Sad news passed through the American cycling community on Tuesday and Wednesday, when people learned of Steve Larsen’s passing. According to reports he collapsed while running in Bend, OR and the exact cause of death has yet to be determined. My main memory of Steve, was back in 2000, when OLN actually showed mountain bike races, just dominating a mountain bike race. I don’t remember anything specific expect for Steve working his competition over like a load of laundry, and winning the National Championship. After watching the race I also remember reading something in a mountain biking magazine to the extent of “Steve Larsen was pissed that he wasn’t selected for the US Olympic Team, so he shaved his head and went out and won a bunch of races.” I’m a big fan of anyone doing anything with a giant chip on their shoulder, so that immediately made me a fan of him. He also had his name grace a line of Maxxis tires, which is no small feat.
After that I remember reading something that he made the switch over to Ironman Triathalons. Surprise surprise he would go on and to smoke the bike section and post impressive results. That was all I knew until the other day when reading the article about his passing where it said that he may have been the only American to compete at World Championships for road, cross, mountain biking, and track. Talk about a “jack of all trades,” if that doesn’t impress you, then get off my planet. Turns out he also raced across the pond for Motorola on the road, raced the Giro, the first edition of the Tour of Georgia, and you couldn’t find a fellow racer who could say an unkind word about him. More importantly he was a father of five children, which is probably more rewarding than any race result he achieved. With that, I will offer my thoughts to Steve’s family, and hope that they know that they are being thought of and prayed for by many people.