The Curmudgeon

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I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but never a curmudgeon. That is what the title of an article in the new Velonews about me is titled.  (I can’t seem to call Velo by any other name than Velonews.)   I don’t think it is really a very complimentary word, but I don’t really mind it so much now, I guess.

Chris Case, managing editor of Velo,  called me about a month ago and talked to me for a little while.  I’ve done a ton of interviews in my lifetime and I can usually tell what the article is going to be like, but in this instance, I didn’t have a clue.  His questions were all over the place, as were my answers, which isn’t abnormal for me.

There is a reason that Chris is the managing editor of a magazine.  It’s because he is very good at what he does.  I’ve never been very good at writing, or any subjective subject really, and it always amazes me when I run into someone that it must come easy to.  Plus, the guy is a very good bike rider, which I didn’t realize.  He finished 14th, in the KOM Challenge, a grueling hillclimb in Taiwan, back in November.

A few people had sent me the title of the article and I had thought it might not be so complimentary.  It was very complimentary, nearly embarrassingly so.

They talked to Ned (Overend) and like usual, he just said a bunch of stuff which he thought sounded good.  No really, Ned is one of my best friends, even though he probably doesn’t realize it.   I enjoy talking to Ned about as much as anyone I know.  The guy is funnier than shit, a super dry sense of humor.  Plus, he is very observant of a lot of the same stuff as me, but he’s just “a tad” more politically correct to vocalize it publicly.   Ned is as in tune with his body as anyone I’ve ever met.  (Not that he’s conscious of it though.) He tends to do things that allow him to be successful athletically, as he’s aging.  He surprises me in this regard, because from observing him, you’d think he was a little lazy and uninterested in training, thus racing.  It is exactly opposite the case.  He’s very passionate about cycling and just doesn’t have enough time in the day, or his life, to do all that he wants.

Another surprising observation, at least for me, from the article, is that I never really imagine people talking about reading this website.  And the reason for the article was mainly the blog.  That is what it was initially all about.  Phil Gaimon is doing a little private editorial on each article in the issue and he said he gets links sent to him from friends.  He is mainly talking about posts I write about doping, I assume, and probably one I rant about something or another.  I can’t really imagine a bunch of guys riding along ,talking about something I wrote here.

I don’t know Phil, hardly at all, but he’s one of the good guys in the sport.  He’s just one degree of separation from me, in so many ways.  It is so strange that the guy can have such a phenomenal season and end up losing his Pro Tour contract.  The sport will be better off, and  Phil will be too, riding for Optum this season and not for Garmin.

The last surprise was the magazine itself.  I actually haven’t read a Velonews in a long time.  I haven’t even had one in my hand for the last few years.  It is so weird, because I have 100’s, probably close to a 1000, in my basement.  All the way back to the mid-70’s.  It used to be that every guy in town, that raced, subscribed.  I’m not sure I know someone that does now.  Anyway, I haven’t had a chance to read the whole magazine, but I’m looking forward to it.  What I have read, it is great.  Not the same stuff that’s on the Internet.  Way more in depth and interesting.   I was sort of surprised about how thin it was, only 64 pages.  I hope they are making enough ad money to be viable.  It is really America’s cyclings voice, in print.  I’m going to subscribe again.

I’m going to keep doing this until I don’t like it anymore, which is sort of the way I do all things that I have a choice upon doing.  I get a lot of personal interaction with people that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to encounter, which is great.  Sometimes it is a pain, but not usually.    Anyway, it is what it is.  Through this article, I learned a little what it means to others too.

 

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25 thoughts on “The Curmudgeon

  1. Matt

    A friend of mine and I have been reading your blog for years, and we have referred to you explicitly as a curmudgeon on many occasions. We also think that we are curmudgeonly in many respects too.

     
  2. John Mandrola

    Congrats Steve. Your blog is popular because you are candid and passionate and knowledgeable. These are key components for creating content that people want to read.

    What does Tilford say on this or that topic? The reason people think such is that they know you will speak from the heart. They may not agree with you, but it’s clear where you stand. And this too: You are often writing things that people think but are afraid to say.

    Best to you…

     
  3. Richard Wharton

    Steve – first, I’ll be first to buy your collection of Velonews mags. I have an idea, from an old mentor, who took all of her old “New Yorker” magazine covers, and made them in to a wallpaper in a room, using Papier Mache. Heck, I’ll even pay you to do it for me and then sign it, like a piece of art. It’d certainly look better than if I did it…

    Second – you’re the Zen of Cycling. You ride because you ride. You’ve always been a cyclist. We readers remain in awe of your writing skill, your observations, your opinions (which are well-formed, btw), and the mystery of your perspective. You’re like the big brother we all look up to. You’re the Bike Gypsy who made it work. The vagabond who has made his way without convention. You SHOULD be on the Board at USAC, IMBA, and everywhere else, but you don’t have the time because it’d interfere with what matters, and that’s the ride, the race, the trip, and the rest of your life. I can’t thank you and Trudi enough for all the sharing you’ve given us over the decades. AND, you taught me how to mountain bike, and that gift remains priceless.

     
  4. Sal Ruibal

    If the definition of curmudgeon is a person who sees the big picture and wants others to act on what they perceive to be faults in the system, that could be Steve. To me, he’s the guy who — with Trudi — got me into mountain biking in the 1990s. It became my career and my passion. I’d just be a fat old newspaper guy, otherwise. Riding — and writing — are my life now, thanks to Steve, Trudi and Ned. I wouldn’t be in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame without their support and guidance.

     
  5. John Sandberg

    Steve, your blog is excellent for all the points made by the previous commentators. And also because of Bromont.

     
    1. Neil Kopitsky

      The difference (OK, one of the COUNTLESS differences) between Steve and Tyler Hamilton is that Steve would never swear on Bromont’s soul about a lie. (Pour Tugboat is still in Doggie Purgatory, I fear.) In the first place, Steve would not have to swear on a dog’s soul to convince anyone of his veracity. And if he really felt compelled to tell a whopper, he would keep Bromont, and his soul, out of it.

      I understand Tyler, like all of us, has his challenges. And I hope he is doing well . . . But why Tugboat!?!?

       
  6. Mr. Taquito

    What is this obsession with cleanliness? Cheating, as well as the witch hunt against it are both equally bad, no?
    Let the nincompoops be nincompoops.
    Who really cares if you’re enjoying yourself and can be PROUD and successful in your (clean) accomplishments.
    People appreciate both groups, something I learned from my body building and lifting days… so many pounds of weighty leg sapping muscle ago!
    Just saying… negativity is still negative.

     
    1. Andrew

      Uh, because the cheaters are essentially stealing from clean riders. Sorry bro, but your comment is the dumbest thing I’ve read today. The day is early though.

       
      1. Jeff

        Correct Andrew, but you can take that one step further. Not only are the dirty riders stealing from clean riders but in the case of Steve and many other amateur cyclists, dirty riders are stealing directly from them. If pros need to dope to win and pros need to win to get World Tour points and keep their jobs, then most will dope. As will aspiring pro’s who realize that to continue their upward trajectory they may need to “bend” some rules when the trainer or coach suggests it. Now not only are the pros doping but so are top amateurs and if top amateurs are why shouldn’t the guy that has slaved away for 5-10 years as a cat 1. He used to podium and now all of these aspiring pros on the juice are taking away his prize money and pride. At some point push comes to shove and people either stand up and say “stop”, they bend over and take it, or they become part of the problem. I don’t know Steve, but at least he is willing to say stop rather than become part of the problem.

         
  7. Greg T

    A curmudgeon is defined by Merriam-Webster as ” a person (especially an old man) who is easily annoyed or angered and who often complains”. It’s not a complimentary term at all.

    I wouldn’t take offense by Velo News, or Velo or whatever they call themselves these days calling you a curmudgeon. Their magazine is so thin because they don’t have the readers they used to and can’t get advertisers like they did back in the day. They lost the readers because magazine lost all credibility because of their bad journalism, bad writing and shameless plugs of advertisers’ products. It’s not where you go to get good and honest cycling news. For that, go to cyclingnews.com.

    It might just be a badge of honor to be called a curmudgeon by them. At least you have the balls to give your true opinion and stand up for it, even if people don’t like it. Velo probably feels that you’re taking some of their readership. Good for you.

     
    1. Jeff M

      I used to read VeloNews back in the day, but it got to the point where I’d finish an article and would be scratching my head… thinking… “Just what did they say in this article?” The article danced around nothingness. So, I just stopped reading the paper edition and the online version as well. ONE THING THAT I DO READ CONSISTENTLY THOUGH, IS STEVE’S BLOG! IT’S HONEST, WELL-ARTICULATED, AND INSIGHTFUL. VeloNews could learn a thing or two from Steve.

       
  8. Gordo

    Steve, Velo actually picked some good folks for to profile in that issue and you were a great choice. The Luna Chick Maghalie Rochette is a great example of the young exciting individuals out there racing and experiencing life. Yourself, Matt White, Gary Fisher and Charlie Wegelius are great examples of older individuals who have a great passion and insight of the sport that are continuing to pass it along to other riders. And then there are the normal, popular dudes like Fabian and Lemond. I see you as an observer who states his opinion rather then a complainer. Merry Christmas, Gordo

     
  9. Brian

    Steve,

    What do you think about Phil’s hero worship of Tom Danielson?
    I understand that young pros cannot speak critically of dopers if they want a future in the sport.
    However, there are areas between trashing dopers and hero worship.

     
  10. Bill K

    I’m not a huge fan of Velonews (they remind me of Captain Louis Renault), but I too have a hundred or so down in by basement (along with Winning).

     
  11. carlos flanders

    Subscribed to Velonews for years. Then dropped it because of poor journalism. Renewed about 3 years ago and it’s much improved. Seen some very good articles recently. It still gets me that they worship American dopers uncritically, constantly refer to a certain specialized consultant as a doctor and are mostly praise $10k bikes – but I now look forward to it coming every month.

    Yeah, Phil’s worship of Tommy D and his trashing of every former Race Director he’s ever had mean that I turn over that page.

     
    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Like I said, I don’t really know Phil, other than doing a few races. He is a good friend of my friend, Pat Lemieux and Pat is a good guy. It would be hard racing a full season in support of someone and not convincing yourself it is worthwhile. That was Phil’s case this past season riding for Garmin. He was riding at the front like a mad man on the climbs, in the US races, for Danielson. I was so surprised that Vaughters didn’t give him at least another year to show his stuff. Seems like he deserved it.

       
      1. carlos flanders

        Phil’s book is worth reading, it’s well-written. Lots of interesting insights. His style can seem gratingly flippant after a while, I found.

        The Tommy D worship is hard to take when he’s so forthright about anti-doping. He also has very snarky comments about all his former race directors. I can guess why it took so long to get on a top team and why he’s not in demand from others now.

         
  12. Mike Rodose

    VeloBlues, BellowNews….whatever. It’s a rag. A pathetic catalog.

    We all know it. Tell them. We’ve watched it go from The Bible of USA racing and results and interesting stuff….to a glossy rag, puking out the same industry-led messages.

    Fuck VeloNews. So much potential, but they chose to sell out, take the money and churn out pablum. Greedy fuckers. And they are fat and slow on the bike. Oh…and wait….I heard they hate children, puppies and kittens.

    Tilford’s account of taking a piss generates more interest than VeloNews’ anything.

    DoubleOB. OutOf Business. If not for the pathetic forced USAC relationship, VeloNews would be paying us on a monthly basis. Subsidized, no-skilled pricks.

     
    1. Jeff M

      Freak’n Hilarious—–> “Tilford’s account of taking a piss generates more interest than VeloNews’ anything”

      Thanks bro. I needed a good laugh!

       

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