Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In Memoriam: Steve Larsen

The cycling and multisport world got a shock today when the unexpected death of Steve Larsen was announced. The 39-year-old Bend, Oregon, athlete and real estate broker was in the middle of a running workout on the track when he collapsed. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Unlike most athletes who are remembered for a particular win, Larsen is best remembered for his incredible breadth as an athlete. Often called an endurance athlete, he competed in events both short and long. Larsen represented the U.S. at the World Championships in four events, competing as a cyclist as a cyclist on the track, the road, off-road and in cyclocross. As a pro, raced for Motorola and counted Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie as teammates.

After a career in cycling that included racing the Giro d’Italia and two national NORBA championships in mountain biking (1998 and 2000), Larsen turned to triathlon in 2001. In his first year in the sport he qualified for the Hawaiian Ironman World Championship and finished 9th. He went on to take the Xterra National Championship and win Ironman Lake Placid.

Larsen was known as a fierce and outspoken competitor, unafraid to go his own way. And no matter which discipline he raced, he was respected by teammates and competitors alike.

After retiring from full-time competition, he opened a bike shop in Davis, California , before selling it to start a boutique commercial real estate brokerage in Bend, Oregon. Even while growing his business he managed to stay competitive, even finishing 70th at Kona in 2008.

Larsen leaves behind a legacy of hard work. Dan Empfield at quoted him saying, “I have learned that it is the work you put in over the long haul.” His example should remind us all what we can achieve with focus and dedication.

It’s easy to joke about how we want to go doing our favorite thing. But 39 is a life interrupted. Larsen leaves his wife Carrie and five children. On behalf of everyone at BKW, we extend our profound condolences for their loss.

Photo courtesy Chris Hipp/Labor Power


bikesgonewild said...

...steve larsen - were a great one, sir...

Wade Wallace said...

my condolences to Steve's family and friends. It's horrifying hearing news like this. Really makes you think

Dan O said...

Wow - that's too bad. 39 years old - way too young.

And 5 kids? Man....what can you say?

Forrest said...

It was a shame that he was left of the USA mtn bike team, he was clearly the fastest American mountain biker that year and probably our best shot at taking a medal! That was the beginning of the end of mtn bike racing in the US.

Bluenoser said...

Sorry to see this.

My condolences,