Dogs don't just live in the moment-they lick it, roll in it and breathe it in.Bend lost one of its greatest athletes last week. Steve Larsen, who was only 39, collapsed during a running workout at the Cascade Middle School track on Tuesday May 19th and died. Shock waves rippled through the Bend community.
"It was sad and very shocking," said Max King, who was leading the workout. "I had them doing a standard track workout. Four sets of a tempo pace 1000m, followed by a 5K pace 800m. We had just started and we were in the middle of the first 800m. He just went down to the track on his hands then rolled to his back. Some people thought he had pulled a muscle at first. It was obvious pretty much right away though that something more was wrong. We started CPR immediately and within four to five minutes the ambulance was there. Unfortunately in this case nothing we could have done would have saved him. There were several nurses and multiple people trained in CPR. We did everything we were trained to do. I'm proud of the group of people I have out there. They were amazing."
I first met Steve when he was 21 years old and racing for the U.S. National Cycling Team. Two years older than Lance Armstrong, he was definitely one of our brightest young stars. Steve raced on the Motorola team with Lance for three years in the early 1990s, racing in the Giro d'Italia and other major European events. He was probably the only professional to compete in the world championships for road, mountain bike, track, cyclocross, triathlon and off-road triathlon.
Several memorial rides were held last week and a service was held on Saturday near the amphitheater. Steve tragically leaves behind his wife, Carrie, and their five young children. A memorial fund has been started for the Larsen family. Checks can be made to the Steve Larsen Memorial Fund and sent to the address below.
Steve Larsen Memorial Fund, Umpqua Bank, 390 SW Century Drive. Suite 100. Bend, OR 97702
When one of the fittest persons on the planet dies in his prime, it makes us all wonder about the fragility of life. Are you making the most of your short time here? Nothing reminds us to live in the moment more than a dog gleefully bounding across a field or through the water. Dogs don't just live in the moment-they lick it, roll in it and breathe it in.
Finally, there will be many places where you can legally unleash that spirit of joy in the city of Bend. On Saturday May 30th from 11am - 2pm the Bend Metro Park & Recreation District will host a Grand Opening Celebration of seven new or expanded Off-Leash Areas for dogs:
Awbrey Reservoir (NW 12th St. & NW Trenton)
Big Sky (Neff Rd. east of Hamby Rd.)
Hollinshead (NE Jones Rd. north of Revere Ave.)
Overturf Butte Reservoir (Between NW 17th St & Skyliner Summit)
Pine Nursery (Deschutes Market Rd. & Yeoman Rd.)
Ponderosa (SE 15th St. south of Bear Creek Rd.)
Riverbend Beach (Columbia St. in Old Mill District)
"All parks will have a representative from BMPRD and DogPAC as well as newly trained park volunteers to answer questions regarding park rules and responsibilities," said DogPAC Board member Jan Gifford. "Some parks will have ongoing activities such as 'Ask A Trainer,' 'Ask a Vet' and 'Ask a Nutritionist.' There will be lots of entertainment- Frisbee Dog, AKC Show Ring, Agility Demos and a Float Coat Demo at Riverbend. Treats will be available for both humans and their pooches."
For a schedule of activities or more information, visit www.DogPAC.org.
"Park & Rec has been hosting free classes to educate people in responsible off-leash behavior...for humans AND dogs. We encourage all users to be responsible, pick up waste and follow the rules," said Gifford. "Success breeds success."
MOUNT BACHELOR'S REPORT CARD
I thought I'd end a sad column with some good news. Mount Bachelor hosted a Town Hall last week where President Dan Rathbun shared the results of the 2008-2009 season and asked for community input. About 150 people attended the event and the mood was generally positive, with the greatest concern being expressed over lift service and pass prices. Based on Rathbun's responses, we will probably not see much improvement in the frequency with which Northwest and Summit open, but the good news is that prices won't be going up. "We will not have much pricing power to raise pass prices next year," said Rathbun. He'll be introducing a new summer payment plan for season passes which will go on sale in late June.