replacing Jim Copeland?

TK- Although Andrzei is the director, he might be honored to coach. But he’s the director and poised to be. Some riders might be intimidated by him. And I like that. It’s the kind of leadership that lacked in my life as a pro before. Every time I joined a team, the management flaked on me. Was it me? Ha, ha!

EVB- Some heard your last team switch was sparked by a disagreement as are many. Worst feud?

TK- I didn№t feel I was getting respect from my previous team’s management and I didn’t give it back. We’ve both grown. You look now at Navigators and their program is without reproach. John Wordin though is a jackass. How could he go on? Never will he be allowed to run a sanctioned team.

EVB- You just shared most’s opinion. Three words to describe you as a person:

TK- Infectious (so people say), energetic and positive (we’ll see as my back hopefully heals!).

EVB- Hamilton, Ont.?

TK- I may just have the summer of my life as a rider! Being off the saddle might make me miss races like Redlands, Sea Otter which I love! Maybe Beauce (EVB- Trent finished 3rd in ’97). Peaking late is not out of the question and having my whole family there would be incredible.

EVB- You don’t strike me as a gear freak. Favorite piece of equipment you would enjoy past your pro career?

TK- Long pause. I’ve had half Vortex, half Ultimate built for me in the past. The Ti Lemond’s geometry suits me great based on Greg’s ’86 frame geometry I believe. But you’re right, not a topic I’d drag on. Pause… The Garneau stuff. Forget it man! It’s great! Clothing, helmet…

EVB- Last meal you cooked (full facility, not in motor home) and favorite gastronomy, please don№t tell me Mexican?

TK- Positively Mexican. Both my wife and I love to cook. We grab cook books together in our kitchen, try recipes and explore beyond. I have my egg burritos several mornings a week!

EVB- Can you show us around your house or point out some notable features?

TK- Style wise we go with feel. The bed we ended up purchasing is opium colored brushed metal sleigh shaped. Squiggly metal 1 ft squares adorning it. We have a chest belonging to my mom from the 1700, a wine cabinet from India from 1800 so there’s enough room in the house to combine contemporary with antiques. Have you seen that wood flooring stuff?

EVB- Floating hard wood. It lasts and looks good. You№ll install it?

TK- That№s it! I love doing that stuff. I’d rather put it on wrong once and do it ’till I get it right than have someone else come in my house do it.

EVB- Do you have a better idea of how life will draw itself after you’ve achieved your most coveted wins?

TK- Tracy and I talked about this two nights ago… Hell, a month ago. We discussed unlikely scenarios like living on the streets. We’d be happy. Reality is such we want a family and day care costs will justify at least a part time job for me, at least for me to be happy with myself. I’d like to own a tractor. We’d grow an organic garden and maybe a small vineyard.

EVB- That sounds awesome. You live in a great arena to perpetuate what other cyclists seem to have done in other parts of the world.

TK- Just last Saturday we went to Amador County wine tasting. You’ll find the best Zinfandel in the world there! (EVB: There you’ll find Montevina№s first Zinfandel Port blend of ’96, ’97 wines’ vintage aged 30 months in American oak puncheons)

EVB- You speak other languages?

TK- A bit of Spanish.

EVB- What do you rate your best personal and professional achievements-two tier question?

TK- Learning, not money. PCT and Redlands.

EVB- Could you tie in with that your relationship with your family even after you were kicked out of the house at the age of 19?

TK- We’re closer than ever, mom, dad… My brother and I won the Muddy Buddy event last year together. My brother mostly works with my mom. My family owns a stamped painted asphalt company. They have a great follow ups with gated community high-end home owners. In fact, the company’s headquarters I believe are in your home country!

EVB- Who do you get along best with outside the pro peloton?

TK- Malcom Elliott… I miss him, his outlook on things. He lives in Sheffield (England). As you know, Steve Hegg, miss him too as a team member but we talk a lot.

EVB- Favorite music, last CD you bought?

TK- Last CD was Emenem. My range is widening but I usually stay away from rap. Don’t tell my wife I don’t care for country western either. Let’s see… I listen to Led Zeppelin, even Kid Rock. We want to buy a computer so to burn CDs, broaden our collection.

EVB- Trent, thanks for entertaining us and bests with your back man!

TK- I№ll try to stay positive.

We know how Europeans often run away from their past or future in a factory and the chosen ones become pros. Trent offers a refreshing outlook at how it’s possible to be happy without the recognition, the smell of massage lotion and even living in the streets. He confirms his brother inspired him to straddle a bike and throw his cigarettes away and whatever else damaged his temple before what became a 12 year long overnight success. After hanging up the phone with him, the song “Under the bridge…” (Red Hot Chili Peppers) creaped in my mind. Unlike other pros today, he’s running away from nothing but embraces the road ahead.

Photo Credit: Second Pic: Jonathan Devich www.thefasttrack.com

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