1 of 4
Create New Tag
C50 kburgie Quote
4/25/2017 3:40 PM

How do we know his name? Eli has always been "mountain bike legend John Tomac's son," so I assume he was pretty good, but what kind of press did he get in his prime? Was it mainstream news or limited to mountain bike magazines? Has mountain bike racing every been covered like the Tour de France? How well known can a mountain bike racer be? How do you personally know how good he was?

C50_96780460_1279248218 Cygnus Quote
4/25/2017 3:41 PM

I heard he was a champ after Eli won his first LL's championship.

well we ain't the smartest folks in the world...i mean we're fucking dirtbike riders for christ sakes.- BobbyM

If you chose not to decide you still have made a chioce.

C50 cali11 Quote
4/25/2017 3:45 PM

I not really into moutain bikes, but I do remember hearing about him.

C50_avatartony_1425358398 disbanded Quote
4/25/2017 3:47 PM

I heard he was the Eli Tomac of mountain bike racing

C50_excitebike_1388356969 Myke Quote
4/25/2017 3:53 PM


"Who cares about what other people think"

C50_cr3a6017_600x400_1489959416 jorgechavez Quote
4/25/2017 4:03 PM

I'd be more interested in knowing how Eli got into motocross when his dad rode mountain bikes. Obviously they are pretty similar basically just missing the engine, but I wonder if his dad pushed him towards that or if he was kind of like AC where he saw it on TV and loved it ever since.

C50_dsc_1350_1497719515 Sandwarrior752 Quote
4/25/2017 4:06 PM

Thanks for the wiki link Myke!

Over here road cycling is really big and the early year cycling classicals are really hyped up every year. Was a cool surprise to read that John Tomac competed in legendary races such as Paris - Roubaix / Tour of Flanders!

C50_13 MotoMalyDad Quote
4/25/2017 4:11 PM

I know he started with Lance Armstrong in the road racing world. Didn't like the PED use and wanted to get into this new thing called mountain biking. Something he would go on to dominate with his wife Kathy. I can't remember why Eli went in that direction.

C50_s1600_img_7742_1488551403 JW269 Quote
4/25/2017 4:14 PM

Matthes did a podcast with John awhile back. It's pretty insightful. If I can remember correctly he covers road racing, mountain biking as well as Eli's career progress etc...


C50 JB151MX Quote
4/25/2017 4:20 PM

All i know other than he is a legend in his own right, he made a legend in the making on a dirtbike... That hopping around ruff stuff like a mountain bike style eli has shows big time. And is a game changer on some levels. It's very unique style no one has quite had .. Correct? Lmk if I'm wrong

C50_main_event_logo_2017_1491698441 Zoom Quote
4/25/2017 4:22 PM

John is the God Father of Mountain Bikes. End of discussion.

Oh, he also has an Over 30 Championship at Loretta's, in 01. Eli raced at Loretta's that year and ended up with a 9th and a 16th.

C50_616278598_1207840768 Bigfoot Quote
4/25/2017 4:24 PM

In the heyday of mountain bike racing of the mid 90's ESPN and Outdoor Network covered the series. Tomac was a legend then and those that have been in the sport a long time still regard him as one. Dude could win cross-country and downhill on the same weekend.

C50_turd_3_1375300291 hvaughn88 Quote
4/25/2017 4:27 PM

Not too shabby on a bmx bike either

C50_110811guyb_redbud_1449985751 GuyB Quote
4/25/2017 4:33 PM
MotoMalyDad wrote:

I know he started with ...more

Funny thing...I shot a few of those covers above.

Actually, John was a factory-sponsored BMXer (Mongoose) before taking up mountain and road bikes.

I spent a lot of years shooting John, and he was one of the early stars of mountain biking. One of the things that made him interesting was that he was competitive no matter the discipline, and he'd often race dual slalom, cross-country, and downhill on the same weekend.

World Champ? National Champ? I think he was both of those...probably multiple times, and maybe more than one discipline.

C50_1934851_135150446348_1710587_n_1491207758 drop_bear Quote
4/25/2017 4:33 PM

kburgie, John Tomac is more or less an icon in the sport of mountain biking, he even has his own brand of high end bikes "Tomac bikes" and parts. I personally am about a 60/40 moto/ mtb guy, and I worked in the bicycle industry in Canada for four years. The name Tomac in the bicycle industry is like the name DeCoster in the moto industry, it's legendary. The only name that can possibly rival Tomac in the mtb industry is the name Palmer. I'm not that old (early 30's) and I knew who John was years before I'd ever heard of Eli. When I heard Eli was an up and coming moto star I thought it was super cool, knowing who John was.

The mountain bike industry is flourishing around the world, getting bigger and more popular every year. There's thousands of professional mountain bikers around the world making a healthy living from the sport. Mtb is fucking cool man, head to a good bike park some day and hire yourself a downhill bike and you'll be opened up to a whole new world of obsession. If you're interested, the main mtb site's are pinkbike.com (most popular mtb site in the world), and vitalmtb.com.

C50_barcia_2018_yamaha_octopi_0248_753x411_1514033629 51xc Quote
4/25/2017 4:49 PM

john tomac is mountain biking.

C50_110811guyb_redbud_1449985751 GuyB Quote
4/25/2017 5:01 PM

I was lucky that I was shooting mountain bike racing during...well, not exactly the formative stages, but sort of early on. There was tons of innovation, lots of manufacturer support, and a healthy National and World Cup scene.

Suspension was developing during that time, and I got to meet guys like Paul Turner and Steve Simons...not during their moto days, but while they were working heavily on Rock Shox. Definitely a fun time.

C50_genaro_1460820503 Walter Quote
4/25/2017 5:11 PM

I was heavy into mountain bike racing when John T was the big hitter. He was a road national champ with 7-11 or Motorola and then won everything on a mountain bike. I was in Italy in '91 when he won the World Championship at Il Chiocco. He always rode MX for training and fun. Eli's Mom was a national mtb champ as well I think...I know she was a big hitter on the women's circuit.

The older I get...the less I can remember about how much faster I was....

C50_corzine_1520526206 Mini Elsinore Quote
4/25/2017 5:19 PM
MotoMalyDad wrote:

I know he started with ...more

GuyB wrote:

Funny thing...I shot a few ...more

....and a humble dude, regardless.

C50_img_0352_1498936267 TMessi111 Quote
4/25/2017 5:23 PM
JW269 wrote:

Matthes did a podcast with ...more

Thanks for posting that. I really enjoyed listening to it. So many things I have wondered about answered.

C50_97990390_1284199177 speedman Quote
4/25/2017 5:30 PM

I recall John Tomac as the first U. S. mountain bike champ to use heart rate monitors and other aspects of cutting-edge road bike training, and that it was after he'd become an MTB champ that he tried pro road cycling and was hired by a top team, won the U. S. road criterium championship race in 1988 and was part of the 1989 team time trial champions. Very much a road contender in single-day events like that, not so much in long tours, so he didn't get the mainstream press visibility of riders like Lemond. But I think MTB pros in the U. S. sort of just went out and rode prior to John Tomac's dominance, kinda like what Carmichael did to Supercross. Tomac gave mountain biking a lot of credibility in the road bike world by crossing over successfully.

Edit: details on 1988-1989 road championships

C50_jessy1_1471467436 CarlinoJoeVideo Quote
4/25/2017 5:37 PM

I'm starting to show my age... I watched John at all the major East Coast mountain bike races when I was a kid. He was next level, like GuyB said, he was next level at every category he raced.

Here's a few iconic photos I remember:

C50 JB151MX Quote
4/25/2017 5:50 PM
CarlinoJoeVideo wrote:

I'm starting to show my ...more

U can def see Eli is his boy lol that one pic looks like it could be eli.

C50_mc5_400 Kartwheel84c Quote
4/25/2017 5:56 PM

John Tomac was Hannah, RJ and McGrath all rolled up into one.

C50_113846310_1249939725 feelnjstfine Quote
4/25/2017 5:57 PM
GuyB wrote:

I was lucky that I was ...more

Sick! Did you ever get to meet "On Any Sunday"/dirt track legend Mert Lawill during his mtb days as well? His rear suspension and Leader fork were pretty innovative and groundbreaking.

C50_113846310_1249939725 feelnjstfine Quote
4/25/2017 5:57 PM
Kartwheel84c wrote:

John Tomac was Hannah, RJ ...more


C50_img_1590_1407299248 NHtoWA421 Quote
4/25/2017 5:58 PM

Ken da still has his signature tire, the nevegal, in its line up... dude is still a badass.

Tomac bicycles used to have a bike called the "eli" about 13 years ago. That is a cool piece of trivia


C50_mc5_400 Kartwheel84c Quote
4/25/2017 6:08 PM

This is why they call him "Gnarly John". Everyone else is carrying or pusing their bikes and he is pedaling up. He did this all the time and in 1991 probably lost the XC World Cup to Thomas Frischknecht because he wouldnt get off and carry his bike, which was faster and Thomas was a cyclocross rider who did it all the time. Lots of people get called bad asses for less than legit reasons, John Tomac is the real deal.

C50_mc5_400 Kartwheel84c Quote
4/25/2017 6:09 PM

BTW....I still have my pair of Nike PooBah MTB shoes like the ones he is wearing in this picture, along with my 1991 Raleigh. Yes, I was a John Tomac fan.

C50_image_1463572994 sandman768 Quote
4/25/2017 6:37 PM

Tomac was total bad ass back in early stages of mtn biking for sure... I rode a lot then & still ride mtn bikes today....best cross training for MX of all time.....

1 of 4

Post a Reply

Cool Wink Smile Tongue Laughing Shocked Sick Angry Blink Sad Unsure Kissing Woohoo Grinning Silly Pinch Sideways Whistling Evil Dizzy Blush Cheerful Huh Dry

See All Deals ยป