Saturday, June 4, 2011

John Tomac

John Tomac doing a flat tail whip

John Tomac was born November 3rd, 1967 , in Owosso Michigan. He is a retired professional cyclist who competed in multiple disciplines in road racing and mountain biking during a successful career that spanned twenty years. He is regarded as a mountain biking icon and was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1991.

John Tomac first participated in cycle racing at the age of seven. He began to enter BMX events in and around Michigan in 1975 and continued competing in this discipline into his teenage years. He turned professional in 1985 and spent his last year of BMX competition contesting events as a privateer.

In 1986, Tomac made two significant decisions: he relocated to Southern California and left BMX competition in favor of mountain bike racing. By the autumn of that year, he had won his first two major mountain bike events: the Ross Fat Tire Stage Race in Massachusetts and the Supercross Mountain Bike Exhibition race held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

1988 brought Tomac national title-winning success. By achieving the highest combined points total from the National Off-Road Bicycle Association's (NORBA) Cross-Country, Downhill and Dual Slalom championships, Tomac won the overall title of NORBA World Champion. John is well remembered for riding road style drop bars on his mountain bike which was a noticeable deviation from other riders. This equipment decision was influenced by his recent experience riding for the 7-11 road cycling team in Europe. He was the 1988 USCF National Criterium Champion and was part of the winning team in the USCF National Team Time Trial Championship in 1989. Tomac's results and rapid rise to prominence earned recognition from Velo News magazine, which voted him the world's best all-round rider of 1988.

Tomac retained his overall NORBA title in 1989, and also won the NORBA Downhill Championship for the first time. In 1990 he joined the 7-11 road team, embarking on a busy program of events in Europe and the US.

1991 saw a change of teams from 7-11 to Motorola. A stronger mountain bike season culminated in UCI World Championship success in Ciocco, Italy, with Gold in Cross-Country and Silver in Downhill. In addition to that, Tomac won two events on his way to the UCI Cross-Country World Cup title, and added a second NORBA Downhill title.

Between 1994 and 1997, Tomac would win three more NORBA titles- two in Downhill and one in Cross-Country - as well as some notable individual events such as the Sea Otter Classic and Cactus Cup. He officially announced his retirement from racing at the Sea Otter Classic in 2000, but would make an occasional return to competition. In 2004, at the age of 37, he won the Kamakaze Downhill held at Mammouth Mountain, California. Then for good measure, he returned in 2005 and won it again.
John Tomac winning the 1988 NORBA Nationals
John Tomac racing on the 7-11 team in the 1990 edition of Paris-Roubaix

Tomac on a drop jump. His mountian bike has drop bars and a Tioga Tension Disc for a rear wheel.

For more cycling history click on this link to Mountain Bike Hall of Fame

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