This past couple weeks have been rough for the cycling community, two great riders in their respective fields were laid to rest and to top it off the first ever documented case of “mechanical doping” was discovered. The MTB community lost a great rider by the name of Kelly McGarry, the 32 year old rider past away from cardiac arrest on Feb 1st, he was well known in the downhill scene for doing some of the biggest drops and jumps including backflipping a 72ft gap earning 2nd place at the 2013 redbull rampage. An outpouring of grief and support came from the MTB community in the days that followed his death.
While Kelly’s death was sudden i wasn’t as familiar with him as i was with Dave Mirra who passed away just 3 days later from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Being a BMX rider in the early 2000’s you couldn’t read a BMX publication without an interview or an amazing photo add with Dave defying gravity. I logged many hours on both of his video games that were named after him, Dave was the face of bmx for over a decade.
Dave was a consistant figure in BMX for almost 20 years, turning pro in 92′ and retiring from competition on 2011, during that time he racked up 24 X-Games medals it was the record until 2013. One of the first pro,s i remember to have a signature shoe on DC. Dave mostly completed in ramp and halfpipe competitions but wast afraid to get down and dirty and ride street either. In one of my my favorite BMX videos road fools 9 dave goes on a west coast tour with some of the best street riders of the time. He not only holds his own but actually does some pretty gnarly stuff, in that video Dave goes for a grind down a rail and eats it hard to where his feet hit the back of his head and the crew dubbed it the scorpion grind.
Since retiring from BMX Dave was a decorated triathlete being a sponsored athlete for cervelo. Finishing top 20 in his age group and even qualifying for the knoa ironman. Being extremely competitive it was a great fit for him in his life after BMX.
While being a competitive triathlete would be enough for most people Dave also drove professional for Subaru global rally cross, and also driving with Travis Pistrana in the redbull car. He finished as high as 8th during the season. Once released from subaru dave drove for redbull mini and earning 2 x games medals .
On Feb 4 2016 police found Dave with what appeared to be a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head in his truck. Its hard to see people who you once looked up to so much do something like this, I can’t speculate what he was going through i only knew what he showed on the outside, He left behind a wife and 2 kinds my heart goes out his family and thank him so much for all he did for BMX.
Since Dave’s untimely passing the BMX community has come to show support in the way of painting their pedals gold in remembrance in honor of his gold medal winning gold plated bike. I plan on doing this too on both my MTB and road bike. BMX lost a legend and no one will be able to fill that hole. If you know anyone in crisis please urge them to seek help.