Monday, June 18, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on May 16th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 11

Michael Sterling


After graduating from Allan Hancock College in 2016, Michael Sterling relocated to Bakersfield to continue studying kinesiology at CSUB. Sterling, 25, tries to visit his hometown, Santa Maria, as often as his school schedule allows.

Apart from reconnecting with family and friends, Sterling’s favorite thing to do when he gets home is jump on his mountain bike.

“The Central Coast is so good for mountain biking,” he said. “Los Olivos Canyon, Montaña De Oro, Rice Ranch, the list goes on and on. So many great spots.”


Sterling originally started biking because he was looking for a fun way to lose weight, he said. But Sterling’s utilitarian outlook on the sport changed quickly once he got into it.

“I used to think of biking as means to an end,” he said. “But now it’s the other way around; biking is an end in itself. I don’t do it because I feel the need to, I want to.”

Sterling prefers mountain biking over road biking, which he started with. He found the transition difficult at first, he said.

“Mountain biking is a different kind of workout than road biking by far,” Sterling said. “There are similar characteristics, but it’s a whole different animal. It’s equivalent to the difference between running track and cross country.”

It wasn’t long after Sterling purchased his first mountain bike in 2015 that he started entering races. Sterling’s first race was 24 Hours of Halloween at the Dirt Club, a private mountain bike riding area in Los Olivos. He entered the competition again in 2016 and his team won first place.

Although Sterling does enjoy competing, mountain biking is more about relaxation for him.

“I like to ride when I feel like taking a break from homework,” he said. “Biking is a way of escaping for a little while. It can be very cathartic and stress reliving.”

What keeps Sterling sane during the busy week is the Riverwalk Trail in Bakersfield where he bikes during his free time to de-stress, he said.

When it comes to advice for aspiring bikers, Sterling quoted a line from the film Batman Begins: “Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

“When you start biking for the first time, you’re going to fall a lot no matter what,” Sterling said. “But you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Don’t stop there, biking becomes much easier once you ride more and more.”

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