If you never had the chance to meet Nancy Larson - I'm sorry. If you knew Nancy Larson - and so so many of you do - I'm especially sorry for your loss.
We got to know Nancy in the very very earliest years at Raise the Bar - at least 2004 . Nancy came to triathlon with guns ablazing. She was such a courageous creature! Her humility and silly, giggly demeanor gave me the initial impression that she was maybe nervous? NO WAY. Under that sweet smile and quick laugh, Nancy was a tiger. She earned her way to her first triathlon and eventually earned a slot at Kona.
The following are memories of Nancy our team members have sent to us.
RTB members remember Nancy
Phil Spencer - I remember seeing her many Thursday mornings out in the middle of the boonies cruising along. She was at every race and RTB event with Marty and the puppies in tow. Such a sweet courteous lady. Quite a loss
Jim Tanasse - My favorite memory of Nancy was our last big brick before our first Iron Man in Idaho. Nancy, Denny (Pierre), Kalany (Benoit) and I went out for a 1/2 Iron brick. Nancy put the hammer down on the bike on all of us. She could put out 120 miles in 6 hour pace.... She was a beast for her youthful age on the bike. We finished the brick by running the Soos Creek Trail. It was heavenly. It's so sad to see my favorite training women pass on. Must live every day like its your last..... Heaven all the way to Heaven.
Brian Guillen : To My Good Friend, Bikermomma--
I will always remember you as one of the toughest women around. I know this because I witnessed your mental and physical strength firsthand on the 2008 Ironman World Championship race course. You conquered the most challenging race under the most grueling conditions on the World's stage for all to see. And while the fittest professional athletes only had to face those conditions for eight hours, you--at the age of 57--endured a relentless, athletic torture for 16 hours and 30 minutes!!! You did it!
This strength and perseverance was not uncharacteristic or out of the ordinary for you. It was everything I knew to be Bikermomma. And I smile now knowing that you are still on your golden steed, tucked in a tight arrow position. And, of course, you are rolling through the heavens on Zipp 808's.
Kathy Morrisson- In 2010 a group of women on RTB decided to train for the Oliver Half Ironman together. We hired a coach and did much of our training together. The culmination of the training was the race. There were 8 of us that went to that race together and became known as the "Oliver Girls". Nancy had a blast on that trip. She married young and hadn't had a lot of opportunities to have a "girlfriend weekend". There are many great and silly memories from the trip and I know all of the Oliver Girls are thankful for that opportunity.
Linda McCandless- It’s hard to even imagine she is not with us anymore. I am still in disbelief. She was such an inspiration and an amazing woman. Her positive twist on everything she did or said, will ALWAYS stick in my mind when I think of Nancy. There was never a time I heard a negative statement from her! Her home was always immaculate and on holiday’s decorated to the hilt. We were having an “Oliver Girl’s” gathering this past December on a Monday night: She showed up the Monday night the week prior. She came right in my house, took her shoes off and said where is everyone?! With a BIG hug and Smile; she said, Oh darn, when I told her it was the next week… Another big hug, and a “See you next week”! This was the last time I got to see Nancy. I feel like I have so much more to say, and I am not sure how to say or share it all!
Karen Nolting- I like the story about Nancy at Kona. She had a really tough, windy ride and watched several athletes get knocked off their bikes due to fatigue and strong winds. When she came off the bike she told the transition volunteers she wasn't going to continue. They asked her lots of questions to be sure she was lucid. Is anybody at that point in the game? The volunteers determined she was physically ok. They continued to get her dressed and sunscreened and out the door. Once she was out, what else could she do??? She ran! She found a friend and together they "ran a pole, walked a pole" and together they finished. She always persevered!
Dec. 2013 at a poker run. Rick had just a few more radiation therapies for his submandible salivary gland cancer. But, Nancy ran up to him to ask how he was doing. It took him off guard because he knew she had been fighting breast cancer but went out of her way to see how he was doing.
On the Thursday rides I would sometimes hang back to accompany Nancy. But, I never had to wait long. She would ride up drenched in sweat with a huge smile on her face and giggling happy as could be and saying how much she loved riding with the group.
Kristine Kloepfer- The last time I saw Nancy Larson was a while back at a Thursday ride and she was working hard at getting her cancer recovery fitness. I hadn't seen her for awhile and was looking forward to chatting with her about how she was feeling and just catching up. I had decided to hang back with her during the ride. I should have known that ride would turn into me working my butt off trying to keep up with her. She was an incredibly strong rider. Whenever I hear how much it sucks to get old my plan is to age like Nancy did!!! Strong, Fast, and a Kona finisher!!!!! My admiration for my fellow Oliver Girl overflows and I am praying for all those who loved and lost her!
Alissa Anderson- I really enjoyed riding with Nancy on Thursday mornings. She always had a smile on her face and a kind word to say. Nancy was so strong to the very end. One of my memories of Nancy is often driving past her while she biked up the hill from Winterwood, both of us on the way to Kathy's house for the Thursday morning ride. She was tough and fearless! Love ya Nancy!
Wendy Graves- (This is an excerpt written March 2015 by Wendy) I've struggled with how to phrase this particular post because I didn't want to insult Nancy by calling her "old". But I really wanted to talk about role models. I wanted to talk about women that make me think that I CAN continue to be physical and accomplish new and exciting goals as I get older. I don't believe my glory days are behind me. I think they are still in my future. And watching women like Nancy (and the ones at last night's event) gives me great hope.Thank you to all of the trailblazing women! Thank you Nancy!
Val Newell - I always had a soft spot in my heart for her. She "talked me out of the tree" the first time I showed up at a Wednesday night Lake Meridian workout. I met her in the parking lot and she asked my name and I told her I was so nervous and she giggled and said "oh come on, nothing to be nervous about. " and she walked me over to the shelter and hung out with me. We also had a good laugh at a poker run one Saturday when my Aces beat her pathetic 3's.
I can remember bragging about her to my neighbor I was riding with around black diamond when I met her on the road....over and over again. She was doing a 100 miler training for Kona .There was just something about her that made me feel comfortable. Same with Marty. If her life aspiration was to inspire....Mission Accomplished! She will be missed.
Patty Swedberg - One of the most delightful things I learned about Nancy had nothing to do with triathlons or racing - it was the Larson backyard. Marty's business had him remodeling McDonalds restaurants for many years and in the process they acquired not just a few McDonaldland characters. The older ones of us will remember those....Ronald, Mayor McCheese, the Hamburgler. They are hiding in the bushes of the Larson's backyard, behind the Larson home beautifully and carefully decorated. And that was Nancy - making the world lovely and with surprises and delighted.
Rest in Peace, Sweet Nancy. Our hearts go out to you, Marty, Tim, and Dawn.