The Tour of Nevada City - The 1980's

The start of the 1989 men's 1/2/Pro race.

The Tour of Nevada City (now named the Nevada City Classic) is one of the oldest bicycle races in the country. [Tour of Somerville-1940, Berkeley Hills Road Race-1958, Fitchburg Longsjo Classic-1960] It was first organized by Nevada City print shop owner and cyclist, Charlie Allert, in 1960/61. The first Senior Men's race was won by Olympian and future national champ, Bob Tetzlaff, during a time that would be considered the beginning of a revival of road racing in the U.S.. The multi-cornered downtown Nevada City course is 1.1 miles with 300 feet of climbing per lap. This would put the total climb in the 40 lap men's pro-am race at 12,000 feet. (I have also seen the total climb placed at 16,000 feet.) And the traditional race date is Father's Day which usually means at least 90 plus degree weather making this a very challenging criterium. As well as attracting top male riders, it was for years the most prestigious women's race in the country until the Ore-Ida Women's Challenge began attracting international riders.

The 1980's saw the flowering of the recent renaissance of road racing in the U.S.. Full corporate sponsorship of cycling teams became a reality in 1981 with the Southland Corporation's sponsorhip of a team formed by Eric Heiden and Jim Ochowicz racing under the Seven-11 colors. The 1984 Olympics saw the American teams emerge as a world cycling power with the winning of 11 medals. American riders would join European professional teams, race as equals, and ride competitively and even win grand tours and world championships. This was the generation of riders who raced down the Broad St. hill through the 1980's.


All photos are the property of Don Martinich unless otherwise attributed.

Click on any image for full size version on a separate page.



1981- Greg LeMond, now racing in Europe with Renault-Elf-Gitane, returns to Nevada City to lap the pack for his third victory here.

1981-The "Reno Rocket" makes the turn onto York Street.

1981-This looks like Seven-11's Tom Schuler.

1981-The course marshall lays it out before the start of the women's race.

1981-This was Greg's third win in three years on this course. That looks like Michael Aisner with the mike.

1981-Tom Schuler wins a hard-fought second place.

1983- Dale Stetina, this year's winner, twice Olympian, winner of several National Championships, and over 200 career victories

1983-The Junior race winner, Sean Wilson, riding for Davis Bike Club/Peugeot.

1983-Olympic speed skater and cyclist, Eric Heiden climbs the hill.

1983-Remember Skid-Lids?

1983-The pace bike leads the peloton around the turn at York and Commercial.

1983-From the women's race.

1984-Seven-11's Cindi Olivarri sets the pace for the breakaway with Inga Thompson (Levis/Raleigh) on her wheel.

1984-Cindi Olivarri speeds to her third TONC Victory. This would be a warmup for the inaugural Ore-Ida Women's Challenge where Cindy would place second behind Rebecca Twigg and ahead of Inga Thompson at third.

1985-The Schwinn Paramount, which had been around for decades, now had American competition in the pro road bike category. Enter the Specialized Allez (and Trek as well ).

1985--Mid June in the foothills can bring 90 to 100 degree weather.

1985-The peloton in the women's race. Inga Thompson won the first of her two Nevada City victories in '85.

1985-Seven-11's Leonard Harvey Nitz, a four time Olympian and bronze and silver medal winner. He holds twenty national titles in various track events and has posted victories in the Pan-Am games and World Championships. Greg Demgen (Seven-11) would win this year's men's race here at Nevada City

1986-Nice technique on the York-Commercial corner. This year the race was run clockwise.

1986-Rebecca Twigg on her way to win the '86 edition of the TONC. This was the only win here for one of America's most successful women cyclists on both road and track

1986-Rebecca Twigg's palmares include 2 medals in 3 Olympic games, 16 U.S. national champ- ionships, 6 world championships in track, and wins in the first 3 Ore-Ida Women's Challenges.

1987-At the top of the course on E. Broad.

1987-Hydrating is always tricky due to short distances between turns, fast descents, and steep climbs.

1987-High mid-day sun always makes TONC photography difficult.

1988-It's another hot one.

1988-Beat the heat! Go for a bike ride...

1988-Get a free bike wash with every entry fee.

1988-A little stretching before the start of the women's race.

1988-That's DBC's Melodie Wong on the left. The women's race is clockwise this year. This means an uphill sprint for the finish rather than rocketing downhill across the line and into the 90 degree turn at Union Alley. Inga Thompson is second from the right.

1988-Katrin Tobin (Team Lowrey's) wins the '88 women's race. She has won the Ore-Ida Women's Challenge, was a U.S. National and Olympic Team member; a 2-time national champion, and a stage winner & team champion in the Tour de France Feminin .

1989- Love those shades!

1989-The logo on the jersey is for San Jose's notorious free-form rock station, KOME, which had some rather amusing slogans incorpo-rating their call letters.

1989-The rider on the right looks a lot like Inga Thompson except for a.) the braid is short, and b.) what's with the Apple jersey?

1989-At the starting line. This race will be Inga Thompson's second TONC win.

1989-Will four braids work better than one?

1990-This really is Inga Thompson riding for Cal-Neva/Reno. Inga has won the TONC twice, the Ore-Ida Challenge rwice, 8 National championships, and a 2nd in a World Championship.

1990-Just for the sake of change, this year's photos were shot with a medium-format Fuji GW690 on black and white film.

1990-Inga Thompson turns onto E. Broad.