I’ve known Otto Wenz pretty much since I started racing bicycles. I went to Superweek and broke my collarbone after just a few races. I drove home, then back to the National Championships a few days later, which were at the Lakefront. Otto promoted both events. I remember him handing me an expense check, courtesy of the USCF, as I was the Kansas Intermediate State Champion and thus earned travel expenses to the race.
That was the very first time I met him. Over the years I got to know him. Otto is a doer. He did so much for sport of cycling, it amazed me. He promoted the entire Superweek stage race for year after year. Sometimes it seems he pretty much sponsored it completely himself. He served as president of the USCF (USAC) for a few years during the late 70’s and really contributed to the growth of the sport.
Otto helped bring the Junior World Championships to the US in 1978 and the World Road Championships to Colorado Springs in 1986. He had the vision. Deservingly, Otto is in the Bicycling Hall of Fame.
I started travelling to bike out of state bike races at Otto’s events. He helped me so much over the years. When I was a junior, I was pretty much living hand to mouth. Otto would let me race his events and if I won prize money, he would deduct the entry out of my prizes and then give me the rest. I think he did this for a lot of guys. There is no way that I would have been able to race these events without his generosity.
His races were the best competitions of the year. Everyone, I mean everyone, that raced bicycles, at the time, raced events that Otto Wenz promoted. Virtually the whole National and Olympic teams attended year after year. He did it right and gave the United States a very good foothold for growth.
Otto has been ill recently. He was in hospice and has son Michael was posting updates on Facebook. Late last night, Otto passed away.
We could use more Ottos, but there is and will only be one. I personally wish him peace and want to thank him for his selfless contributions to his friends and to the sport of cycling. He will be missed by many.