By: Jonathan Spicker
Bill wasn’t just was one of the most successful Cincinnati riders ever, but also a great mentor to many local Junior riders. He was a chemistry teacher at Oak Hills high school and assisted some of his students and other west side Juniors by training with them daily. One of Bill’s tougher routes was a loop which went down Van Blaircum hill to Cleves Warsaw and then back up South road, which was about a ¾ mile climb. Bill would do hill repeats on that beast with us until we cried “uncle.” Great preparation for the UC Criterium and Tour of Warren County stage race!
Bill also supported developing Junior racing by organizing non-sanctioned “Little 500” type bicycle relay races. These events generally consisted of four-man high school teams racing 50 miles, similar to the events Indiana University holds annually. The course for the first of these races was in the Oak Hills high school parking lot and later moved to the Tri-County Speedway.
As stated previously Bill was one of the most successful Cincinnati riders ever, riding on a major U.S. team sponsored by Exxon Oil and Cool Gear Cycle Wear. Among his teammates were the Stetina brothers, John Howard and Tom Schuller. The following article was published in Velo-News in 1974 (back when it was called Cycle News).
Gallagher Well-Prepared For Time Trial Victory
Cycle-News, November 1974
Bill Gallagher had as his goal this season to ride a 55 minute 25 mile time trial. Clocking regular 56’s throughout the summer, he was beginning to believe he might fail, when on August 11 he rode a 55:51 and coincidentally won the All-America Time Trial National Final.
Gallagher’s time was faster than the national record of 56:09 set by Jack Janelle in Colorado earlier this season, but though the watches were certified for the New Jersey event, the course was not. (Gallagher’s friends even questioned his time when he returned home, so just to show them he went out and rode a 55:12 on the course where he had been doing 56’s all season.)
The All-America Time Trial program is promoted by the ABLA and consists of state competitions to qualify riders for the National Final. Now concluding its fourth year, the program will have National Championship status in 1975 thanks to a recent vote by ABLA member clubs at the Annual Meeting of the League.
This year’s final was hosted by the Raleigh-sponsored Century Road Club of America in Allentown, New Jersey. The course was slightly rolling and only partly protected. A 10 mph crosswind afflicted the riders more on the way out than on the return leg and there was a consistent two minute difference in the half times due to this and the somewhat downhill finish. Gallagher felt the curves in the road hurt the times more than the wind did, however.
Top seeded because of his state qualifying time, Gallagher considered New Jerseyeite Joe Sailing as his toughest competition. Sailing unfortunately suffered a puncture but a quick wheel change enabled him to yet place third. Since Gallagher was already 20 seconds up on Sailing when the incident occurred, there was no question about his decisive win.
The 28 year old Ohio man praised the local organizers who had traffic control at intersections including the small towns though which the course passed. Since the race started at 7 a.m., there was little traffic and the winner remembers seeing only two cars during his ride.
A high school chemistry teacher in Cincinnati, Gallagher rode 50 and 52 front chain rings and used a 13-14-15-16-19 combination on the back to give him 4 inch intervals in gearing. Though several competitors used fixed gears, he rode in the low 90’s on the way out (92 and 96) and came back in 100, 104 and 108. In the last five miles he was clocking nearly 30 miles per hour.
Gallagher began riding three years ago after knee problems in running had forced him out of college track and into coaching. He was 18th in the National Road Championships in Pontiac but feels he is just beginning to break into national-level road competition. The fact that he regularly rides a 10 mile time trial Thursdays and a 25 miler on Friday has not always helped his Saturday performances.
After the Nationals, Gallagher prepared carefully for the time trial event. In the mornings he would ride 10 miles of fast spinning, another 10 miles pushing hard, and end the workout with a two mile hill climb. Afternoons would find him doing one minute and three minute intervals over a 35 to 40 mile distance. The morning ride he did for steadiness and strength, while the intervals were for speed.
Besides his two weeks of specialized training, Gallagher also spent $100 to build himself a new set of wheels just for the time trial event and he equipped them with silk tires. He credited these wheels and his gearing for much of his success, while admitting that his long years of running helped him learn how to pace himself. Though there were no prizes for the race, the trip was made even more worthwhile when he went on to win the Raritan 25 mile Eastern B.A.R. that afternoon where the first prize had been donated ironically by his rival Joe Saling.
The well managed time trial was marred by the fact that the local promoter had taken it upon himself to obtain National Championship jerseys for the winners. Since the event was not a National Championship this year (the new rules go into effect 60 days after the annual meeting) the riders can only hang them on their walls as a souvenir.
Another disappointment, at least to the victor, was the fact that the course was not surveyed. When he inquired about this before the race, hoping that he might set a new record, Gallagher was told that the promoters would be glad to get it certified if anyone wanted to put up the $50 to have it done. It is hard to believe that any promoter would forego a chance to have his event listed on the record books and yet expend so much energy on a set of jerseys which no one can wear.
Bill Gallagher believes that better times can be ridden and he plans to go to a certified course in 1975 when he is ready to attempt a 53 minute 25 miles.
The New Jersey course was curving and only half protected. The certified Colorado course where the record was set is higher and probably straighter and flatter but also unprotected. Gallagher’s own home course in Ohio suffers from frequent high humidity but it does have one distinct advantage. The corn grows six feet high all along the road in August! (note: this would be the 25 mile Dayton course, not Cleves.)
|All-America Time Trial Finals
Allentown, New Jersey, August 11, 1974
Senior – 25 miles
1. Bill Gallagher, OH - 55:51
2. Tom Margevicius, PA - 57:43
3. Joe Sailing, NJ - 57:45
4. K. Hoff, AZ - 58:44
5. C Gillis, NC - 59:03
6. E. Pavelka, FL - 59:38
7. R. Fisher, MD - 59:41
8. D. Carey, MA - 1:00:13
9. K. Hartman, NY - 1:00:31
10 T. Gleason, SC - 1:00:35
11. J. Daley, NH - 1:01:22
12. M. Setteducati, NJ - 1:01:31
13. W. Regan, MA - 1:01:41
14. A. Bohnstadt, MI - 1:01:48
15. D. Johnson, MD - 1:02:15
16. P. Neal, SC - 1:02:43
17. G. Murray, SC - 1:02:53
18. L. Amburgey, MA - 1:03:19
19. J. Cohen, NJ - 1:03:30
20. D. Hammond, VA - 1:06:01
Bill moved to Greenbay WI in the late 1970’s and retired from racing. Well, he didn’t completely retire, because in the 1990’s I ran into him at a Maters race in Dayton. He had moved to Toledo and had recently started racing again. He was racing on his 1970’s chrome Schwinn Paramount, but said he still owned his Graftek G-1.
A little about the Exxon Graftek G-1:
The Exxon Graftek was the first commercially-available carbon-fiber frameset. Because the advanced bladder-molding techniques used in today's carbon frames had not yet been developed, very thin aluminum tubes were wrapped with the carbon pre-preg layers, baked to harden the resin, then glued into the stainless-steel lugs and baked a second time.
The seat post used was a specially-machined Campagnolo Nuovo Record lathe-turned down to about 24.75 mm to fit the non-standard inner-diameter of the tubes.
From a Midwest Dino Riders Facebook post in 2014:
Terry Sperling: I was away with Bill Gallagher at the Ohio senior roads in 72, I ended up quitting, he won.
Dale Courte: I remember that state championship race clearly. Bill was new to cycling, had been coming around to our TT's, so we were familiar with his strength. He didn't even have a real racing bike. I believe he was on a Schwinn SuperSport (ed note: Actually a Gitane Interclub with a book rack on the back) that Pete Disalvo had convinced him to put tubies on. When you guys took off, I told several riders in the pack to be careful, that Bill had the strength to stay away. Basically, my comment was laughed off. I remember all the members of your club (FBCI) at the finish line dumbfounded that Greg Hoover failed to reel in this guy on a Schwinn bike. Greg almost closed the gap, but Bill buried him on the last BIG climb. I also didn't finish the race, but got to enjoy that final chase from the comfort of Tim Silberis' (Ohio district rep.) lead car. Very exciting race.
Gary Schmitt: Great story, Dale! I loved that the top guys wrote Bill off before the race and then his legs answered back. I remember Bill as being an unassuming, nice guy, besides. I also think your pre-start comments INFLATED the others riders' over-confidence!
Terry Sperling: Yeah nobody, (FBCI) knew Bill, thought he was an AYHer. We had a big lead but it was my first Senior Roads and I thought "Well all those guys can't be wrong" so I coasted back. Should have tried harder to stay with him, I think I got nervous. Was worried about burning out. Didn't know what to do...
The following is from a Facebook post by Bill in response to an article on the advantages and disadvantages of high cadence for new riders.
Bill Gallagher: When I rode in the mid 70's I worked on my cadence a lot as a part of my time trial training. It is a part of what enable me to turn in a 55 minutes 51 second win in the 25 mile All America time trial championship in 1974 and a third place finish behind John Howard and Wayne Stetina in the nationals in 1975.
During the winter I spent a lot of time riding rollers and would work at spinning 120 rpm for 1 hr at a time. I would also work on my stroke. At those rpms one leg would generally take over and I would have to work the other leg to even out the stroke. I would also work on lifting (to work the quads) and pulling (to work the hamstrings) and ankling, trying to develop a more efficient round stroke. My visual image was one of getting power throughout the entire stroke, not just pushing.
During the season I would train every morning for time trials by riding on a flat course spinning (110 to 120 rpms) for ten miles then gradually upping the gear on the way back while trying to maintain the spin. By the end of the 20 miles I would generally be pushing a 112 inch gear (54x13).
I was always trying to maintain a balance between spinning and pushing. If I pushed too hard I would fatigue quickly an my speed would quickly go down. I generally finished my morning workout with two killer hill climbs out of the saddle to try to develop more leg strength.
When I raced I tried to bring my heart rate up quickly to a high, steady state (probably to around 160-170 bpm -I am not sure exactly because i never measured it when racing.) using a high cadence and not pushing. I would then work at a balance between spinning and pushing. When I passed other riders I would always do so by increasing my speed through increased cadence, not by pushing harder (It was a lot of fun hearing them gasp for air as i flew by). The last mile or so was always push the highest gear I could handle, the hell with the cadence.