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Catching Up with Trent Klasna
 
By Jaime Nichols
Date: 2/17/2003
Catching Up with Trent Klasna
 

A big powerhouse of a rider, Saturn's Trent Klasna dominated the domestic racing scene in 2001, with victories at Redlands, Sea Otter, the US National Time Trial Championship, and first place in both the US Pro Cycling Tour and the National Racing Calendar point series. He is a strong climber, a powerful time trialist, and a natural leader on the road. His aggressive racing style makes him one of the most exciting riders to watch on the US circuit.

2002 was a quiet year on the bike for Trent, who struggled with back pain from an old injury sustained in a run-in with a car years ago; but if it was a quiet year on the bike, it was a busy one in his personal life. In 2002, he married his wife, Tracy, and the two of them spent the year on the road, before settling down in a new house in the fortuitously named Cool, CA, at the end of last season.

The slow year hasnít taken the shine off the job; Trent still loves to race his bike. Heís looking forward to a strong season with a great team in 2003. The Daily Peloton caught up with Trent not long ago at Saturnís training camp and got his thoughts on the upcoming season.

Trent Klasna rides in Buellton

So, in 2001, you were pretty much the US Cycling rockstar, with back to back victories at Redlands and Sea Otter, and winding up the year as the top man in both the PCT and the NRC, but you had a slower season last year, suffering from an old back injury, and a lot of changes in your life: getting married, buying a house...

Lots of changes for the better!

My wife and I were just talking about this the other day, and Iíve been contemplating... Iíve been working with my back, and doing everything I can to get it as good as it can be, considering itís been broken, and all my other injuries... But, the bottomline is, I love racing my bike, and I love racing for the Saturn Cycling Team. I want to get back to that rock star status... I really like the publicity. I like being in the limelight. My wife and I were talking that if I just quit cycling now, I wouldnít be giving 100%, because itís something I love, and I just wouldnít be happy.

I mean, I donít have to win every race, but I want to be a factor to where if I donít win the race, Iím helping the team to win the race. I want to do whatever I can to get back into that form.

Even so, you were incredibly strong on a lot of occasions last year...

Yeah, but not too many people saw that, including my boss. Which is unfortunate. I didnít have as good a year as I did the year before by any means, but I sure tried in a bunch of races. At Redlands, Philadelphia and San Francisco, I made it happen with a lot of pain that a lot of people wouldnít even start the race with. I just love racing, and with the training part, you just have to work hard.

Saturnís poster boy.

Having an off year doesnít take the shine off the job for you?

No. Not at all. It just makes me want to come back and get back to that energy I had before. I just canít wait for this camp to be over for the fact that everyoneís racing out here, and it seems like some guys have a lot to prove, a lot of the young guys, and Iím just not sure that here is the place you have to prove it, I mean, youíre on this team for a reason. Proving it to us is not reallythe reason.

Today I just kind of felt like Iíd had enough of racing up and down these darned hills. I just canít wait to get home and start doing my 600 mile weeksd by myself... Thatís what I used to do before. Although, I was just talking to my wife, and she says itís pouring rain right now at home... so it makes me appreciate being here right now, too!

The thing is, Iím just not done cycling. A lot of people keep trying and trying... when Iím done, Iíll be done, but Iím not done now.

Looking at the Saturn team this year, a lot of people are wondering how itís going to come together, with so many stars on the team who are accustomed to winning races, and being that guy the team looks to for victory. Particularly you, Chris Horner and Charles Dionne. The worry is, there are a lot of egos here...

There are a lot of egos here for sure, but the bottomline for me is, I donít even have to be the winner. I donít care about myself winning, as long as Iím helping the team win, thatís all that really matters to me. I mean last year, it was clear that we needed someone else to be winning races, because if I wasnít winning like I did the year prior, there wasnít a whole lot of winning going on. There were some great races, I mean, Ivan Dominguez in NY, and some other races...

But, Chris Horner and I are old friends, and Iíll help Chris win any race. If heís not winning, and Iím not winning, hopefully there will be someone else to step up.

Trent discovers the greatest love of all.

So, you donít foresee a clash of the titans?

No, especially not between me and Chris. I donít think so with Charles, either. I mean, Charles and I have battled before, and gotten into some pretty good fights out there in the races...

But heís a different kind of a rider than you are, as well. Heís not maybe as much of a GC guy as you are.

Yeah, but heís not the guy youíd expect in San Francisco, either. I donít think you can count Charles out... But this team is not just three guys, either. There arenít just three egos on this team by any means! There are a lot more egos! Thereís a lot of young blood on this team, and guys with the potential to win any race. I mean, really, I think this team can win any race out there. I guarantee that we arenít going to win Ďem all, but we have the potential.

So, of the young blood, who do you think is going to really turn some heads this year?

Tom Danielson is a phenomenal climber. Heís young and has a lot of improving to do, working on his bike handling skills, so that he can be in the right position to go up the mountains...

Heís just starting out on the road...

He started on mountain bikes. Heís been doing that for a couple of years. Heís a young guy, and just graduated from college, which is an incredible accomplishment as well... And thereís Phil Zajicek, whoís my roommate here, and Iím really getting to know him, and heís a really neat guy.

Klasna & Zajicek.

Heís got some good socks!

Yeah, Iím not so sure about those socks. Everyoneís saying to me ďHow can you let your roomate go out in those socks?Ē Unfortunately, I left the room before he put those on and wasnít able to say ďNo, Phil, we canít go out in those socks.Ē

They were especially good once he had taken the knee warmers off... I liked that look.

Yeah, see, Iím just the opposite, I though it was ok until the knee warmers came off... but it certainly was a bold statement on his part.

Charles Dionne is a young guy, too. Heís going to win some races this year. Everybody on the team has a lot of potential, as long as we all pull together as a team, weíre going to win races. I just canít wait to get started racing, but Iím glad Iím not going to Malaysia personally, thereís guys are riding a lot better than I am right now.

You need some more time to get back to form?

Yeah... itís been, not really a hectic winter, but Iíve been working on my back, working on my house, and definitely doing a lot of training. Iíve lifted like, I dunno, 23 tons of sand, stone and rock at my house, moving it around, so Iíve been doing some good back workouts!

Klasna and Frischkorn at bike camp.

At your new house?

Yeah, in Cool, CA.

What a great name!

Yeah, itís perfect for me.

Is everything going well with you new house, and wife and your dogs?

Yeah, Iím very happy. Itís just another chapter that just keeps going... I mean, now we want kids.

Really? Whatís your time schedule on that?

Oh, thereís no specific schedule. Weíre just practicing! If it happens, it happens. A lot of people make sure it canít happen, and thatís not the case here at all. If it happens it would be great.

How about that motorhome from last season? Retired?

Iíve got it still! I just talked to Brian Lopes out there and asked him if he wanted to trade my motorhome for his van... thatís what I want, something thatís a little more accessible, so you can really get around. Thatís what I want.

Saturn bikes

Yeah, you told me at some point last year that it wasnít that great being on the road because it was harder to find good reliable training...

Yeah, it was definitely difficult trying to train in different places all the time, without a home base. Training up around my house is probably some of the best training Iíve ever done, as far as living there. I mean, you can always find neat rides here and there when you go to different places, but the variety up there is amazing, and it might be a little too hilly for a lot of people, but itís good. Iím derfinitely excited about having a home base, and not be living in the motorhome. Motorhomes, I think, are meant for shorter periods, not for a year long stint, or for people trying to race a bike full time.

Iím still excited to use it again, though, and will in a couple of weeks, going down to all the early season races in a couple of weeks.

Are you still training with Steve Hegg?

I am, but I havenít heard from him in a little while, and Iím kind of wondering if heís ok! I wonder if heís given up on me! No, I know he hasnít given up, but he has a lot going on in his life. His wife is expecting a baby, and they just bought a new house, too.

So, what are your goals for this season?

Well, I made myself a deal that if I could win Redlands, I could afford to buy myself a tractor, and if I donít win Redlands, I donít get to buy the tractor, so...

A tractor for what?

I want to start a vinyard, and an organic garden in my yard, because Iíve got a couple of acres... But I know Horner wants to win Redlands, too, because no oneís ever won it three times, which I just found out last night... so thatís a conflict in a sense, but donít get me wrong; as long as one of us wins the race, thatís whatís important, but thatís just something I put on myself. Redlands is a great race, and a great one to start out with. After Redlands, thereís the Tour de Georgia races, those will be great, even though I havenít see the courses. Then thereís Philadelphia, which Iíve missed in the past, but I still want before Iím done with the sport.

My other goal is to make the Olympics. Thatís the goal I first got started with in this whole crazy world. Back in 1989 I met Bob Mionske, who was staying at my momís house, and ever since then, thatís been my goal the entire time. I figure I still have another year.

ĒThatís me on the truck!Ē

Youíve helped other guys make the Olympics before...

Yeah, Iíve helped Steve Hegg and Tony Cruz make the Olympics. Theyíre great guys, and they deserved to go, so Iím glad, but maybe this year will be my year.

Well, I hope you do make it. Good luck with that. I hope you have a great year.

Thanks. Yeah. A lot of people ask ask me about last year, did I have a good year, or did I not have a good year, but I look back at Redlandís last year and I think I probably had the best Redlands I ever had. I had Chris Horner and his whole entire team on the ropes single-handedly at times, but in the end it just didnít work out. If I can go to Redlands and have anything like the form I had last year, and go with Chris and this great team, I think weíre going to be hard to beat. Iíd almost put money on it.

There are a lot of good teams this year...

There should be some great battles out there. Definitely!

 
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