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Rob Tetzlaff, Olympic cyclist, mentor and teacher, dies at 76

Published October 3, 2012

LOS GATOS, CA (BRAIN) — Robert Tetzlaff, a two-time Olympic cyclist, multi-time national champion and a beloved elementary school teacher for more than 40 years, died at home last Thursday at 76. A memorial service in Tetzlaff's honor will be held Friday in Los Gatos.

Tetzlaff was a pioneer in American road racing and a member of the 1960 and 1968 Olympic teams. He was a silver medalist at the 1963 Pan American Games and he won the first two editions of the Nevada City Classic. Later he coached many top athletes, including a young Greg LeMond.

Bike industry veteran Dannie Nall called Tetzlaff "one the most influential people in my life."

"He was a friend and a mentor," Nall said. " I rode thousands of miles with Bob while living in Northern California. We traveled to races together.  Bob was  a great teacher, not only in his fifth grade classes in Los Gatos, but also on the bike."

Tetzlaff was a member of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. According to a biography on the Hall of Fame website, written by noted cycling journalist Owen Mulholland, Tetzlaff was known variously as the "King of the Road" and "The Platinum Terror," for his light blond hair. 

Tetzlaff started teaching in Los Gatos in the 1960s.

He is survived by his wife Lorine, and their son, Scott Oliver. Rob and Lorine were founders of the Los Gatos Cycling club and the Cat's Hill Bicycle Race, which has been held in Los Gatos since 1974.

The memorial service will be held at Darling Fischer Chapel of the Hills, 615 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos on Friday at 1:30pm.

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