“See you tomorrow Steve”

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I was thinking about how the really small things that happen to you in the sport of cycling can make a big impact on your ability to race a bike fast. Obviously, it takes a lot of mental strength to get to the top level of the sport. I never put much thought into the mental aspect of the sport. That was a big attraction of it for me. I enjoyed, and still enjoy, seeing how I personally deal with situations as they arise. And I like to observe how others handle adverse and critical situations too.

I was thinking about when I really knew that I had a shot at becoming a good bike racer. It was something that wouldn’t seem to be obvious, except to the person it changed.

I can’t tell you where I was or what the year was. I had to have been either 19 or 20. I had been traveling around the country doing all the best races I could get to. It must of been a race up in Wisconsin, maybe a Superweek race, or Wisconsin Milk race or maybe even Boul-Mich in Chicago. We had just finished a hard race and I was just riding back to the parking and Thomas Prehn came riding up and started talking to me. Thomas was already on the US National Team and I knew of him and of his results. He was very good. I was sure he didn’t know who I was.

I don’t remember what we were talking about or why he approached me to start with, we might of been in a break together, it doesn’t really matter. What did matter was when I turned off to go to my car, Thomas said, “See you tomorrow Steve.” I couldn’t believe that a guy like Thomas Prehn would have any idea what my name was. I was perplexed and thrilled at the same time.

I went back to the car and thought it about it and took a huge pride in knowing that he knew who I was. I knew at that time, I must have made some impression on him and that I was breaking into a new level of the sport. It gave me an inner confidence, really changed my perception of myself. One word, my name. It is strange.

Thomas and I went on to race against each other for the next 5 or 6 years until we eventually became team mates on the Schwinn team. We traveled around the country and the world together for 3 years. I got to know him well. I never told him this story. By the time we were riding together, we were peers and friends. And it didn’t really seem to matter. Now, looking back, it was a pivotal moment of my life. It might have happened anyway, some other obscure sign or way, but now looking back upon it, I’m glad that it was Thomas that said my name.

Thomas won the Professional National Road Race in 1986.

This is his hero card from when we were team mates.

7 thoughts on ““See you tomorrow Steve”

  1. BRUCE

    It is really interesting to hear a human side story to cycling.

    I was a competitive runner in the 80’s-90’s and while that may seem boring vs. cycling the runners were full of stories about how fast they ran, how fast they will run, their training….. After a non running injury I switched to cycling and was surprised by the lack of stories told. It seemed it was just a I’ll show you that I can beat you today. I even tried to get some of the past cyclist who were no longer racing to talk about racing and training but just didn’t get too many colorful stories. Runners you couldn’t get them to stop talking.

  2. channel_zero

    BTW, look at all the people in that finish line shot you have of Mr. Prehn. How many USA Cycling events can come up with a crowd like that in 2012?

  3. TerrtT

    Channel.zero, I remember my races from the late 70’s and most of the 80’s with Hugh crowds lining the course, Capital Crits in Madison and Iowa city, Snake alley, Quad City, Old St. Anthony, Philly, Nevada City the list went on and on. Watching my son, only races like that now, Tulsa? Dana Point? Pretty good turn out for Tour of Calif, and Colorado but nothing like Red Zinger/Coors. The year Lance, Levi and Chris Horner raced Nevada City reminded me a little of the Greg Lamond and John Howard years.

  4. Ken Webb

    The best I ever got was an “I like your shoes” from Wayne Stetina at the ’75 Tour of KC, as I walked by with my new green and yellew Nikes. Loved those shoes, and as a 15 year old kid, it made my day.

    Steve, had I known you were destined for cycling immortality, I would have had a greater appreciation for getting my butt kicked by you at the time.

  5. Channel 11

    @ Channel Zero, that’s because USA Cycling in its current structure is full of retards who don’t care about the growth of cycling in the US.

  6. Redzing

    Cycing in the 1980s in the U.S. was a huge deal. Huge crowds would come out for even medium sized events. Perhaps the appeal has worn off a bit these days. . . . I think partly to do with its lack of novelty. Having been a competitor and fan for 28 years, I know the novelty has certainly worn off for me, and I kind of think competitive cycling is on a downward trend in the U.S. and may fade into obscurity once again–which would be OK.


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