Troy Theodos Will be Missed
August 23, 2006 (Boulder, CO) – Boulder triathlete, Troy Theodos, age 34, died Saturday evening in a plane crash near Fort Collins. Theodos, originally from Ruston, Louisiana, came to Colorado over eight years ago from Florida where he had served in the Navy as a rescue swimmer.
Theodos’s love for adventure and endurance sports brought him to the Boulder area where he started working at a local running store while taking classes at the University of Colorado. Theodos could often be seen training with the CU Triathlon Team, the Boulder Triathlon Club and many of the area’s ultra-runners. He competed frequently in triathlons around the state and nation, including the 2001 Wildflower Triathlon as part of the CU Triathlon Team, and the 2002 IRONMAN Wisconsin where his 10:08:09 propelled him to 7th place in the 30-34 age division and 39th overall.
Theodos soon shifted his focus from triathlons to his passion for flying with a goal of obtaining his commercial pilot’s license. He owned a small plane and kept it in a hangar at the Longmont airport. He was a gifted mechanic who made his living by working on planes out of the airport as he advanced toward his dream of becoming an airline pilot.
Theodos, along with his friend, Daniel Hardesty of Loveland, both died in the crash, which occurred at 7:23 PM on August 19 just southwest of Fort Collins, according to local press reports. The two had apparently gone out on a routine practice flight. Weather did not seem to be a factor in the accident, and it is not known who was piloting the craft when it went down. An investigation for the National Transportation Safety Board is still underway to try to determine the exact cause of the accident.
“Troy was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet,” said Adam Hodges, a former roommate of Theodos. “I never heard him utter an unkind word towards anyone. He had a certain aura of southern hospitality about him from his upbringing in Louisiana, but his generosity went beyond that. Troy genuinely cared about those around him and it really came across in his interactions — not only with friends but also with people he’d just met.”
His former coworkers at Runner’s Choice, where Theodos worked for a few years, expressed fond memories of him. They noted the detailed attention he always gave customers. It was not unusual for him to spend hours with a single customer, evaluating their needs and making sure they left with the right pair of shoes to address their specific injury issues.
Theodos is survived by his mother and several siblings. He will be missed by his friends in Colorado and around the country.
The following was written by Eric Brazzel, who grew up with Troy in Ruston, Louisiana.
Wings and Wheels: A Troy Theodos Story
Troy’s path starts way before I met him. I was told he loved to take things apart (in a hurry.) Like the toilet at Cypress Springs School. I was told he could fix anything he wanted to. I found this to be true also.
I first met Troy our 10th grade year in the T&I shop at RHS. Troy seemed to know a lot about cars. Troy loved working on his car to make it go faster. I just wanted to my car to go. I think we complemented each other. He could fix it right and I could Rig it. When his fixing didn’t work my rigging did.
Over the next few years I met most of his family and found them cool in their own way.
Gus had this calmness about him that made you feel welcome. Not to mention the funny walk.
Doris would fuss at us when we came in late, like a good mother should; and always had food for us to eat.
Pete had children older than Troy which made Troy an uncle before he was born. This was hard to understand as a teenager.
Joey was the one with the fastest ATVs. The go-to-guy for getting your ATV fixed. (And he still is.)
Kathy, I met at the bingo hall. She was always happy and smiling.
Steve had the drug dogs, police cars and many kids.
Troy loved pets, from Snuffy the dog to Mocha the rat. He always helped an animal in need.
For years we tried to tear up his mother’s car by doing power slides and burn-outs. (The big white ship.) Troy had cars of his own but they stayed broke down or wrecked.
During high school we had double dates where I watched him get his first kiss from a girl named Leisha Ledford. He swore he was in love. Love came a bit later with Kerry Moran. We three made many sunrises at that old boat shop working on his car or bike, which ever he broke first.
We had a tight group of friends with Clint, Mike, Ty, Cody, Mark and Chris, just to mention a few. Most of us rode motorcycles together, but time passed and Troy and I were the only ones left with bikes. Troy had other friends who most of us called Gear Heads. But they were great, too, as I got to know them while hanging with Troy. (You know who you are!) We had many parties at the lake and you could always count on Troy to bring the “Fireworks.”
I got a motorcycle first but Troy had to get a bigger and faster one. Just like his car, he would take it a part to make it go faster. (And it did, but not for long.) Then back to his mom’s car.
We rode bikes, drag raced and ran from the law. Troy had a problem with popping wheelies, he never knew how high was too high. Then he would wreck. This was the first time I saw him cry. Many hours were spent repairing that bike just to wreck it again.
Summer of 1993 Troy went on a trip with me to Richmond, VA for a wedding. Troy would not think of getting a hotel room. We tent camped every night. I didn’t mind. We took a trip to the beach for Kerry’s graduation. On this trip we went to the Pensacola Naval Air Force Museum. This was the first time Troy told me he wanted to fly. We made another trip to Daytona Beach to chase the girls on spring break. Troy loved it there.
As time passed, Troy’s dreams grew and Troy joined the Navy. Troy found himself flying, but not in a plane. He was jumping from a helicopter as a rescue swimmer in Jacksonville, FL. Troy loved being under water. We met for a dive once at Morrison Springs in Panama City and while diving Troy saved the day for a distressed diver by pulling him to the top and to safety. When by-standers asked, “Who was the guy that saved him?”, I said, “Troy, my best friend.” Troy could hold his breath for over three minutes at a time.
As time passed I found we were growing apart, living our own lives. Troy started doing triathlons; I started thinking of marriage. I called Troy to tell him I needed my best man to come home for my wedding. He did. And boy we were surprised! He had changed (physically.) He was now skin stretched over muscles and bones. (Still no butt.)
Troy had moved to Boulder, CO to train for the IRONMAN. He competed in more races than I could count. My wife Lynne and I took a trip out to see him in 2000. It was Lynne’s B-day and we got her a chocolate cake. Troy had become a health nut. He would not eat the cake. We went to bed and the next morning we woke to find the remains of a cake with no icing at all. He was a sucker for chocolate. Troy had been preparing me for this trip, having me exercise and start running races back home. We ran in the Bolder Boulder 10k race. I finished in 59 minutes; he finished in 42.
Troy loved Boulder for many reasons. It was very beautiful, the fitness capital of the world, and very little smoking. Troy made many friends while riding his bicycle, running and swimming. I was told that the bicycle was his strongest part. He would push the pack just to watch them suffer. Troy’s goal was to qualify for the Hawaii IRONMAN (and he did.)
The next time I spoke with Troy he had started pilot lessons. He got his license and flew. Troy had to have a plane. He found the one he wanted and found a way to get it. Just like all of the other hobbies, he had to have the fastest plane as he did the fastest bike, the best running shoes and the smallest Speedo.
Troy stopped training as much and flew more. To support his habits Troy would do many odd jobs, mostly working on cars, bikes and then planes. As he learned more about planes Troy became an expert in the field. (Many people told me this.) Troy made numerous friends at the airport and would help anyone who asked.
Troy flew his plane home several times and, yes, he convinced us all to go flying with him. He made me so sick. Troy would call from time to time and tell me about something new he was doing. I would listen even though it didn’t mean much to me. But it meant the world to him. Troy had many girlfriends over the years but a few stood out; Kerry, Melissa, Jill, Sarah, Marcia. Troy managed to stay friends with them all.
Troy was proud of his plane and the detail he put in it. Troy became the how-to-guy and many people would seek his help. The last time I talked to him he was about to test fly a jet. He was very excited about this. It was the fastest thing he had ever been in. Although the plane never flew, he ran up and down the runway with the biggest grin on his face. He loved it.
The day Steve and I arrived in Colorado after his death, some friends of his at the airport arranged a memorial for Troy in a hanger near the one Troy rented. About fifty to sixty people came, including a news crew to do a story on him. They offered kind words about Troy and truly stressed how much he would be missed. Troy was loved from the East to the West Coast, but mostly in between.
In my book, Troy will always be “the best man.”
August 29, 2006
The following was written by Chad Hutchens, who was on the CU Triathlon Team with Troy.
I first met Troy Theodos on a fall evening in Hellems 252 on the CU Boulder campus. It was the year 2000, I was 22, Troy 27 (I think), and I was attending one of my first meetings with the CU Boulder Triathlon Team. I had decided to take the plunge into tris even though I had a pretty big fear of swimming and I wasn’t a very good runner. That night I met Troy, being the helping hand he was, he offered to teach me to swim and pick out a good pair of running shoes for me (after he performed a full gait analysis of course.) Over the next few months, Troy quickly became one of my best friends and he will forever be thought of that way in my mind.
Luckily for me, I was a decent cyclist. I rode with Troy more than I swam or ran, probably because it was the only part of training where I could keep up with him…sort of. He was always faster than me, but he’d always turn around and come back to ride with me if he went off the front. Man we had some great times on our bikes pedaling around Boulder. One ride in particular sticks out in my mind. On a spring morning in 2001, we decided to ride the Super-Jamestown route up and over Olde Stage Road and up Left Hand Canyon to the Peak to Peak highway. On our way back down into Jamestown Troy kept talking about blueberry pancakes. We stopped at the cafe in Jamestown for pancakes and it started snowing like there was no tomorrow…and it was noticeably colder. We were woefully underdressed for snow so we packed newspaper into our jerseys to stay warm on what was to be a cold descent down the canyon. On our way down the snow was falling so hard that it stuck to our glasses and at one point we almost decided to walk it got so bad. But Troy being the trooper he was said we’d be alright and he led the way down. Once we made it down to Highway 36 he asked me if I wanted to go back up. He always wanted to do things 150%. One of these days I suppose I’ll go have some blueberry pancakes up in Jamestown just to celebrate my friendship with him.
In the spring of 2001 we went to the Wildflower triathlon in California. By this time Troy and I were good friends and we shared a tent together at the race. He even brought an inflatable mattress for us. Troy was racing the Half IRONMAN on Saturday that year although most of us were doing the Olympic distance race on Sunday. Troy had a good swim and a strong bike leg. The run got the best of him though and he dropped out of the race due to heat exhaustion. When he got to the medical tent he took on three IV bags he was so dehydrated. I was really surprised he dropped out of the race and I could tell he was really disappointed. I asked him why he dropped out and he said because he wouldn’t finish with his best time. Much to my surprise, the next day he raced the Olympic distance and still beat me by a solid 15 minutes. That was just Troy. He took everything he could get out of life. That last week in May of 2001 was one of the best weeks of my life and I’ll always be grateful to Troy for helping me reach my own goals in triathlon.
In 2002 I moved to Texas to go to graduate school in Austin and Troy and I grew apart a little bit over the next few years. Even after I moved to Minnesota and eventually to Montana I always thought about how much I missed training with Troy and just hanging out with him; talking about cars, planes, bicycles, women, and just life in general. Over the next few years I would visit Boulder often…mostly just to see Troy. When he quit training he always said that he was moving onto bigger and better things…he meant flying. I never saw Troy so happy as he was when he flew (well, except maybe when we were blazing down hills, going 60 mph on our bicycles.) I flew with him on more than a few occasions and it was always a blast. The last time I spoke with Troy was in July when he was planning on flying a jet for the first time. He was so excited about it. At the time I was in Colorado Springs visiting my family for the Fourth of July holiday. He had invited my brother and me up to Boulder to watch the flight, but I somehow managed not to find the time to get up there to see him. I’ll forever regret not going to see him this past July.
In the end, I’d like to think that Troy spent the last few hours of his life doing what he loved. Troy was the kind of friend a person meets only once or twice in a lifetime. The thing about Troy was that he had that effect on everyone he knew. He was truly one of my best friends and he will be dearly missed.
September 2, 2006