A couple years ago Steve Larsen left his career as a professional triathlete to concentrate on his real estate business in Bend, Oregon. Recent results though have indicated that Steve Larsen may be far from retired.
ST: Steve, aren’t you retired from the sport of triathlon? How come we see your name popping up in various pro event results?
Steve: I am still retired from full time competition and I don’t make a living from the sport. However, I do have a desire to see if I can still be competitive with the best athletes in the world. So it is primarily a personal challenge that comes with some potential fringe benefits should I do well.
ST: What is on your race schedule this season?
Steve: My main goal was to qualify for Kona, which I did at IM CDA. Since then I had a very satisfying race at the Vineman 70.3, where I fished third behind two phenomenal athletes in Terenzo Bozzone and Craig Alexander. With all that I have going on outside of sport on a daily basis; five kids, my real estate brokerage, etc., this might be my best ever result under the circumstances. Plus it reaffirmed that I can still be competitive at the highest level of the sport. I may race once more before Kona, but will likely stay closer to home until that race.
ST: 4th place overall and the fastest bike split, versus 2nd place overall and an average bike split, what would you pick?
Steve: 4th and 2nd? For me there is very little difference as I race to win. That said, I would rather race with panache and make an impact on the race, than race invisibly to a second place finish.
ST: Can you explain to our readers what your athletic background is and who or what inspired you to race triathlons?
Steve: My inspiration and desire to compete in Ironman triathlon goes back to my childhood in Davis, California. I was always drawn to endurance sports and have always embraced the suffering required to do well. Dave Scott obviously made his name on the roads of Yolo County and was someone I looked up to from the start. My athletic background was specific to cycling for many years and I was fortunate to make a living doing what I loved for more than a decade. I accomplished a lot in cycling and suffered some serious disappointments and it was a search for new challenges and a fresh sporting environment that ultimately drew me to triathlon at the end of 2001. I sought out the advice of Dave Scott and that time and he played a large part in my early success, so it was like coming full circle.
ST: There has been some controversy about your training hours. Tell us how much you train in a week and also what a hard training week looks like for you?
Steve: I won’t go into detail about my training. However I think it would be fair to say that I am unorthodox in the way that I prepare. Currently my training hours are much less than when I had time to train full time, but I believe I am constantly rewarded for twenty years of hard work, most of which I am certain I was over trained. So perhaps I am finally rested enough to benefit from that hard work. Still, given a choice I would choose quality over quantity if you want to increase performance. Very few have the ability (and time) to aggressively pursue both.
ST: Is it strange for you now to juggle career, training and racing? Tell us how do you do it?
Steve: An amazing wife! Sport has been a huge part of my life for so long and I understand well the balance it actually brings to my life. Surely I miss workouts that I would love to do, but I have learned that it is the work you put in over the long haul, versus any one workout, that most consistently pays dividends on race day. It is hard some days, but I am grateful that I have so many interesting things going on in my life. It keeps each of them fresh and keeps me extremely focused. I would certainly be bored, and over trained if all I did was train.
ST: Is there anything you would change about triathlon?
Steve: It would be great to see consistent enforcement of the drafting rules, and more importantly those athletes in question having more respect for the sport, realizing that the real challenge is racing a truly solitary effort to find your personal best.
ST: Do you still deal with sponsorships, or as a Pro realtor do you now just buy what you want?
Steve: I have bought more equipment at retail this year than the twenty years previous. Ouch. Hopefully my recent results will fix that. I have to acknowledge the support of some great companies that have given me equipment since my return to racing: Zoot, Cervelo, Edge Wheels, GU, Giro, Oakley, Cytomax and Team TBB.
ST: Do you follow any other sports?
Steve: I am crazy for sports. I follow them all. Sportscenter is like air for me.
ST: Can you share with us some of your food likes and dislikes?
Steve: I like good food but will eat just about anything. Coffee is my biggest vice and perhaps good California Pinot (thanks to my friend Bob). Otherwise, I eat well but am not obsessed with diet. Of course I am not getting any younger so I may have to start paying attention more. I would last about two hours on Dave Scott’s diet!
ST: What kind of music do you listen to?
Steve: I am big on Canadian Indie bands. They seem to have a great music scene in Toronto and Vancouver. Satellite radio is great for finding the next great band. My shuffle is fairly diverse but leans toward the indie/alternative mix.
ST: What was the last book you read?
Steve: There’s a bunch on my nightstand, but I am so exhausted by 9:30 each night, I can’t remember the last one I finished.
ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Steve: I am certain I will continue to be deep into the soccer shuttle with my five kids. Personally, I hope my re-entry into the sport will allow me to share the passion I have for a healthy lifestyle through involvement in sports. I am not sure what exactly this might entail but I am working on a few things I hope will keep me involved for the long term. I will always compete.
ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Steve: That’s probably enough for now.