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Dirt Camp

Steve Larsen

PhotosSteve Larsen has been racing bikes for most his life. A top notch road racer, Larsen switched to mountain biking in 1994. Currently ranked #1 in the cross-country and #2 in the short track cross-country divisions of the National Championship Series, Larsen shared his experiences and passions for road racing, mountain biking and his budding cyclocross career.

Tell us about your background in cycling? You have been racing for 15 years.
"It's consumed over half of my life; and you know, all my waking moments. I'm a cyclist to the end..."
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How do you train in the off season?
"I think I spend a lot more time on my bike in the winter than most of the top U.S. pros with the exception of maybe Tinker..."
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How long have you been racing cyclocross?
"I did my first cyclocross race back in 1986. They had the first Junior National Championship in Santa Cruz, near where I grew up..."
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How was the transition from road racing to mountain bike racing?
"I mean obviously the most difficult transition was the technical side of things. ..."
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Did you do a lot of downhill training?
"My first year, because of where I was living, I was forced to do most of my technical mountain bike riding in the races themselves..."
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Was last year's focus on the National Series, the World Cup or both, or did you kind of change gears in the middle of the season?
"I didn't want to focus solely on the national series and have maybe the first one or two races go bad and then have already forsaken the whole World Cup series ..."
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Looking ahead, what are your goals? Are you going to take that damn championship at home?
"My primary goal is to prove to the powers that be of USA Cycling, that I can finish in the top eight of a World Cup race hopefully consistantly — maybe top 10 overall..."
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Tell us your views about the differences between US and European cycling fans?
"I think the difference is that people have been riding bikes in Europe for close to a hundred years now and races like the Tour de France..."
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So you are looking at 2000 already. I guess the '99 season will be kind of the benchmark.
"'99 is a critical year to establish myself as a true World Cup or international contender..."
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So tell us about ending your relationship with Schwinn. You have a new bike and a new team?
"The Larsen Championship Cycling Team commenced on January 1st of '99, officially, and I will be riding a Mongoose bicycle..."
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Brent Brookler, Mountain Zone Staff

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