By Jordan Villella
This morning I awoke to my social feed flooded with posts and remembrances of Steve Tilford, shock and sadness filled my mind. It’s hard comprehend giving kudos to someone for a ride and the next day hear of their passing.
Tilford was 59 and just starting to race again after a serious head injury in October required him to stay off the bike for an extended period. He was a true world cycling legend, competing in elite road, cyclocross and mountain events until his last days. With his website and blog, he let the entire world in on his every adventure, he and Tucker (Steve’s canine best friend) taking on the world, one ride at a time. I’ve only raced with Steve a handful of times but every time I did, I watched him, listened to him and took his advice. He was a treasure to the cycling world, I feel privileged to have spent some time trying to hold his wheel.
This morning Steve and his friend Vincent were involved in a serious automobile accident injuring Vincent and claiming the life of Steve. The Salt Lake City Tribune reports the crash was caused by an overturned semi-truck, causing a chain-reaction crash. The driver of a second semi-truck, which crashed into Tilford’s van, also died at the scene due to injuries.
Steve began racing at only 14 years old, beginning with road and cyclocross racing and then transitioning to mountain biking. He’s one of the few top road riders who successfully made the crossover to mountain biking. Amongst his awards are 4 U.S. National Cyclocross titles, 5 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships, 21 Cactus Cup Fatboy wins, and the Iron Otter Award at the Sea Otter Classic, which goes to the rider with the best combined mountain bike stage race and road stage race cumulative time (which sometimes means racing three times in one afternoon). He was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2000.
Our condolences go out to all of Steve’s friends, family and loved ones. It’s certainly a very sad day in the cycling world.