Ben Larsson was in the midst of racing IM New Zealand in March. The grueling hills, ruddy road surface and wind had nearly knocked the power out of him. Near the end of the bike portion, a knight in shining armor flew past him. Well, it was actually a fellow rider on a Dimond, but we can see how the two are easily confused. Ben turned to said rider and promised him, “If I ever do this race again, it will be on one of those.” Fast forward to present day and Ben is riding on a customized Dimond. His ride is fully decked out with Dura Ace Di2, Pro Missile bars, TriRig brakes, Power2max power meter, Rotor cranks, QXL rings and a Pro AeroFuel saddle. And don’t forget about the Lizard Skin tape.
But why the fluro yellow? We would like to think because it’s awesome. But, it is actually a safety precaution.
Early in Ben’s cycling career, he was training for Melbourne with hopes to qualify for Kona. Three months before his first race, a car cut in front of him. Ben was flying at 50 km per hour in the aero position. In order to avoid hitting the passenger window, he jerked to the left in hopes he would fly over the hood of the car. Ben awoke on the side of the road with a fellow cyclist standing next to him.
His first thought, “There goes my Ironman!”
Ben didn’t qualify for Kona that year, but he did race Auckland 70.3 five weeks after his accident and Geelong 70.3 another four weeks later. Yes, he raced while recovering from two broken vertebrae, broken left scapula and a brain bleed. How is that for being brilliant under pressure?
Ben made a conscious effort to buy bright yellow cycling clothing after his accident. His helmet, shoes, running gear and even budgy smugglers (or speedos for the Yanks) come in one color: bright yellow.
Of course, when it came time to pick a paint job for his custom Dimond, he couldn’t pass up the chance to splash a fluro yellow on it.
After we shipped his bike to him, Ben put about 6 km on the bike, then promptly packed it up and flew to Bordeaux, France for a 3 week training session ending in the Pyrenees. He put it to the test with grueling hill repeats, climbing, intervals and even climbing the Tourmalet in the aero position (ouch!)
What does he think after his stint in France?
“I love, love, love the bike.”
Ben wrote about his journey to qualify for Kona in 2014. We think he perfectly sums up the crazy endurance race called Ironman:
“So what is Ironman? To the uneducated, it is a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and then a marathon 42 km run. I will be out on course for over 9 hours eating sugary drinks and gels all day. Enough not to bonk , but not too much as to get stomach cramps while being forced to piss myself several times throughout the day.. My arms and shoulders will ache on the swim. My legs and back will be killing me on the bike, and on the run, everything will start to hurt, especially my feet. My brain will start to tell me thoughts of why I should stop and just end the suffering. I will have to try and find my happy place while pushing myself to the maximum pain I can withstand but measured enough to get me to the finish line some 9 hours later where the magical words will be reward enough for all this suffering. ‘Benjamin Larsson you are an Ironman.’ Ironman to some of us with OCD is more addictive than any drug but Ironman is still the most ridiculous sport ever invented. That is why I love it.”
Watch out for Ben in his second Kona appearance along with nearly 40 other Dimond athletes. He will be the guy in a custom bright yellow tri suit on a sleek and sexy Dimond bike. You won’t be able to take your eyes off of him.