Lars Sternberg – Rider Profile
Hometown: Sparks, Nevada
Birthplace: Truckee, California
Favorite Trail: Whichever one I am riding today
Sponsors? Transition Bikes, Fox Racing Shox, Dakine, Crankbrothers, KORE, Maxxis, Jagwire
Favorite place to ride?
I don’t have a favorite right now. I am having so much fun riding new places and trails lately there’s no way I could pick just one. I ride a bit of everything. I guess anywhere in the mountains is acceptable.
Favorite place to race?
I love to race anywhere that is new. I love the challenge of learning a new trail and trying to find the quickest and smoothest way to the finish within a timeframe. Having to deal with the pressure of getting dialed on a new course in the race environment has an addictive effect. I can’t seem to get enough.
What sparked your interest in biking when you were young?
The feeling of freedom I experienced. It has never changed since my very first day.
When did you get into biking, and what form of biking was it?
I started on a 16” department store BMX. I grew up riding anything with two wheels. Ten speeds, old school rigid MTB’s, BMX, whatever was in the shed. This is also how I learned how to work on bikes. I used to tear the family’s bikes apart and turn mismatched parts into these frankenbikes. I would spend days on a ‘project.’ I used to get in so much trouble.
Have you had any serious injuries while under the influence of DH? How long did it take you to get back on the saddle?
I have had many injuries, and I have been pretty lucky each time. I have had a few super scary ones that resulted in serious surgeries and hospital time. But I chalk them all up as part of the territory.
Do any other sports influence your biking or style?
I feel that there is a lot of crossover from ice-skating to mountain biking. Like the rush you feel before you go for my favorite Brian Boytano move, the quadruple lutz. It’s pretty much the equivalent of the rush you get before you boost a huge 12.5’ double and plan to Schleybletop over it. It’s like my ice skating hero Chazz Michael Michaels says “You challenging me, princess? Did you carve up any ice… with your weiner?”
Who are your favorite Riders?
Anybody who rides, purely because they love it. You can always tell who they are.
What events do you plan on attending or racing this coming season?
I will be racing a number of domestic and international events. Having the backing of Transition bikes this year, and being able to assemble a great race team will be a big change for me. We have some very cool things in store for next year, and I can’t wait to let the cat out of the bag! [Ed note: Lars came on board to helm the new Transition Race team in 2009, and since this interview was initially published, they announced the signing of both Bryn Atkinson and Jill Kintner.]
What are the biggest Podiums thus far in your racing career?
I placed 3rd at the Valparaiso race in Chile in 07. That was my favorite. The people are amazing there, and there were so many. Everybody was going crazy.
What is you philosophy on competing? Is it more mental or physical for you?
The physical part is easy. Do the work and you know you are prepared. The mental part is harder. All the variables come into play. Yes, if you have prepared physically then you will have more confidence, but you still have to instill that confidence on race day. There are so many factors that can make it or break it mentally just on race day.
What is your biggest goal for this coming season? And the following season?
National Championships, and World Championships
What do you do to occupy your time when you’re not on the bike, besides work?
Well I don’t live in my house anymore so I can’t work on it. Honestly there is not much in my life that is not involved in biking somehow. When I do have some completely free time, I chill out with my girlfriend Asta. We both are really into food. She’s a fantastic cook, so we spend a lot of evenings at home trying new recipes she’s made. We go out to eat a lot too. Moving back to Bellingham is going to be a big improvement in the eating out department.
If you were to give one piece of advice to new kids on the block, what would it be?
Ride it like you stole it. Honestly, every day you have to ride you bike is an opportunity that someone else has missed. Don’t ever forget this. It is easy to get complacent when you reach certain goals. There are so many people out there that either haven’t found bikes, or can’t ride for some reason. Bikes have made my life what it is. I have made nearly every close friend I have through bikes. I have seen parts of the world I never would have without bikes. I live a very different life today than I would have without bikes.
Photos by Brad Walton