Accomplished brothers pursue love of cycling
Steamboat Springs — You can hear the pride in Jim Meyers’ voice as he speaks about the accomplishments of his younger brother.
Jim is a longtime cyclist who recently watched his brother, Bill, set the national time trial record in his age group at the Moriarty Record Challenge.
The younger of the Meyers boys broke the national record on the 12.5-mile course (20 kilometers) by pedaling his bike the entire distance in a time of 27 minutes, 49.56 seconds on his first of two attempts.
The next day he returned to the same course and set a new mark of 27:21.72, which will stand for at least one more year in the 65-69-year-old age division.
Not bad for a guy who didn’t discover competitive cycling until he was 53.
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“Riders get two shots to break the record if they want,” race organizer Tony Geller said. “Some guys will take two shots and others will stop at one.”
Bill took his second shot at the course and it paid off as he trimmed even more time from the record pace.
“I’ve always liked to road race,” Jim said. “You can push yourself to the limit and know that you are not going to die. Today, it doesn’t matter what age you are, thanks to the master’s divisions you can be competitive at any age.”
Maybe that’s why Bill elected to begin the sport of cycling when most people his age were thinking about slowing down.
In the past year, Bill placed second in the road race and third in the criterium at this year’s Master’s National Road Championships in Bakersfield, Calif.
His results also earned him the title of best all-round rider in his age group.
But that was just this year.
Bill, who moved to Steamboat Springs five years ago, has also won the Cherry Creek time trial and was the best all-round rider in his age division at the 1997 national championships. He has collected a host of other trophies since picking up the sport.
He also celebrated his 65th birthday earlier this year.
Unlike his 67-year-old brother Jim, Bill’s love for the sport of cycling didn’t bloom until later in life.
Jim would pedal his bike to school and work when he was growing up in Southern California to save money on gas.
So it wasn’t a big surprise that when Jim began racing in the late ’60s, he enjoyed top results in California’s very competitive road biking environment from the start.
During a run from 1973 through 1980, Jim managed to finish in the top five of the national standings.
Jim was still making a mark on the master’s circuit when he moved to his home near Steamboat Springs in 1989 but continued to race and bike.
“Masters racing wasn’t that big when Jim was at his peak,” Bill said. “He usually had to race against younger guys and there were not as many events.”
Still, Jim sought out events with older divisions and found that even as he grew older he could continue to be very competitive within his age group. It also helped him continue to cultivate the love of cycling, which has begun when he was younger.
Since he first arrived in the Steamboat area, Jim has made it a habit to bike from his home near Stagecoach Reservoir into town. He used to peddle to his job at the Ski Haus several times a week. He said it wasn’t uncommon for him to make that ride up until a few months ago when an undetermined health problem forced him to slow down just a bit.
“The doctors told me to back down a couple of RPMs,” Jim said. “I’ve never had any real health problems, so it’s kind of new for me.”
But Jim, who finished second in the state in his age group at Estes Park in 2002, doesn’t think the condition will keep him off the bike forever, and he is already planning his comeback once a few tests are completed.
Most of Jim’s accomplishments came on the West Coast in his native state of California. Thus, his brother who was living on the other coast, said he didn’t fully appreciate what his brother did until he started cycling.
That was 12 years ago, and despite the fact the two lived thousands of miles apart, they were both pursuing the same love cycling.
So while Jim was posting top results on the West Coast, his brother was working as a professor and road racing in his free time on the other side of the country.
Then in the late-80s, Jim discovered Steamboat and decided to move the mountains and rekindle his love of skiing.
Jim had hoped to be a ski racer when he was younger, and even raced on alpine skis for a while.
Eventually, Bill joined Jim in Steamboat.
It was a move that gave the brothers who had lived apart for most of their adult life the chance to reunite and share the love of road racing they developed over the years.
The two are modest when it comes to figuring out who is faster. Bill says it’s Jim, and Jim will tell you that it’s Bill. They had hoped to find out this year when they both started racing in the same age division for the first time in their careers.
Unfortunately, the two will have to wait until Jim returns to competitive racing to find out.
“He’s definitely faster,” Bill said with a smile. “When Jim was training at a national caliber he was ruthless.”
Today, Jim is trying to convince his younger brother to take up mountain biking.
So far he has been unsuccessful.
Bill said he will continue to train this fall as he prepares for the Huntsman World Senior Games, which will take place Oct. 7-19 in St. George, Utah.
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The iconic cone-shaped building on the corner of Yampa and 11th streets in downtown Steamboat Springs was once a wood-waste burner before being moved to become the home for Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles.