|Newspaper clipping from the
Chicago Tribune listing riders to watch. Lots of historic
figures show up. Schwinn's presence in Chicago meant that
midwest produced it's share of top riders.
|ABLA President Otto Eisele has a message in the race program praising the sponsoring club, the South Chicago Wheelmen.The Amateur Bicycle League of America was the governing body of the sport. In 1975 the ABLA became the United States Cycling Federation, the forerunner of today's USA Cycling.|
|A photocopied picture from
Tyger's scrapbook. Riders are dismounting even though there
is no barrier in the picture. Perhaps noted framebuilder and
rider Oscar Watsyn is enforcing a mandatory run section, I
Theo Kron is shown here presenting Tyger with his
national champion's medal after the race. Kron passed away
in January, 2009. The Kron family had a high profile in
the midwest for many years. Theo Kron worked as a mechanic
at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
|An article in the Staten
Island Transcript, probably planted by someone in the ABLA's
office in New York. Top placings are listed here, The podium
was Johnson, Kron, and Tom Veitenhaus of Milwaukee.
4th place is not listed but 5th was Willi Kron.
John Hood took 6th. Hood was one of the co-founders of the Moline Criterium along wth Roger Delange and his brother Rene. The Moline Crit, relocated to Rock island in 1997 and retitled the Quad Cities Criterum, at 43 years is about the 3rd longest continuously organized race in the usa.
A Junior race is mentioned but is lost after the jump.
|Ever wonder what a
national championship medal looks like? The ABLA used to
hand out these:
|23 year old Tyger Johnson
poses with the 1st place trophy. Good thing he's young and
strong, it's pretty big.
|This one is worth a read.
It was too big for the scanner so I took a picture of it.
The article is from the Rockford Labor News. The quality is
not the best but fans of old bikes can tell that Tyger rode
a Schwinn. Which isn't a shocker, I guess.
Included are details of his training regimen, which consisted of regular sessions at Rockford's Blackhawk Park, a multi-state summer vacation tour, commuting to work, and lots of racing.
He also relates a story about hitting a piece of wood in
the road while drafting a truck and eating it at high
speed... "the next few days were really pain- filled".
This is good stuff.
|Cyclocross in the press...
Sports Illustrated runs a 'Faces in the Crowd' feature
where they highlight outstanding athletic achievements by
ordinary people. In the Nov 11, 1963 issue that was Leroy
|National Championships in Cyclocross were
conducted from 1963-1969 in the Midwest. The winners were as
In 1989 Nestor Evancevich took up the case to have those early events recognized. At the time he was the USCF District Representative for Illinois. This is correspondence between Mr. Evancevich and Ernie Seubert, confirming the status of those early races with the USCF.
To: Nestor Evancevich
The attached letter was mentioned at our recent technical commission meeting and I agree that these were Official National Cyclo Cross Championships. While I do not have any written confirmation I was on the board of directors at that time and do recall that they were held with the blessing of the ABL of A. - I also recall their being dropped at a later date but I thought it was about 1970 or 1971-, not certain of this.
Would it be possible for you to check with Herman Kron & Tyger Johnson and see if they still have their medals? I am certain that awards were given and this should be all the proof that we should require. If it meets with your approval, I will personally present this to the technical commission & the board of directors and have the oversight corrected - but please check on the medals.
Handwritten letter from Ernie Seubert to Nestor Evancevich.
Nestor, I have resolved this - The Technical Commission agreed that the names should be listed as Past National Champions - Les Earnest has been advised to do so for the next printing.
|The last piece.
A hand written letter from Tyger Johnson to USCF staff, no doubt as part of Nestor's successful effort from the late 80s to have those earlier races recognized as legitimate national championships.
Complete with grammatical errors, straight from the heart.
Dear USCF Staff,
Thanks for your interest in cyclo crosses of the past. Here is sort of a round idea of my story.
After the first cyclo cross, October nat'ls at Palos Park, I really got excited. I always liked obstacles of any kind. And from 1963 to 1969 I would quite road racing in August and start training cyclo cross in Rockford, Ill. and during those years I won every cross except some of the nationals, from Ohio to Illinois & Missouri of those I was in. Nationals in 1963 (1st) 64(2nd) 66(1st) 67 (1st) 68 (3rd) 69 (3rd). From 1969 - 1974 there wasn't much crossing in midwest, I rode one.
Then in 1974 or before I heard the USCF had been sending a team to the worlds. So I dedicated my whole year to cross. No road races, just training road events. Then in the fall of 74 I saved what money I could. Quit my job and all the 5 1/2 years of top seniority went too. Rode 3 midwest cross and won them. Then went to New Jersey and New York for the team try outs. Got 3rd in the first race, and 2nd in the 2nd race. So we went to Switzerland and my goal was to improve the team, which finally did happen for that year.
After being gone 7 weeks, spending 6 weeks in Switzerland, I came home and had to look for another job. I never did start one. A year and a half later I started my own bike business in the back of my home with the sale of three old coaster brake bikes. Have been in business now for 13 years.
But my heart turned upside down at the end of 1975 when, after spending all that money and dedication to the cross team that went to Switzerland, including my job. It was then late 1975. I first found out that someone claimed to have started the first nat'l cross race. And my offical national medals, jerseys and trophies came obsolete. And along with thousands of hours of dedication and jobs. Even in 1968 I quit another job and seniority for 5 months. Also spent all the extra money my wife and I saved. My boy was born during that time I was gone. All for the country, racing, nat'l cycling organization and my club, for the Olympic try outs, which I became very sick two weeks before.
It became very hard to start again after 1975, but I loved the sport. I really didn't care much for nationals anymore. I had even thought of sending the medals and jerseys back to the USCF. That is from the early national crosses. Then from the time I was 35 till 41 I rode my best in crosses. One year I won 10 out of 11 from Ohio to Kansas, That other one was the nationals back then.
Thanks for your interest. I have to say I lost a quite a bit of mine, when a few people can change many years of dedication with a pen.
Even though I'm still cycling and A+B riding, having another trophy doesn't have the same meaning, when the biggest ones were unofficial or not even listed as unofficial in the USCF rule book & results.Your cycling friend