Passing George Hincapie climbing Paris Mountain

Okay, I admit it. The title of this blog post was more to get you to come read this blog. It is true.  I did. However, you have to know the whole story.

Last year I became aware of a program that was brought to Greenville.  It is called the Cycling CEO Challenge. It is one of multiple types of CEO Challenges including Driving, Skiing, Tennis, Fishing, and many more.

The idea came to Ted Kennedy as he was working with Ironman America as VP of Sales and Marketing.  The first challenges were limited to the Ironman.  Go to the CEO Challenge web site and you’ll see it has expanded well beyond that!

Ted says he loves his job and I can see why! One of the neat things about this program is that you get to spend some time with a professional in each of the various sports. Here in Greenville the participants got to spend some time with George Hincapie.

On Friday, the crew got to ride with Big George up to Saluda. They also participated in other events surrounding Hincapie Sportswear including a charity fashion show — they didn’t model, they just attended! On Saturday morning they had the challenge.

Each CEO Challenge event centers around a challenge between the various CEO participants. For the cycling challenge it is the King of the Mountain Challenge. It’s pretty simple — the first CEO to make it to the top is the winner. Do you think these guys are competitive? Don’t think they would be where they are professionally if they weren’t!

Instead of writing about the event, I’ll just let you watch the video. It captures the day pretty well. The only thing I wish I had on the video was a pretty spectacular save. We were following George along the route he rides often. He made a turn and the word didn’t get back quickly enough.

I was coming in the rear. I watched as several riders tried to slow to make the turn.  Of course, this caused an accordion effect toward those of us in the back. One of the CEO participants locked up to avoid another rider in front of him. It was as if he was in a drifting competition!  His rear wheel was spewing smoke from burnt rubber as he burned through his tire sliding this rear to his left.

I cringed and looked for an escape route.  I was sure we were going to gave a pile up. However, he kept it up! As I was going pass him, I heard his tube explode as the rubber protecting it disintegrated. As those of us who continued straight came back, the pungent smell of burnt rubber was in the air.

Sorry I didn’t catch it with the camera. Of course, had I been riding with one hand on the bars, I don’t think I would have been up long enough to get a good shot. Great save!

Oh, I did pass George as we were climbing the mountain.  However, it was only because he was going back to help pace one of the participants as he worked to reach the top.  I had to go ahead so I could catch the eventual winner crossing the finish line.

Once again, Big George showed himself to be a class act. He is one of the main reasons why you have CEOs returning for a second opportunity to ride here in Greenville. If you are a CEO and a cyclist, perhaps you would like to take up the challenge and give Tim Hockey a run for his money in 2010!