Elite Men 1965  2:09:55

Born in 1941 as Michael Hiltner, while still a teenager, VVA’s meteoric rise in the world of cycling was considered to be, rightfully so, astounding. He started pedaling earnestly at the age of 16 and almost immediately (that same year, 1957) became Southern California junior road champion, then All-California road champion (1958). In 1959, he was Southern California Grand Prix champion. Also that year, he was the youngest winner of Canada’s Tour du St. Laurent, and by achieving victory in the Circuito di Monsummano of 1961 he became the first American since 1870 (over 90 years!) to win a bike race in Tuscany.

VVA was also a California road-race champion, national road champion, and North American hillclimb champ (all in 1965). He competed in the Pan-American Games (1959 in Chicago, 1963 in São Paulo) and the Olympic Games (1960 in Rome, 1964 in Tokyo). He has also raced in Switzerland, Germany, Spain, and Belgium. He furthermore established the 1st double transcontinental/coast-to-coast-and-back record (1975); upon his victorious return from this cross-country trek, he resolved to mark the occasion — the conquering of the American highways, turnpikes, interstates, and thoroughfares – by promptly and officially changing his name from Michael Beckwith Hiltner to his symbolically chosen nom de cyclisme, Victor Vincente of America. Afterwards, he added to his legend by shifting gears and devoting his energies to off-road racing. Starting in 1979, he even designed and mass-produced his own mountain bike, the “Topanga!”. The “Dirt Guru”, as he is affectionately known, was crowned as California hillclimb champion in 1983. For his pioneering efforts in cycling and for being a tireless promoter of this sport, he was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame (1989) and the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame (2001). There are plenty more additional biographical details which could be listed about VVA (vva2020@yahoo.com) and his varied accomplishments. His Web-site (http://www.vva2020.com/) contains a complete “Life Timeline