Some very sad and horrible news: Cycling and cyclocross legend Steve Tilford was killed in a car accident early this morning. Tilford was 57 years old.
Tilford and his friend Vincent Davis were involved in a highway accident just after midnight near Grand Junction, Colorado.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a semi truck began drifting off the road, overcorrected and then overturned. Tilford’s Sprinter van hit the trailer.
According to Davis, both he and Tilford survived the initial accident but then another semi truck, in Davis’ words, “came crashing through.”
The Tribune reports Tilford was standing next to his vehicle at the time and was struck and killed.
Tilford lived life to the fullest, especially after his near-death training crash last October.
Cyclocross National Championships never felt the same without Tilford in attendance, picking up another stars and stripes jersey to add to his closet full of rainbow striped and starred jerseys.
The legend barely slowed down. Just three weeks ago, Tilford won the local Perry Dam Cat 1,2,3 road race, and this past season, Tilford was lining up with top European and American cyclocross pros in the UCI C1 at Jingle Cross:
Tilford was a four-time World Championship team member on the road, the U.S.’ first Mountain Bike National Champion with his victory at the first-ever NORBA Nationals in 1983, and a four-time Elite USCF Cyclocross National Champion.
However, the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee was more than just a racer, but was an advocate for the weekend warrior. After Jingle Cross, Tilford helped start the conversation about the 80% rule that pushed USA Cycling into make changes this past season.
Tilford was outspoken on many issues within cycling via his blog, but had a sense of humor as well, listing a third place in the 2014 Tour de France Stage 5 among his palmares, and played along with our April Fool’s donut race post last year and had his own April Fool’s fun as well.
Stay tuned for updates on this incredibly sad, horrible news.
Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.
R.I.P. Steve Tilford. We’ll miss you dearly.
See our tribute to Tilford in our Throwback Thursday collection of interviews with the legend.