The Accomplishments of the Late Steve Tilford

Topeka native and cycling great Steve Tilford was tragically killed in a car accident on April 5, 2017. You may not know the high level of success this Topeka High School alum and member of the Topeka and Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame had in the world of cycling. Here is a brief list of some of his accomplishments.

  • Won Kansas State Road Cycling Championship at age 14
  • Named to the U.S. Junior National Cycling Team in 1978
  • Invited to Permanent Residency at U.S. Olympic Training Center in 1981
  • Began Racing Internationally on U.S. National Cycling Team in 1981
  • Won U.S. National Cyclocross Bike Championship in 1983 & 1984
  • Won U.S. National Mountain Bike Championship in 1983
  • Joined the Levis/Raleigh Professional Team in 1986
  • Finished in the Top 20 five times at the World Mountain Bike Championships
  • Was the Professional Cyclocross National Champion in 1991 & 1992
  • Was the only U.S. male rider to compete in road, mountain bike and cyclocross World Championships
  • Was the only U.S. rider to win National Championship Medals on the road, track, mountain and cyclocross
  • Finished second in the U.S. Olympic Mountain Bike Trials in 1996
  • Won five Master’s World Mountain Bike Championships
  • Won Master’s World Cyclocross Championship in 2012 & 2013
  • Inducted into the U.S. Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Topeka and Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame in 2016

As you can see, Tilford had success across all areas of cycling and was called a master of cycling disciplines. He continued to compete right up until his death, and kept a blog of his exploits and travels with his dog, Tucker. I never had the chance to meet him, but from what I understand he was a genuinely nice guy . He will be missed by many.

Be sure to visit the Topeka and Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame in the library’s Sports Neighborhood where you can see Steve Tilford’s Hall of Fame plaque and check out some of these books from our collection on cycling:

The Bicycling Big Book of Cycling for Beginners by Tori Bortman

The Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling by Ed Burke

Fitness Cycling by Shannon Sovndal

Photos courtesy of the Topeka Capital Journal

I'm the Red Carpet Librarian and work to bring lifelong support services to the Topeka and Shawnee County area through outreach and programming. I also am a sports enthusiast, work closely with the library's sports collection, and provide programming to engage the community's sports fans.