Dave Mirra was a BMX Hall of Fame icon with dozens of X Games medals, a video game, and myriad other accolades to his name. He pushed the boundaries of what’s possible on a bike, inspiring thousands along the way. Former professional motorcycle racer turned bicycle racer, Ben Bostrom, became close friends with Dave through a shared passion for triathlon racing. Both men found it to be a great outlet for their competitive natures and the perfect way to stay in shape in retirement.
Being fierce competitors, Ben and Dave set their sights on the highest echelon of triathlon, the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona. During the 2015 season, Ben and Dave trained together towards this goal, feeding off each other’s drive to motivate one another. Sadly, in spite of their best efforts, both men fell short of their goal and failed to qualify. Due to their status as well known athletes, they were offered spots at Kona anyway. And while the gesture was appreciated, the offer was refused—Ben and Dave chose to double down on their efforts for 2016 in hopes of earning their spots. They wanted to know that, when they toed the line at Kona, they’d done the work and deserved to be there.
The action sports world was rocked in early February of 2016 when Dave Mirra’s life tragically ended in what appeared to be suicide. Fans, friends, and family struggled to understand how this could happen to a loving father and husband who had accomplished so much more than most could ever dream of. As it turned out, the champion we all loved and looked up to was battling a deep depression that even he himself most likely did not fully understand. Acting on a hunch, Dave’s wife Lauren requested a CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) test be performed. CTE is a condition of the brain that most often occurs in boxers and football players who’ve suffered multiple concussions, and which leads to severe depression, dementia, and other mental health issues. Prior to Dave’s passing, no one had thought of the possibility of CTE in sports like BMX. The test came back positive and with this stunning revelation, the picture became much clearer—a brilliant star was taken away far before his time.
Inspired by Dave, and wishing to commemorate his fallen friend’s legacy, Ben chose to carry the dream they shared together. After months of intense training, he finished Ironman Coeur D’Alene in a time of 9:56, and in the process, qualified for Kona. Inspired by Dave’s all gold X Games bikes, Specialized created a custom Shiv for Ben to race aboard. Featuring a silhouette of Dave aboard his bicycle, arms outstretched, along with the words “I’d risk the fall, just to know how it feels to fly.”
On October 8th, 2016, with Dave looking over his shoulder, Ben accomplished the goal they set together, completing the Ironman World Championships. Battling excruciating cramps and the brutal heat and humidity of the Big Island, Ben somehow still managed an impressive finishing time of 10:36.
Ben Bostrom, Specialized, Road 2 Recovery and SRAM have teamed up to offer this one of a kind bicycle for raffle, with 100% of proceeds going to a yet to be determined CTE research facility, in Dave’s name, in hopes of preventing similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Details on the Dave Mirra tribute bike raffle and to purchase tickets visit here: www.mirrabostromspecializedr2rraffle.com
For more on Ben Bostrom’s journey from motorcycle racing to triathlon and his time with Dave Mirra check out our June 2016 cover feature here.