The world lost a great soul yesterday. I lost a dear friend. The Masters Athlete lost its editor and co-founder. Andrew Tilin was killed by a motorist in Austin, Texas, as he was changing a flat on his bike by the side of the road on Saturday, February 17. He was 52.
Andrew Tilin was funny, smart, talented, and passionate about the things he loved. That included bicycling, running, hiking—really, anything that got him outdoors amid the beauty of the world. He was searingly honest and infectiously optimistic. He had a huge, open heart. He made anyone in his circle feel uplifted, and no situation ever existed where there wasn’t the possibility of a laugh.
Andrew leaves behind two teenage children, Isaac (spitting image with hair!) and Leila; his partner, Shellie Oroshiba; and the mother of his children, Madeleine Tamayo Tilin.
I had worked with Andrew since he was a fuzzy-cheeked editor at City Sports in San Francisco, fresh out of Cal in the late 1980s. We remained close through our journeys through life and journalism. When Andrew became the gear editor at Outside, he found me among a small stable of incumbent gear writers and tossed me assignments ranging from reviewing early fat-tire bikes to reviewing Fat Tire Ale. Starting in 1995, we worked together as the founding editors of the Outside Buyer’s Guide.
Twenty years later, we launched The Masters Athlete. Our goal was to share our passion for living full healthy lives, and to use the site as a conversation tool for aging jocks and anyone else who aspired to make the most of middle age and the years beyond. We lived 1,200 miles apart, but were as close as inseparable brothers. We Skyped twice weekly. Sure, a phone call would do, but we were pals—we wanted to see our faces. We brainstormed, critiqued, joked, laughed, and edited each other’s every word.
The Masters Athlete was always an act of friendship first, a business second.
Andrew was by far the superior athlete, but my every modest effort on a ride or a run or a hike earned me Strava kudos from Andrew. He was so genuinely supportive that I always aspired to be better—to go just a bit farther, to write better, to be more creative and imaginative, to be a better friend. He was kind beyond measure.
If Isaac and Leila have inherited a fraction of their dad’s passion for living, his buoyant personality, his keen intelligence, his grounded wisdom, his perpetual smile, and his generous spirit, then they have the blessings of a lifetime.
I’m honored to have known and loved Andrew. I can’t imagine a week without speaking to him, let alone a lifetime. But TMA will live on, Andrew, and so will you, in the hearts of all those who knew you. RIP, my dear, dear friend. I can’t believe I’m writing these words.