Gilbert-4 in a Row, Big Deal

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My record is 7 races straight. Obviously, those races are not even close to being on the same level as the last 4 Phil won, but it was still winning nearly a month straight, racing Saturday/Sunday, for 4 weeks.

It started in Kansas in the Spring of 1982. I won a couple races in Kansas, which was not out of the norm. Then I went down to Oklahoma and raced the Tour of Talimena. It was a important race that was two very hard, climbing road races. I won both days. They need to resurrect that race. It is unbelievably hard, steep, climbing, in the mountains in Eastern Oklahoma.

The next weekend was up at Iowa City. There was a criterium in a park followed by the Iowa City Criterium around the Old Capitol. The Iowa City Criterium is a Classic. I won both days there during my “streak”. My friend, and then team mate, Paul Biskup was 2nd both days. It is amazing to think that was 30 years ago. I won the same criterium in 2009. It is this weekend. Click here for the flyer.

The final weekend in Minneapolis was the most interesting. It was the most stacked field. There was a lot of money for the weekend. I think LeMond might have been back for it, but don’t know for sure. 7-11 was there for sure. I don’t think Davis made it there until the 2nd day. The first day was in a business district. I don’t remember the exact play by play, but I got away with a few guys and won the sprint. I remember them announcing me to the podium and then saying that I’d won a futon, along with the prize money. I thought, what is a futon. I asked the other guys there and they didn’t know. So, the rest of my team went back to the van and packed up and I went over and got the futon. I remember walking back over to the van, carrying the futon, and everyone was joking about how I won a bed. I ended up sleeping on that futon 100’s of times back at Michael’s Cyclery in Ames. It was rolled up in the back of Michael’s office.

The next day was longer course around a lake. I don’t know what lake. It wasn’t a good course for me. No hills, completely flat, with no corners. Plus, a long finish stretch. I ended up getting in a big pileup about half way through the race. It was a longer loop, so there weren’t any free laps. I got up and chased back on, but it took forever. By then, Davis and a a few other guys were up the road. I raced another 15 minutes or so and the head official, Andy Bohlman, who also was a mechanic for our team, came motoring up and casually asked me if I was missing something. Andy is a really nice guy, but was a hard ass official. I had no idea what he was getting at until he held out his arm and he had my hairnet helmet in his hand. I guess it had come off in the crash and I’d been racing without it the whole time since. Andy just handed me the helmet and didn’t say another word. Pretty nice. Anyway, we never caught the break, so that was the end of it. I think Davis won the race, which he probably would have 9 times out of 10 on that course.

The sport was not nearly as competitive back then. I don’t think that there is a way someone could even cherry pick 7 races and expect to win all of them. That is what makes Phil’s last 10 days so unbelievably impressive.

Paul and I on the hill in Iowa City.

The newspaper clipping for the finish in Iowa City. It is amazing how many spectators were at all races back then.

A photo from the ridge on the Talimena Scenic Drive. The loop that goes nowhere. A wonderful place to ride a bike.

Click here to see a map of the location.

10 thoughts on “Gilbert-4 in a Row, Big Deal

  1. Joe Saling

    Where is Paul living now? His family lived here in Bridgewater, NJ for a few years. He was the classic “you’ll never meet a nicer guy,”
    Hi to Trudy.

  2. Tom Gates

    Steve, I think it was ’82 when I did Talimena, I remember wondering why so many guys had big cogs on the back – and then finding out why. If I’m not mistaken, you were out west early in the year and did the Tour of Baja and Bisbee – good training for the start of your streak.

  3. Pingback: Rewind – Old Cap Crit ’82 – Photos | Iowa City Cycling Club

  4. Webhed38

    After looking at that first picture, I am wondering if Paul didn’t play the part of Barry “The Cannibal” Mussin??

  5. Ed Morris

    I like the newspaper article saying that 250 “Bicyclers” participated. I didn’t know “Bicyclers” was a real word. But if it’s in the newspaper it must be.

  6. old guy

    +1 on reviving Talimena.. was it Steve Jennings and the Tulsa crew that promoted it? I think they stopped after ’84 because one of the racers hit a pole on the descent and died.

    It’d make a nice gran fondo too, for that matter. Those little towns could use the revenue.

  7. Franz Rinkleff

    I believe I have slept on that futon several times as well. I never once wondered where it came from.

  8. Chris Hayes


    I remember Biskup riding off the front in Moline in the rain. He just kept going faster and faster until he fell. I remember him recounting this story and that he had done it on purpose so he know how fast he could go in the corners.

    I won Old Cap in ’87 and ’88. I highly doubt I will be winning it again, but if your math holds, 2014 or 2015 should be my year.



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