By Bill Plock
Does death reflect life or define a life or just mark the end of one? Steve Clagg lived life to the fullest and to the end; he died as he lived. He passed away on June 17th in a bike crash as he lost control descending Kerr Gulch and died instantly upon impact. He was with a group, but they had spread out and there were no witnesses and it’s not known how he crashed. His tires were not flat and no cars were known to be in the area and there were no other obvious possible causes. But no doubt he was doing something he loved until the end. His life revolved around cycling in many more ways than just riding.
Steve will be missed in the cycling community immensely. Even if you didn’t know him, he may have impacted you. If you rode Ride the Rockies, or know a kid that received a bike from a company partnering with Wish for Wheels, or benefiting from being part of the Front Rangers Cycling Club he touched you. If you raced with him and felt his tenacious “never give up” attitude and pushed more yourself–you felt him. His energy was boundless and contagious. He was the consummate volunteer, cheerleader and leader of adventures and rides and always made sure everyone else had a good time. He smiled big when he was on his bike or helping others and everyone smiled back.
Steve’s tenacity, grit and joy were felt when some of his teammates from RacerX gathered in Deer Creek Canyon to ride one of Steve’s favorites routes. It wasn’t an easy route, climbing over 5,000 feet in just 40 miles. It was the kind of ride he loved—that grueling test with friends and of course time at the end to laugh, have a beer and tell stories.
I asked people to describe Steve in words: these are many that were said…
Happy. Smiling. Tenacious. Adventurous. Generous. Loving. Giving. Selfless. Passionate. Stubborn. Beautiful. Joyful. Full-of-life
Stacey Young, a close friend who was with him that day said, “he was selfless, he made an impact, he gave it his all and he touched everyone he met.”
His smile and warmth is a common description if you asked his friends and teammates. Amiee Dupont of RacerXcycling, a race team Steve joined in 2019, said of Steve’s foray into bike racing late in life, “no matter where he was he smiling. He may have been in last place but kept pushing hard. He was so inspiring.”
Steve gave back to numerous cycling organizations and had just finished a long career with Aurora Public Schools as the Chief Information Officer. He told Executive Director of Wish for Wheels, Brad Appel, how excited he was for his “next chapter” where he could ride his bike more and work with more organizations.
Brad met Steve on Ride the Rockies volunteering and spent the next 6 years as tent mates at the annual ride. “I always just wanted to give him a hug. He was just so positive, and helped me at Wish for Wheels immensely. He was always the first one to help and the last one to leave.” When asked how Brad would’ve described Steve to one of the kids Wish for Wheels served, he said, “oh man, I would’ve said here is a guy who will take you on the most fun, adventurous ride you will ever have, you are in the best hands ever.”
Long time friend John Genell, Chief Ambassador of the We Ride 4 Organization recalled, “Steve was the guy that you loved riding with because no matter how hard the ride was, or how crappy the weather he never said anything. He just rode it. So you just followed him as if it was any other day because that’s what he was doing. He was always willing to help with our non-profit. He was just one of those guys you called to go for a ride or grab lunch or a beer when you needed to make your day feel better”.
Steve also supported the Front Rangers Cycling Club and loved coming to their training rides. Sue Lloyd, a Front Rangers coached commented “Steve interacted with the kids in a kind, gentle way, as he did with everyone. He gave advice, filled water bottles, helped kids with their equipment, and was always willing to ride with the slowest of kids”.
Steve also volunteered at MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation and was a very involved individual participating in Sand Volleyball, Snowboarding. He met many of his friends through these activities and was known well in these communities.
Steve was born on October 23, 1964 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He grew up in Seward, Nebraska where he attended St John’s Lutheran School through 9th grade where he was also confirmed. He graduated from Seward High School in 1983, went on to college at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. He was on the Dean’s List, belonged to Sigma Nu Fraternity and Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity. Steve received his MBA from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business in 2008.
Whatever the cause, those that knew him describe his smile and zest for life more than anything else and no doubt in those final moments Steve was where he would’ve wanted to be—on his bike. It’s hard to imagine him wanting to be anywhere else.
Steve is survived by many family members and his son Dillon, who he adored. He shared his love for the Colorado Rockies, traveling, skiing and snow boarding with him.