Photos of this event were processed in November and December of 1966, but from old newspaper clippings, we know the event was held on September 11. Click on any picture to see it at full size.

Tour de Graceada: 9/11/1966

As best I can reconstruct, the Modesto Roadmen began racing on October 10, 1965. To be able to race, we had to belong to the Amateur Bicycle League of America (ABL of A). I don't know if we were required to belong to a club or if we just wanted to have a club, but in addition to each of us being registered with the ABL of A individually, we registered the Modesto Roadmen as a club. We were part of the Northern California division. It is possible that the the necessity of this registration was the impetus for naming the club; this may the the origins of the name "The Modesto Roadmen." (Some of the other clubs made fun of our name; "What's the matter" they said "ain't ya ever gonna race on the track?") As part of the process, we were encouraged to "do our part" by sponsoring our own race, and the race we sponsored was the Tour de Graceada, named after the park it went around, which itself was names after the two ladies, "Grace" and "Ada", who were responsible for the creation of the park. My neighbor two doors down, Henry Laws, had taken to our club and helped us in many ways, and was instrumental in helping us organize this race. The main thing he did was to connect us to a local men's service organization of which he was a member, the "Lion's Club", who sponsored it. There is much more to be said about that, and hopefully it will get written some day.

Besides organizing the race, we also competed in it. There were three events (in 1968, at least, and I think 1966 was the same). The shortest was a 3 mile race for "Veterans, Ladies, and Intermediates." Veterans were older riders, older than 40 if memory serves. Ladies were all female riders of any age. I'm not sure what Intermediates were, perhaps the very youngest riders? The longest was 30 miles for Seniors, the top-classed riders, men between 18 and 39. We all competed as Juniors, boys less than 18 years of age, who raced 15 miles.

Looking at the pictures of the race, I see Jeff Cowdrey, Paul Robinson, Tom Woods, and David Steffen. I see Eldon Rosenow in the after-race pictures but don't see him in any of the race pictures. Perhaps is is there and just not captured in the few photos of the event, perhaps he chose not to ride for some reason, or somehow I have this half memory he may have been older than the rest of us and rode as a Senior. Anybody remember?

All of us lined up awaiting the start of the race. If you click on the picture and look at it full size you can see Jeff Cowdrey in the front row, the first rider on the left. Also in the front row, third and fourth from the left, you can see Paul Robinson and Tom Woods. The head of David Steffen can barely be seen in the second row, near the middle.

The start of the race. People are as identified in the previous picture.

Racing along. If I am not mistaken, the last two riders visible, at the left side of the picture, are Paul Robinson in yellow and David Steffen in white.

Still racing. I cannot for sure identify any Roadmen in this picture.

John Gallagher winning the junior race in a sprint.

The Modesto Roadmen debriefing after the race. The older gentleman in the grey suit in the middle of the picture is "The Coach." In the front towards the left of the picture wearing number 99 and his Modesto Roadmen t-shirt is Paul Robinson. To the right of the coach are David Steffen in a soulless commercial white jersey with red and blue stripes, and Tom Woods proudly wearing his Modesto Roadmen yellow straightening his hair.

Similar picture, a few minutes later, after we have rearranged ourselves. The group in front, left to right, are Tom Woods, David Steffen, Paul Robinson, Henry Laws, The Coach, and Eldon Rosenow.