MILTON—There is no mistaking the pride in the voices of Elwood and Marilyn Wohlberg of Manitowaning as they talk about Elwood’s son Eric Wohlberg being inducted into the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame.
Eric Wohlberg is one of the greatest men’s time trialists in Canadian cycling history, notes the citation for his induction. “Winning eight elite men’s time trial titles (1996-2003), a record only surpassed by Svein Tuft. Perhaps even more impressively, he finished on the podium in the Nationals time trial for 13 consecutive years. He competed for Canada at three Olympic Games, 1996, 2000 and 2004, and won gold (time trial) and bronze (road race) medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, as well as gold at the 1999 Pan Am Games in the time trial in Winnipeg. Mr. Wohlberg also raced for Canada at eight world championships, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.”
Since retiring as a professional in 2008, Mr. Wohlberg has taken up the role of passing on his impressive skills and sharing his experience of having raced for some of the top pro teams in North America, including Saturn and Symmetrics Pro Cycling as sports director at Rally Cycling where he is helping develop the next generations of Canadian cyclists.
“I am very honoured and flattered to be deemed worthy of a Hall of Fame inclusion,” said Mr. Wohlberg. “I always dreamed of becoming a full-time athlete. Cycling and an amazing level of support and encouragement from my family, friends, sponsors and Cycling Canada helped turn my dream into reality. I hope that I can help other Canadian Cyclists achieve their goals and will continue to do all I can to promote and make the sport better.”
The Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame celebration was held on Sunday, September 30 at Glencairn Golf Club in Milton. The event kicked off in the morning with the third annual Lexus Ride with Legends, where guests had the opportunity of enjoying a VIP, fully-supported road ride in Halton Hills alongside many of Canada’s Hall of Fame inductees as well as current national team athletes. The ride was followed by the induction luncheon where the 2018 inductees were honoured and celebrated.
“I really feel lucky to have had the opportunity to pursue my love of cycling as a professional athlete,” said Mr. Wohlberg from San Jose, California, where he now spends 11 months of the year training athletes. “It is very difficult to pursue a professional career in North America, where cycling is still something of a ‘fringe sport,’ unlike say hockey or baseball.”
Although he spends a lot of time in California (northern California has a climate not that much different from Ontario), he does get an opportunity to come North to visit his parents every now and then. “We have a couple of events we still do up in Canada,” he said. “When I am near Northern Ontario I try and drop in when I can.”
“It was great to be able to come up for my dad’s 85th birthday and then come back again for the Hall of Fame induction a week and a half later,” he said. “I got to spend a lot more time with the family this year.”
Although he no longer competes, Mr. Wohlberg still gets out on his bike a lot. “It was great to be able to take part in the Legends Ride with (fellow inductee) Linda Jackson,” he said. The Legends Ride is a 70 kilometre run through Halton Hills. Although that might sound daunting to many, for a serious cyclist “it isn’t all that much,” laughs Mr. Wohlberg.
“What a wonderful time,” said Ms. Wohlberg. “It was such a wonderful celebration. There were three inductees, including Norma Young who is a pioneer of women’s cycling in Canada.”
A bit of an auto enthusiast as well, Mr. Wohlberg returned home in his vintage 1965 Mustang. “I had to put cardboard on the radiator to keep it warmed up,” he laughed, “but we made it alright.”