Come late summer, Steve Laurel starts to succumb to a general, overriding antsiness. For the Longmontster, father of three, and Account Manager in the semi-conductor industry, it’s a feeling somewhat akin to back-to-school jitters. Only this restless anticipation is for cyclocross season, and for the much longed for muddy, brutal, concentrated pain. For the perfect storm of intensity that amounts to, for Steve and the many caught up in the magic of ‘cross, a crazy amount of fun.
As a college student, Steve competed in road cycling. Racing was a significant part of his life, something he felt in the back of his mind would always be there. But life evolved as it does, bringing new work and family commitments, and things changed. About twelve years ago, approaching his 40th birthday, Steve took stock of where he was, and he wasn’t happy with his conclusions. “I wasn’t physically or mentally healthy,” he says. “I was depressed. I had high cholesterol. I was over my optimal weight. I was not in a good place.”
Steve chose to make his reflections a starting point, using them as motivator not as albatross. He made it a goal and priority to get healthy again. “I went out and bought myself a new bike,” he says. “I made it a goal to get active. A friend who raced got me back into riding and racing. I started doing some road racing and mountain biking. I tried my first cyclocross race and was hooked.”
The journey back to fitness wasn’t easy, or overnight. It wasn’t a matter of just jumping back on the bike. “Getting back took a lot of patience and persevering,” Steve says. “It has been a 12-year evolution, really. It took me a number of years just to get back to where I wanted to be in terms of weight.” But the work and patience paid off, as it tends to do. Now entering his 12th year of cyclocross racing, Steve is modest when asked about his accomplishments and in his words, doesn’t really like to talk results. But he consistently places in the top five in his 50+ age group, no minor feat in our athletic community. “If I can consistently place well, I’m happy. I’m competitive but it’s not the driving force. It’s about participating; showing up and putting the number on and doing the best that you can for that day. Race safe and technically sound. I go as hard as I can on the day, and that’s all that matters.”
Results aside, the bigger picture is what ultimately matters most, and brings the most joy. I just want to shape a positive, healthy future, and hope I can continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Steve says. “I’ve always loved cycling and racing helps me put some structure and focus so that I stay active. Sure, I enjoy competing but what really drives me is the process of training for racing. Having goals is important. The discipline that comes from the structure of this hobby I am passionate about carries over to other parts of my life. One of the biggest inspirations for staying active is seeing people much older than me still cycling and I strive to be able to ride bikes as long as I can.”
Your commitment and inspiration inspires us, Steve! Thanks you for sharing!
LWL: How long have you lived in Longmont and what brought you and your family here?
Steve: We moved to Longmont four years ago from Minneapolis. My wife Deidre was born and raised in Boulder, and we met there; I had moved to Boulder right after college. We lived in Minneapolis for 16 years but had always been interested in moving back to the Boulder area. When a job opportunity came up that facilitated making that move, we took it. Coming to Longmont was a lifestyle move. Longmont has a lot of positives, including affordability and easy access to good riding.
LWL: You shared that you were hooked on cyclocross from your first race. What draws you to it?
Steve: I love the discipline. It’s 40+ minutes of all out racing so you know the pain has a limited length of time! And I really enjoy the laid back cyclocross scene although racing in Colorado can be a bit intense. My goals are pretty simple: pin a number on, have fun and keep my bike upright! Results are just a bonus.
LWL: What do you and your family do to enjoy physical activity together?
Steve: We walk our dogs every day around the paths and trails by our house.
LWL: What do you do as a family to prioritize healthy eating?
Steve: We eat at home a fair amount. My wife is a great cook who understands nutrition.
LWL: What is your favorite healthy food?
Steve: A soy fruit smoothie after a hard weekend ride.
LWL: What would you like to see in a healthy Longmont future?
Steve: I think Longmont is doing some very positive things when it comes to developing trails and paths for walking and biking. Keep up the great momentum!