Blast from the Past: Mountain Bike Racing in the 1980s

Take a look at what America’s big mountain bike races looked like over 30 years ago. “Race Faces” was the name of the story that we ran in our very first issue, in 1986, and it showed some of the top racers of the era. The lead photo shows the start of the men’s cross-country race from the NORBA National Championships in Santa Barbara, with the late Steve Tilford leading out the pack. The caption says 1985, but that may have been a typo. The NORBA National Championships were held in Santa Barbara in 1983. Tilford won that race and the national title that went with it. After that, according to his biography on the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame website, Tilford didn’t race mountain bikes again for another six years. “Old Man” Gary Fisher was mentioned as one of the riders leading a group of racers on the third page of the article. That photo mentions that the action took place in 1983. “Old Man” Gary was 32 at the time.

MBA archives