Criterium Bike Race Brings Cyclings Best To Shelby, North Carolina

I found this picture of an annual cycling event that took place in Shelby, North Carolina from 1996 to about 2000.  It was “The Shelby Criterium” a closed looped course in the uptown area.  Mike Keeley served as director.  

The above picture is Pro Elite Cyclist, Eric Wohlberg who was riding for Saturn/Timex at the time, my wife, Debbie and myself. Wohlberg finished second during the year pictured. His career spanned at least 20 years. He was  a three time Olympian, winner of the Tour of Gila (a stage race held in New Mexico) and seven time Canadian National Time Trial Champion (1997-2003 Gold) and (2004-2005 Silver). 

Eric became good friends with Mike Keeley, and would stay at Mike and Rhonda’s house when racing in the criterium.  I also became friends with Eric and would share an occasional email with him over the years.  Being a car person myself, Eric would often share photos of his progress on  the restoration of a 1965 Mustang (1965 being his birth year) and later a Sunbeam Tiger. 

If you are old enough, and remember the TV series “Get Smart” you’ve probably seen a Sunbeam, as Maxwell Smart drives one up to his office, each and every episode. 

The Sunbeam Tiger was produced in England from 1964 through 1967, using a 289 cubic-inch Ford engine, and a 4-speed Ford transmission.  A very rare and desirable car for the astute and serious car collector, for sure.    

I’ve included a photo (at the bottom) of a beautifully modified Sunbeam.

Mike Keeley and I were fortunate to have been able to take some enjoyable and casual bike rides with Eric, and also share some good conversations, both on the road and off.     

Eric Wohlberg has been inducted into the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame: 

Eric Wohlberg inducted into the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame

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