Dale Stetina gravely injured

Bad news, if you haven’t already heard it: Dale Stetina has been hospitalized following a hard crash in Boulder’s Lefthand Canyon, apparently while trying to avoid an unpredictable motorist.

Dale, 57, is one of the legendary names in cycling on this side of the pond — a multiple national champion, a record-holder at the Mount Washington Hillclimb, a two-time winner of the Coors Classic, and twice a member of the U.S. Olympic team.

Steve Tilford has been in touch with the family, and the word sounds grim, but everyone’s continuing to hope for the best. Please give a thought to Dale, his friends and his family as you enjoy your holiday weekend, and stay safe out there.


15 Responses to “Dale Stetina gravely injured”

  1. Khal Spencer Says:

    Oh, man…that’s awful. I hope he makes it through and is back on his bike.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      What Khal said.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s a hell of a thing. A reminder, as if we need one, that life is short, and the sport we’ve chosen can make it even shorter, sometimes through no fault of our own, even in a velo-centric place like Boulder.

      Poet and novelist Jim Harrison is fond of quoting the Zen teacher Taisen Deshimaru, who said (among other things), “You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair.” Can’t say as I’ve managed to follow this dictum to the letter, but it’s worth trying. You never know what’s around the next corner.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        I have had two really close calls with vehicles, riding on the road, that could have resulted in serious injury or death. All of us here have probably had similar experiences. I was nervous for a few days but never thought of giving up road riding, not yet anyway. For me anyway, the gains in health, both physically and mentally, outweigh the risk for now. I have been retired for 9 years and have enjoyed almost every day. Much of that can be attributed to cycling. What more can I ask for?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’ve had more close calls than that in 50-odd years of cycling — shucks, I had more than that in Santa Fe alone — but I’m not about to give up the activity.

        I have surrendered some once-beloved roads to auto traffic, though. These roads have stayed the same size while the autos got bigger (and their operators got dumber and crazier). There are suitable alternatives, and I use ’em.

        Some of my favorite routes blend residential streets, bike paths, multipurpose off-street trails and single-track. Even so, I keep one eye peeled. I know a guy who got hit by a parks-department truck on a trail — and that’s no shit.

  2. Khal Spencer Says:

    Brain stem injury.


  3. bromasi Says:

    I saw this earlier on the news I was shocked I hope he gets better.
    I had the pleasure of seeing both of the Stetinas race.

  4. weaksides (@weaksides) Says:

    Damn….we all fuck with the bull. Sometimes we get the horns.

    I’ll hold out hope for some form of recovery; but in the absence thereof say that at least he was doing something he loved. I know I’d prefer that over a hospice bed with family standing around.

  5. Larry T. Says:

    It’s hard to know what to type in a situation like this besides the trite “best wishes” etc. The guy was out there at 57 still enjoying what he loved to do, riding his bike. How many guys his age can’t get their fat-ass off the couch? However this ends up Dale Stetina was an inspiration to a whole lot of cyclists, then and now, and he lived life to the fullest I’d bet. Buona fortuna Dale.

  6. Khal Spencer Says:

    I’ve had a lot of close calls, but two bad brushes with death. One when I got vaulted over a VW back in grad school while bicycling to the university during the 1979 gas crisis, when I got between a motorist and a suddenly open space in a mile long gas line. The driver thought I was dead because I was out cold in a pool of blood for about ten minutes. Then I woke up and he thought he had poked a beehive. The other when my car got t-boned by an SUV on a freeway in Honolulu during a motorized clusterfuck in the rain. Both left me pretty rattled. The pole vault over the VW left me out of work for nine months while I rewired my brain. The car crash was relatively minor by comparison, just a nasty bit of whiplash and a motherfucker of a hangover the next day.

    All of that pales by comparison to lying in a hospital with a life threatening brain stem injury. I wish Dale well–as Larry said above, its a tribute to Dale that at an age when many are sitting on their fat asses watching NFL football, he was still, oh, so very good at what he loved. A model of inspiration to the rest of us, regardless.

    Taisen Deshimaru has it right. We never know what is around the next corner. My shrink back in Honolulu, Rene Tillich (yeah, that Tillich) told me once that we go through a tough period when our parents die and we feel mortal. Then we go a long way where we are off on our own. Then our own folks start checking out and we feel mortality again. I wonder if that is tapping on the shoulder.

    Give it Hell, folks. Might as well. None of us gets out of this life alive.

  7. CRJ2 Says:

    family is posting updates better than trying to find it in the news

    some good info on his condition he is moving when his meds start to wear off…..
    hoping for the best for Dale.

  8. Larry T. Says:

    Those close-calls just serve to remind you that life is short. Last one I had involved some moto jerks racing uphill on BOTH sides of the road as I was coming down. I was as far over on the paved surface as I could get (the dirt shoulder would have been a disaster at the speed I was going) and had to think “well, it’s been a pretty good run overall” while at the same time hoping the idiot would finally see me and move over. Felt pretty much the same way the time some guy stuck a gun to my neck while robbing the pharmaceutical warehouse I worked in. Life is short, don’t put off things that you really want to do….and finally, remember when you look back upon your life, do you remember the things you DID or the things you bought? Too often the buying gets in the way of the doing.

  9. Opus the Poet Says:

    The story keeps changing about the wreck to make the driver look better. Originally it was reported he lost control and crossed the centerline all the way to the opposite shoulder and had pulled back onto the road in the opposite lane at speed and the cyclists had to make a mad scramble over the shoulder to not hit him and that Dale managed to find something hard to land on. Now the story is the driver had pulled over to a pullout and had just gotten back on the road when the cyclists came by him and crashed. Serious retconning going on there, including reversing the direction the driver was going at the time of the wreck.

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