Trent Klasna (road rash and all), and friend/coach Steve Hegg in studio .
Klasna overhauls his act.This weeks edition of ‘The Competitors’, airing from its new home at Big Jim’s B-BQ, featured cycling’s star of the 2001 season Trent Klasna, on his 32nd birthday, in studio. Joining him was his long time friend, former team mate and Olympic gold medallist Steve Hegg. With Bob Babbitt out of town, the show was hosted by Paul this week, with Bob co-hosting by phone from L.A.
Klasna spent much of time giving listeners a glimpse into his life and the rather unusual path that he took to get to the upper echelons of bike racing. He credited much of his success for this past season to Steve Hegg whom he feels had guided and honed his abundance of raw talent and passion for competing. Hegg maintains that Klasna has the ability to race with the very best (yes – including Lance). This was easily shown in his racing during the past season where he bettered many of the big names from the Tour de France, including George Hincapie and many others. Klasna has a year remaining on his contract with the Saturn Team, which will necessitate that most of his racing is here in the United States. However he is certainly open to taking the opportunity to go to Europe the following year, and test himself on cycling’s biggest stage.
Probably most fascinating was his story of how he reached this point in his life. He talked very candidly about the fact that at 19 years old (after losing his license, and being thrown out of home), he was essentially living on the streets. His lifestyle of heavy drinking and smoking, took a turn after he watched his brother race a criterium. The idea of getting paid to ride a bike, was very appealing. Promising to make changes, his mother agreed to let him back home, where he started the process of turning himself into a world class athlete. It did take some time for him to realize that riding up a hill, and stopping for a smoke at the top was not part of the routine.
In his own words - “ overnight success has been about a 10 year project”. He has always been some-one who wants to push the boundaries. He claims that he has broken every bone in his body at some time or another. In fact he showed up to Big Jim’s with a fair amount of road rash on his face, from a crash involving a dog a couple of days ago. Accordingly his lifestyle has matched his ‘all out’ approach to bike racing, with heavy drinking and partying being an integral part of his life.
However, he claims that he has turned over a new leaf. He has been alcohol free for the past 7 weeks. At 6”1, and weighing 162 pounds he is at an all time ‘lean and mean’. He has bought himself a big motor home, from which he is going to base himself for his West coast racing this year. He is going to take his time and find ‘the ideal place’ to put down roots. A new relationship has brought some stability to his life. Under the constant guidance of Hegg he is setting out to match or outdo his 2001 season, as the fearless leader of the Saturn cycling team.