Former Motorola road pro racer and two-time National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) mountain bike champion Steve Larsen suffered a fatal heart attack during a running workout in Bend, Oregon May 19.
Larsen, 39, owned Steve Larsen Properties in Bend. A Davis, California native, the father of five transitioned from mountain bike racing to triathlons, winning an Xterra race and participating in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. He retired from professional competition in 2003.
Former all-rounder Joe Parkin has several memories of Larsen. The pair raced together as juniors in northern California in the mid 1980s.
“During the 1990 Milk Race, he was on the US national team and I was riding as a pro for ADR/Tulip,” Parkin told BikeRadar. “I was riding tempo and he kept attacking. I kept upping the tempo. I remember asking (US team coach Chris) Carmichael to have Steve quit attacking!”
Parkin also recalls a NORBA race in Traverse City, Michigan in 1995.
“Pretty sure I got the better of him, but that would have been one of the FEW times,” he said. “Steve was one of those guys I probably would never have hung out with but was always happy to see, either on the start line or at Interbike, Sea Otter, etc.
“He was a true competitor and I was happy for all his successes,” Parkin added.
According to the Davis Wiki, Larsen began cycling in 1984 just as Greg LeMond was becoming a household name. He entered his first cyclo-cross race and bronzed in 1986 at the first Junior National Championship in Santa Cruz, California. Larsen went on to road race through the Junior National Team Program in Europe before moving up to the Amateur World Championships with the U.S. team.
Larsen got his first professional contract for the Motorola squad around 1991 and relocated to Italy where he raced professionally for almost four years and became a highly respected road racer, riding alongside teammate Lance Armstrong.
BikeRadar passes on its condolences to Larsen’s wife Carrie and his family.