Growing up in a cycling family meant Rachel Strait was born to ride.
Biking was consistently Rachel’s childhood family activity because her father, Jeff, was racing motocross growing up.
“He really wanted his children to be outdoors rather than indoors glued to the TV,” says Rachel. “I began riding cross-country when I was nine years old and entered my first competition at age ten.” She won and has been taking names ever since.
A few years later, in 2006, she was titled the Junior Expert National XC Champion, landing her a spot representing the USA in the World Championships in Rotorua, NZ. She was 16 years old. She placed 14th, and she’s had a bunch of impressive competitive achievements over the last decade.
Now, enduro is Rachel’s game, but that wasn’t always the case. She got to the discipline – after taking a break from racing to earn her degree in Global Marketing from Cal State University San Marcos – when she started spending more time back on the bike.
This time, instead of XC, she started getting sucked into steeper, more technical trails. “This was an experience I’d never had before,” she shares. “I fell back in love with biking—but this time, I fell in love with the gravity of enduro.
She moved to Laguna, trained hard, rebuilt her strength, and transitioned her biking career from XC to enduro. Why does she love it? “Enduro is the perfect blend of cross-country riding and the thrill of downhill racing. Enduro has opened up opportunities to explore amazing, challenging trails around the world.”
In 2016 Rachel was selected to be a member of the GT Factory Enduro race team. She had the opportunity to race all over the world chasing the EWS series. This had been a dream of hers since a kid to be on a factory race team. “The life of a factory rider is what athletes strive for because it makes succeeding at the races easier, but also adds more pressure to perform.”
When Rachel’s not biking, she’s working out – hard – in the gym, doing yoga, taking the dogs for a run, or traveling the world having fun with her husband Kyle. All good stuff, but what gets her psyched? Competition, and she is ready to get back at it. “I just can’t wait for the 2018 season to begin!”