Ever since we covered our first USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Kansas City in 2007, Steve Tilford has been part of our lives, and will continue to be, despite his sudden, shocking and premature passing yesterday.
Tilford was a joy to speak with and interview, as he was never afraid to speak his mind on a topic at a race or on his blog, and often it was to the benefit of the "average" cyclocross racer. Tilford offered reasoned opinions on anything from USA Cycling rules to packing for cold weather races. Some considered his post-race words to be cocky, but when considered in the context that he was so dominant in his age group, they were simply honest.
Journalists and media hope athletes will speak their minds instead of reciting clichés and rehearsed soundbites, and in Tilford we found a reliable, informed, accomplished and opinionated interviewee.
In memory of the cycling and cyclocross legend, we've put together a few of our interviews (in text and video) with Tilford over the years. Relive a tiny bit of his life, wisdom and spirit in the clips below.
Steve Tilford Interviews Over the Years:
A Shift in Focus to the Masters Title
“The Masters race starts to become more important as the Elite race becomes less important,” Tilford revealed after his Masters 50-54 title win in 2012 in Verona, Wisconsin.
Tilford took a dominant win at Nationals before heading to Lousiville to contest a Masters Worlds title. After years of caring more about the Elite race, Tilford started to accept the aging process, as well as the difficulties of a poor start position in the Elite race.
“When you can win a race, compared to finishing 30th, you know, it’s always better.”