A grieving Nanaimo mother who raised a superstar in the cycling world only to lose him at his prime is marking a heartbreaking anniversary this week.
It has been a year since the tragic accident that claimed the life of Steve Smith.
Looking back at her time with her now famous son Steve, Tiana Smith says there’s no way they couldn’t have been as close as they were. Their money went to his racing with no room for extras that would have separated them.
“There were a lot of times we were at races I would sleep in the front of my little Nissan pickup he’d sleep in the back,” says Smith. “If we had the money for a cheap motel we were sharing a bed there was no way there was two in it,” says the Nanaimo woman laughing.
Making his tragic death last year at the age of just 26 at the peak of his mountain biking career that saw him dubbed the best in the world, all the harder for the single mom.
“Yeah lots of love going on there,” she says.
She has channelled her grief into building Steve’s dream in the hometown he loved. A park that the cycling icon talked about building himself, the last time he visited with his mother before his death.
To mark the anniversary of his passing, Nanaimo’s cycling community is showing her she is not alone. They are Turning out by the dozens to help build this Nanaimo bike park that will bear Steve’s name.
“Steve he was an inspiration to so many people,” says his friend Jordie Lunn, who is helping build the park. “And you know people want his name and his legacy to live on.”
The park has already been largely built through donations and money raised through the community.
“Everything from dirt and pipe to trucking, signage,” says Lunn.
And his famous friends from the global cycling circuit are expected to fly in to lend a hand too, before it opens August 9th.
“It’s so amazing to know so many people love your child,” says Tiana Smith.
Helping this mother keep her son’s name and dream alive in the city he loved and learned to cycle in.