A toast to Tilford

Just got home from Steve’s memorial service. It was extraordinary in every way, an amazing outpouring of love for Steve. Thank you Trudi, Catherine, Stacie, Micheal, Ned, Roy, and everyone else for such an unforgettable day.

Several people asked me to post the remarks I made — here’s the link.

Up since 3:50 AM, just got home an hour ago. And a hot meal was waiting!



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55 thoughts on “A toast to Tilford”

  1. You gave more than just remarks, you gave a fitting testament to Steve’s life for those of us who couldn’t be there. Thanks Seth.

  2. Thank you for that beautiful tribute to Steve. I knew Steve only from his writing, which is also how I know you. I very much appreciate both of you.

  3. Thank you for that. Absolutely beautiful. My one and only Tilford story was getting 2nd place to him in 1984 at a track stand contest in Boulder when I was 14. I felt honored to have him push me off my bike. The only rules were that you couldn’t put a foot down so he won fair and square

    1. Thanks, Dan. Great story. There were hundreds of them floating in the air last night!

  4. Thanks Seth. So well said. I find myself at your site these days, more religiously than in the past, now that Steve’s blog is no longer available to me each morning. No pressure but the two million readers are all looking for a place to go! So please keep your head down, your pencil sharp, and most importantly keep on pedaling.

  5. You, sir, are a fine writer yourself. Thanks for bringing Steve to life, if just for a moment. The way he lived his life is inspiring me to participate more fully in my own and battle back my fears. I bet he would’ve been happy (and rather amazed) to know how much he has impacted strangers far and wide.

  6. Barbara Radnofsky

    I can only repeat the other folks’ comments…beautiful, perfect. Thanks so much. BAR

  7. Thanks for writing. We celebrated Steve on our annual gravel ride/race yesterday which included another “old timer” who raced at the worlds level with ST. The riding effort paled in comparison to the beautiful thoughts in your tribute.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words. An unforgettable day, which fits, as his was an unforgettable life.

  8. A standout tribute to a stand out life Thanks for putting into words what so many of us feel. Still not quite believing that this is happened

  9. A beautiful tribute, thank you for sharing it with those of us who couldn’t be there to hear it in person. What a great life: honest, loyal, and hard as nails. Truly, “one in infinity”.

  10. From a friend:

    I have been reading your blog for a few years. I look forward to reading it with my coffee every morning. Your words about Steve Tilford are the best writing I have read from you. Thank you for sharing.

    Kim Fuess

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this. I read Tilford daily and you occasionally. I know now who will become my daily read.

    What you wrote about Steve so eloquently expressed my own inner thought about the uniqueness of the man and also of the way that he expressed himself. Steve was most certainly a once in several generations man who transcended decades of cycling to mature into a living history book on USA and international cycling. And that is just the cycling part. I learned so much from him on daily basis even if was just writing about putting new brakes on his van or completing a roofing job for a friend. There were life lessons for us readers in everything that he wrote. Our sport and our lives are so much richer for Steve having written all that he did and especially in the way that he did it.

    Thank you again.

    Jim Brenneman

  12. thank you for sharing such a powerful tribute to an inspiring and larger than life character.

    1. I spent two weeks working on it, but it was only thanks to the criticism of my good friend Eric Anderson the day before I flew out that it turned into something I could actually stand up in front of people and say. Thanks for the kind words.

  13. Here’s an amazing note, posted with permission, from one of Steve’s teammates from his Wheaties-Schwinn days, Doug Fitch:

    Hi Seth, Somebody took the text of your speech from Tilly’s celebration and posted it here on FaCEBOOK.

    I pasted it into Word and, since I have a bit of trouble reading on computers, I just had the computer read it aloud to me.

    I’m keeping the document because it reminds me so much of what I love about Steve. When I was young junior rider, Steve was an untouchable idol, someone I hoped to be like one day. Tilly became more of a familiar face after I moved in with his teammate and our mutual friend Roy Knickman. Steve would stay there during “the Coors race” as he usually called it. He was always gracious, smart, witty, and most of all, kind. You can imagine what an honor it was when a few years later I became Tilly’s teammate on Wheaties-Schwinn. I learned so much from him. Even though I was now a pro, there was always something I could gain from his debriefings after each race. I looked up to him like a big brother and I always felt comforted by him. Maybe he sensed my nervousness, uncertainty, and fear of letting him and the other guys down, but he always made me feel at ease and gave me confidence.

    Every race as teammates, and I DO mean EVERY race, I would go to him to hear his thoughts. If I was in a position to do well, even win, he’d tell me not only what to do, but that I he knew I could do it! What an unbelievable experience to have one of my heroes as a teammate telling me I could do it and he would support me.

    When I retired from racing, I went to college and eventually got a doctorate in psychology. You can be sure that Tilly’s influence is with me. I really despise the high and might bullshit approach to working with real people and their real problems. I still want to be like my teammate, my hero, my friend, Steve Tilford.

    Thank you for capturing him so well in your words. They bring tears to my eyes for the second time now.

  14. My heart jumped when I went to Steve’s blog and saw a new entry. Then I read your words … and then I read them again. All the usual adjectives just don’t seem adequate so I’ll just say, your writing hit me like a ton of bricks. Nicely done.

  15. Seth, just wanted to say you did a top-notch job!!

    Powerful words

    I still can’t believe he’s gone…

  16. Steve has been talking to us for fourteen years now. I know you miss him. We all do. But if you take the time to go back to his words, you’ll find that he’s talking to us still. And will be. 

    Thanks for this. I needed to read you words.

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