Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tragic News About Steve Larsen

Two days ago, while doing a track workout in his hometown of Bend, Oregon, Steve Larsen, professional cyclist, triathlete, business owner, and father of five, collapsed and died from a heart attack.

I now know what the term flabbergasted actually means. Same with dumbfounded. I really still can't grasp this.

I have been lucky enough to have met and talked with Steve on a few occasions. He came across immediately as a sincere, intelligent, honest guy. On all occasions, he looked me in the eye and actually seemed interested in our conversations. As an athlete, I really admired how he raced. He changed the dynamics of triathlon, taking control of the race on the bike and working his ass off to put time on his fleet footed opponents. He first raced as a professional cyclist, and was part of the motorola professional team. He set the course record at IMLP in 2001 which I was lucky enough to be a spectator at.

I am really saddened by this tragic news, and at the same time, can't help but be narcissistic and equate it to myself. I use to think that if I were to suffer from a heart attack, it would have happened already - based on what I put myself through. I'm irresponsible in regards to my regularly getting physical exams. In fact, I don't even have a general health care practitioner (a doctor). I can't recall the last time I had a physical. Having a family, I have no excuse not to. It's not about me anymore. I have to believe that Steve had some underlying issue. Or maybe I'm just justifying my own lameness. Just because I exercise a lot and eat fairly well doesn't mean I'm out of the woodwork in terms of life threatening illness.

Back to Steve - he appeared to be a very grounded guy who led by example and lived more in his short 39 years than many do in twice this time. I can't help but think about Steve's wife and kids. I have certainly spent the last couple of nights hugging my family a bit more.

I planned on finishing my blog about the CT camp final day, but it seems a bit mundane right now.


Keith said...

39!!! That is tragic.

I would strongly suggest you find a Dr and get all the age appropriate tests done. Like you say, he may have had an underlying condition, and maybe, routine testing would have picked it up. I just had that done, and it's no fun, but better than some of the alternatives.

One of the guys I worked with was very fit, slender, climbed mountains for fun, the very picture of good health. He came back from a routine test that said his cholesterol wasn't just high, it was sky high. Go!

carlgrus said...

Getting annual checkups, although not a guarantee, will go a long way to pick up problems at the earliest stages. At 59, I've been having annual physicals for 30 years, and everything from poleps, higher cholesterol, to heart murmurs, and benign moles have been addressed. And after 50, prostate exams (sounds worse than what it really is) every 2-3 years...I strongly encourage everyone to get an annual top to bottom physical with a good Doc...

Anonymous said...

It's time to locate a physician and begin regular checks ups. I am one of the fortunate ones that have made it through a heart attack at age 35, two months after the birth of my second child. They were able to correct the blockage with a stent and I received an additional stent 3 months later. The cause of my heart disease - cholesterol and stress. on a side note, I enjoy reading your blog throughout the year after meeting you at LP monsoon/IM. My brother-in-law, J. McAbier (Cleveland Tri Club) introduced us and has been a motivating factor in getting me involved in the multisport lifestyle after completing cardiac rehab. Keep up the wonderful work you do for your athletes, individuals that you meet, and your family. Also, take time for yourself to locate a physician and begin regular check ups. Have a great season and enjoy the journey.

Bill Whitlatch

Eric said...


First, thank you for reading my blog.

More importantly, thanks for your intelligent and also kind words. It sounds as though you are doing well after your very scary situation, which is great.

Finally, sorry that J is your brother-in-law:)

Thanks again,