Tag Archives: George Hincapie

An Ode to George Hincapie

I came upon this blog soon after the conclusion of USA Cycling Road Race Championships.  No reason to expound on the post you can find at Yummy NOMs.  The author, Bo Zimmerman, has given me permission to publish his thoughts here at LowCadence.com.  Enjoy.

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Call me a fanboy. Call me a homer. Call me a wannabe. I don’t care. I saw something spectacular this past Sunday. I saw a town get behind a beloved son, will him to the finish line, and then have a collective group hug when he got there first. I saw a man overcome a frustrating year to cap it off with an all-too-rare win and then wrap himself in his family as he soaked it all in. I saw Victory, the tastiest of all NOMs, be consumed by a most deserving recipient…

In what, in my eyes, hasn’t happened enough, George Hincapie won this past Sunday. Don’t get me wrong: George has won PLENTY of races, this one being his record-tying third Stars and Stripes jersey. He’s in the 99.9999th percentile in terms of his athletic abilities and cycling skills. He is without doubt one of the greatest American cyclists of his generation, but that’s not what he is known for. George is one of “those guys” that we all love. He brings the lunchbox every day, works hard, gets the job done, happily does the glamor-free work, and makes his team better in every way. Then he comes back, day after day, to do it again. He is nice. He is stoic. He always delivers.

In my brief time in cycling, I’ve found that many cyclists can be a fickle bunch, which makes it even more astounding that George is not only universally liked in the sport, but revered. Seriously. Try to find somebody badmouthing him. They don’t exist.

Now, stack that up against Lance Armstrong. He’s a polarizing figure in that as much as people respect his prowess on the bicycle, many can’t stand how he did it. Armstrong brings out strong emotions in people. He is a force of nature, no doubt, but any Lance love comes with at least a little guilt that your pulling for the class bully. (Note: I say all of this as an unapologetic, unabashed Lance Armstrong fan. I wear his wristband, read his books, follow him on Twitter, and do my best to raise as much money as I can for the Livestrong cause. Lance is Lance, and I love him for it.)

Compare what has made these two men what they are and drives their success:

  • Lance Armstrong: laser-like focus, unparalleled willpower, killer instinct, an indomitable spirit, and an ego the size of Texas
  • George Hincapie: dedication, commitment, hard work, altruism, and an understanding of what it takes for a team to bring a winning rider to the finish line


Both are admirable in their own way, but which can you relate to more? I thoug
ht so.

And then there’s this: would one exist as he currently does without the other? For every Michael Jordan or Lance Armstrong, there are countless Steve Kerrs, and George Hincapies. MJ needed Kerr to hit that 3 against the Jazz in ‘96, and Lance needed George to protect him in the flats and pull him in the mountains throughout those 7 Tour victories. I love those lunch pail guys. I’m a huge fan of both groups, mind you. It’s just nice to see someone from the latter group get the brass ring.

Let it be known: the Stars and Stripes jersey is far from the most prestigious prize in the world of cycling. Other than soccer, it’s the most euro-centric sport I know of in that everything that matters comes from, and occurs on, the Continent. I’d be willing to bet that even Hincapie himself, with a gun to his head, would easily take his mountain Tour stage win on the Pla d’Ade
t over all three USPro road race jerseys he has now amassed, which makes the emotional nature of this win so interesting. To understand it, let’s rewind through a couple parts of his year to date:

Paris-Roubaix: an ill-timed flat keeps George out of contention, robbing him of the one race that has haunted him and the only thing missing from his impressive list of palmares. He was pissed after that race, but at least that time it was fate that intervened. On the other hand…

The Tour de France: in what will forever now be deemed in this space as the TdF Screwjob, George jumped into a breakaway in the 14th stage and had a chance at a day in the Yellow Jersey. Only, depending on who you ask, one rival team or the other got petty and decided to work just hard enough to keep him out of Yellow. Pissed doesn’t even begin to describe George’s state of mind after that slap in the face. More like abject despair and disbelief. Oh, and he broke his collarbone with several stages to go… Then he finished the dang race anyway. A hard man, indeed.

That was it for a while. No more racing. Only rehab. Fast forward to Sunday… One of the teams that may or may not have hosed George in the TdF Screwjob brought a juggernaut team to Greenville with the goal of, once and for all, declaring dominance on USA Cycling.

George, he had Craig Lewis, who had the swine flu. George won anyway. (Note:Craig rode a courageous race, breaking up the peloton on Paris Mountain, before dropping off. Expect great things from him in the future.)

George is well known to be a low-key, unassuming guy. He “knows his role,” and he sticks to it, mostly, but there’s more than meets the eye. For an interesting perspective, watch “A Ride with George Hincapie,” and you’ll see something else under the surface: white hot passion. He wants it just as bad as anybody else. He just typically goes about it in a different way (i.e., playing the domestiqe, leadout, etc.) Sunday was different. He was the man, and you could tell he was enjoying it. When he crossed the line, he was declaring territory. This was HIS race.

Two images come to my mind, one of which I witnessed:

  1. On the podium George focused on all the family that were there which would better be describe as a clan, or a phalanx. There must have been 50 of them, and each one was as happy, if not happier than George was. It was beautiful. He was beeming, and was quite literally having the time of his life as he showered himself, his competitors, and the crowd in champagne.
  2. As told to me by my buddy Fu, who was lucky enough to be a volunteer in the right place: when George finally came to a stop, he sat down on a curb. Fu did his best to make sure George had room with the mob crowding in around him, but George couldn’t get enough of it. “He just soaked it up and reveled in what was happening around him.” Fu told me that he just sat their, shredded, and soaked it all up like a sponge. Ricardo, George’s dad, was with him on the curb. After catching his breath, finishing the last water bottle and tossing it into the crowd, George draped himself on his dad as if to say “this is what it’s all about.”

The rest of us just went nuts and cheered on as our hometown boy got his due. One word kept popping up to me: vindication.

All in all, it was a great culmination to George’s racing year. That night he tweeted that he opened a bottle of Dom when he got home. He then went up to Queens to watch the US Open with his wife Melanie and Craig and his wife Courtney, before coming home and “Having dinner with 25 of my family members from Columbia. Fun stuff.” (twitter). I’m sure that there were quite a bit of victory NOMs consumed by the Hincapie clan in the past 72 hours. Knowing the Colombian culture it may go on for a while, and that, friends, is a very good thing.

The interesting twist this was last race he’ll ever ride for High Road**: the winningest team this year and one that he helped pull out of the mire that was the T-Mobile team while acting the elder statesman by bringing young riders like Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen to the center of the cycling stage. Columbia and HTC will not get the domestic bump from having the Stars and Stripes jersey associated with their brands. Now, he’s going to BMC, who has risen from the ashes of Phonak and Floyd Landis*, to ostensibly try and take them to the next level as well. However, all business is not settled. With the signings of Ballan and others, I smell a classics campaign and a chance for George to finally capture his unicorn: Paris-Roubaix.

So, we here at Yummy NOMs would like to recognize Mr. George Hincapie as our first recipient of the soon-to-be prestigious Yummy NOMs seal of approval. I’m sure this will go into the trophy case right next to the USPros, the yellow jersey, and the Pla d’Adet win. Good on ya, George!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to load up on Team BMC gear (have you SEEN those kits?). Speaking of which, BMC makes some killer bikes. Anybody got an in for a team frame for a fanboy? 58 cm would do nicely…

Who needs race radio when you have Twitter?

What a satisfying day! Greenville was all abuzz with the USA Cycling Road Race Championship.  We learned that the race would return in 2010! That was just the platter… the cake and the icing was that George Hincapie won the Stars and Stripes jersey and will be representing as champion the US and his town, Greenville, for the next year.

It was fun to get out and see the action first hand, but you can be in an information hole when you are sitting up on top of Paris Mountain waiting for the peloton to come.  How do you keep up the action going on downtown?  Enter the age of Twitter!

Check out the action with these Twitter reporters (you’ll find that the more time that passes since this was published, the farther back you will have to go): BikeHugger, NeilRoad, PodiumInsight, WilliamDorn, DHMruz, USACPRO, and don’t forget BroomWagon.  These were just a few of the fans along the route (and in the media cars and media room) keeping us fans on the course informed.  You can also check out the hash tags – USPROS, USPRO, and USPROCYCLING.

Speaking with William Dorn last night, I mentioned it might be cool next year to organize things a bit more.  We could post “reporters” and different strategic places around the course.  We could all post to a common Twitter account – or probably best at hash tag – the information from that spot.  Add that to the chase car stuff from the lucky guys able to follow the race from there, and you could have a great way for fans to follow the event.

Other thoughts…

I’m excited to know that the USA Cycling Professional Championships will be coming back in 2010. I think Greenville is on the cusp of really finding a niche for cycling on the east coast.  It isn’t going to be without pain though.  It is definitely a cultural shift for many people.  That isn’t to say that cycling isn’t open to everyone.  I’m certainly as straight-laced and conservative as they come.  That isn’t the type of cultural shift I’m talking about.

What I am talking about is the willingness to accommodate bicycles in our community.  It is obvious that the city leaders recognize this.  Steps are being taken to win Greenville “bike friendly city” status.  This is a great step.  However, it is the willingness of the larger county region to accept – or at least tolerate – cyclist of all types that is needed.

Greenville is a natural place to ride a bike.  Now when people say Greenville in relationship to cycling, they don’t tag on the South Carolina.  A simple Greenville suffices.  That isn’t going to change.  Cycling will continue to grow here.  With that growth will come some tension.  Hopefully, the good of cycling will ultimately win the day.

Please, wear your helmet! While on Paris Mountain, I spent some time talking with a group of spectators.  Soon after a couple of those in the group headed down the Furman side of Altamont Road.  As they neared the end one of them got entangled with another rider.  He went down and hit his head.  He didn’t have a helmet.  He did receive head trauma and had to be immobilized.

It shows the importance of wearing your helmet – even when you think you are just a spectator.  When we start those two wheels rolling, we are no longer spectators – we are participants.  We need to be prepared – our lives may depend on it.

Reliving the day!

Look for Hincapie at US Pros

When I logged in to check on LowCadence.com this morning, I came across the following tweet from George Hincapie in the site’s “Tracking George” section.

ghincapie: Got some bad news this am. X ray confirmed my collar bone is broken.

My first thought was, “I figured he broke it.”  My second thought was, “Man, he rode all that way with a broken collar bone!”  My last thought was, “Oh no! What about the USA Cycling Professional Championships?”

George Hincapies broken collar bone - georgehincapie.com

George Hincapie's broken collar bone - georgehincapie.com

Looking around for information on broken collar bones I found that the expected healing time for an adult is 12 weeks.  Ummmm, did the people who wrote these articles ever met a cyclist?  I don’t think so.

The most notable recently broken clavicle was Lance Armstrong’s.  He had surgery in late May (Correction: it was late March) and stood on the podium in the Tour De France late July.  If you recall, that was after surgery that left metal in his shoulder.

The US Pro Road Race is a favorite race for Hincapie.  My guess is that race will weigh in his decision about his own injury.  As of this morning, we do not know if the doctors want him to have surgery or not.  Will he opt out of surgery if he can recover in time?

You can be sure he will be doing what he can to make the race.  If you can finish 19th in the Tour De France after climbing Mont Vontoux with a broken collar bone, what is Paris Mountain?  No, American cycling fans, I think you can count on George Hincapie to be there August 30.

Update 3 PM: Velonews.com reports…

Hincapie said he still hopes to compete in the USA Cycling Professional Road Racing Championships, scheduled August 29-30 in Greenville, South Carolina.

“I am going to get a second opinion, but at this point, I think I am going to let it heal naturally and not get surgery,” he said. “If I do get surgery, I can probably ride again in two weeks. If I don’t it will probably be four weeks.”

George Hincapie stories:

Review: A Ride With George

A Ride With George

A Ride With George

I do not know George Hincapie.  I say this because sometimes in conversations with people they assume that because of this blog I have some sort of access to people.  Not so.  I’ve only ridden with him in large groups and have never had a conversation with him beyond a couple of sentences.

So, I didn’t get an advance copy of the DVD.  I put down my cash for it just like everyone else.  The image I have of the man is the one filtered by the television screen and descriptions by fans.

Now I think I can now say I know much more about George Hincapie.  After watching “A Ride With George” I really feel as though I do know him.  This documentary by Plan A Films does a good job of placing George in his element – on the bike – and then getting him to open up with some good questions.  I take that back… some of the most telling responses to the questions are the ones that “Big George” answers with silence.

Another interesting tactic of the film makers was to ask questions of friends and cycling personalities and then having George watch them.  The camera closes in on his face as he sees the responses for the first time.  This exercise offered a couple of telling glimpses into the mind of the quiet rider.

At other times it isn’t interviews he watches but clips of his past exploits — and heart breaks — on the bike.  By this time you have learned enough about him to pick up the shades of emotion that move across his features.  Before the movie is over, you feel those emotions yourself — at least you will if you have had any experience on the bike.

Was there anything about the presentation that I did not like?  Well, I didn’t really see the need to have the f-bombs dropping here and there.  I’d like to have my children watch it.  I guess the intention was to give the film some edge.  I really do think it stood just fine on its content without the need of that language.

At a couple of points, the video seems a little less than high quality.  Part of that is due to the fact that they are filming George watching a clips on a big screen.  However, there are some other sections that seem a little grainy.  Don’t worry about it.  Before long you don’t notice those things as you sit there with the interviewer trying to pry open Hincapie’s mind.

I don’t know George, but I do know people who are close enough to him to give a fair assessment as to whether this film captures his true personality.  Each one of them gives the basic response, “That is George.”  If it is, then I’m more willing than ever to say I’m a fan of my fellow Greenvillian.

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there is one instance I have to share.  Near the end of the movie many people, including Lance Armstrong, are asked what title they would give to George.  As they started this segment I said out loud to myself, “America’s Cycling Ambassador.”  I have called George that before.  Well, what do you know, a few moments later that is the exact title bestowed on Hincapie by Paul Sherwin.

The movie ends with George giving his own idea of what his title should be.  You’ll have to watch it to find out what he says.  You won’t be disappointed.

Getting into the head of George Hincapie

The documentary that many of us have been waiting for is now available.  The new Web site for the DVD “A Ride With George” is now live.  You can see a trailer for the movie and order your own copy right on the site.  See it at aridewithgeorge.com. You can read my review here.

I have not seen it yet, but some people who have – and who know George – say it is spot on.  It is going to be interesting to see how the filmmakers get the professional rider to talk!  This is the result.

Here is the official release sent out by Hincapie Sportswear last evening.

Greenville, SC —Hincapie™ Sportswear, Inc. (Hincapie), manufacturer and marketer of distinctive clothing for the performance cyclist, will release “35 Years, 677,000 Kilometers, 81 Minutes: A Ride with George Hincapie,” a documentary film on the life of one of America’s greatest cyclists.  The official movie trailer for this feature-length documentary can be viewed at www.aridewithgeorge.com.

“We are super excited about this new film,” said George Hincapie, Tour de France Stage Winner and co-owner of Hincapie Sportswear.  “I think it will give people a really unique look at what my life is like racing and training all over the world.  Chusy’s really talented and this is not like any documentary you’ve seen before.”

Directed by Anthony “Chusy” Haney-Jardine, whose last film “Anywhere, USA” won a Special Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, “35 Years, 677,000 Kilometers, 81 Minutes: A Ride With George Hincapie” features a unique look into the private life of professional cyclist George Hincapie.  The film captures the emotion behind the athlete and explores what motivates one of the world’s greatest cyclists.  Lance Armstrong, Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie, Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwin and many other top level professionals and cycling personalities share candid stories and insights about Hincapie and his incredible journey to the highest level of the sport.

“In this era of me-me-me, George’s message of teamwork and selflessness is truly inspirational,” says Chusy. “I hope other people will find inspiration from his example.”

“35 Years, 677,000 Kilometers, 81 Minutes: A Ride with George Hincapie” is available now on DVD.  Hincapie will distribute the DVD through Hincapie Bicycle Dealers and sell it directly on the website, www.Hincapie.com.  Additional public screenings of the movie may be scheduled in major cities across the country this summer.

For more than 50 years, the Hincapies have dedicated themselves to excellence in the sport of cycling.  Through Hincapie Sportswear, they are combining the lessons they have learned on the road with excellence in customer service, quality craftsmanship and stylish designs, to create the most comfortable, functional and stylish cycling apparel in the world.

I’ll let you know what I think when I see it.  Update: See my review of the movie here.

Pulling my own weight

Tuesday I rushed out during lunch to get in a quick ride.  The evenings around here have been full of thunderstorms and baseball games.  I have to squeeze in the miles when I have the time.

This ride took me quickly out of town down Old Buncombe to the base of Paris Mountain.  I made it there in about 30 minutes and then rushed over the mountain trying to keep the ride as close to an hour as possible.  I made it up the Furman side in about 12 minutes and 45 seconds and then arrived at the intersection of Piney Mountain and Pleasantburg just as the computer registered one hour.

Later that evening – after a terrific thunderstorm followed by beautiful blue skies and a baseball game – I took a look at the data from my ride.  I was curious about that 12:45 up the Furman side of Altamont Road.  It seemed as though I was working much harder than the time indicated.

Granted it was pretty hot – in the 90s at that time – and was VERY muggy.  It has been incredibly humid around here for the last week or so.  It is also true that I had ridden for a week in the flat, flat terrain of my birthplace.

My Quarq CinQo indicated that my wattage for the climb was a 326 watts average.  This spring that would have definitely been good for a sub 12:30 time and even close to sub 12:15.  Something else had changed.

Then I climbed on the scales.  I hadn’t weighed myself since before I went on vacation.  Hmmmmm, that could be part of my problem.  I had put on four extra pounds over the last week or so.  Turns out I was pulling a little extra weight through that hot, muggy air on my way up the mountain.

I also was reminded of the huge difference between an amateur rider like me and a professional like George Hincapie.  If you go over to his Web site, you will find some neat videos with George answering questions submitted by fans.  One question regards his Functional Threshold wattage.  He doesn’t come out an say what it is.  However, he does comment that when climbing Caesars Head he will average around 385 watts (which is below his FT).

I figure my FT is around 280 watts.  I can’t imagine climbing Caesars Head maintaining the wattage I was holding for 13 minutes up the  2 miles of Altamont!  Even if I could suffer to the top, I would still be 60 watts below George’s “typical ride” average.  These guys are amazing!

Well, I guess it is time to go get rid of some of this weight.  My favorite way?  Ride my bike!

Cavendish is the exclamation point

Yesterday I stopped in to check on my friends over at Sunshine Cycle Shop. My teammate Billy White was also there. Somehow the conversation turned to racing… imagine that.

One person (who will remain nameless to save him embarrassment) said, “I’m tired of seeing Mark Cavendish win.” We all looked at him in silence. “He just sits on his teammates’ wheels and then comes around to win at the end.”

This lead to a discussion about other sprinters. We kept pestering him to tell us of another sprinter on a major team who works on the front. The conversation got me to thinking more about the team aspect of racing and sent me to YouTube to find the finish of Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse.

My conclusion? Team Columbia-Highroad is a well conjugated sentence concluding with Mark Cavendish as the exclamation point. Cav works. He does exactly what the team hired him to do. So do all the other riders in yellow. The reason the Boy Racer wins so much is because they all do their jobs better than anyone else.

This video is a thing of beauty and it isn’t even the best example of Columbia’s lead out. Regardless, the sentence that is the Columbia composition is not prose. It is poetry.

I love watching Cavendish after a sprint finish. He knows that cycling is a team sport. As soon as he gets slowed, you see him do a U-turn. He isn’t looking for the podium girls. His eyes are only for the guys that brought him to the line. I’m reminded of the quarterback or running back in a football game to seeks out the unheralded lineman who made the play possible.

Did you see him hiding behind Hincapie in the video? Suddenly he squirts from behind that big hole in the wind and seems to reach the line before the turbulence can close down around him again. No doubt Hincapie is happy with his current 4th place in GC, but you can bet he is proud of the work done by the TEAM to win the stage.

Cavendish knows who butters his bread.

Cavendish knows who butters his bread.

That is one of the reasons that Columbia-Highroad is winning me as a fan. From the riders and the chemistry between them all the way to Stapleton and his approach to marketing and race management; I’m very impressed with the team. There really isn’t anything to dislike – unless you think people can win too much.

Going batty and a couple more things

I last rode my bike Friday.  Saturday I took my sons to a little amusement park, and now on Monday morning I’m still feeling it.  I guess I can’t just jump in and do things like I used to.

The ride was somewhat of a disappointment.  You may recall that Friday’s ride was supposed to be my attempt at my best 60 min peak power reading.  On Monday I had finished my warm-up ride with a reading of 276 watts.  Tuesday was a long ride that I believe took more out of me than I planned.  Wednesday was a short spin while Thursday was a little longer, but very much a recovery ride.

I thought things were going very well as I started out on that Friday.  The earlier attempt taught me a few things and I was trying to use that knowledge.  At 20 minutes I was averaging 294 watts.  By 30 minutes in I was at a 297 watts average.  Then it started going downhill.

It was about this time the heat (it was 92 degrees with high humidity) started to get to me.  That was a big difference between Friday and Monday.  Monday’s ride was wonderful.  This one was not.

I was now riding in survival mode.  The goal was to maintain as much of that average as possilbe.  I knew I wasn’t going to build on it.

With 10 minutes to go I was hanging around 271 watts.  At that point I couldn’t remember what my earlier average was.  Was it 265 or 275?  Turns out I ended up right smack between those two numbers.  It was a bit disappointing to only end up with my second best 60 minute reading.  Still, that was two attempts in one week with only a 5 watt drop off.

Saturday I was thinking about all my friends riding in the Caesars Head Challenge.  I really would have liked to have ridden in the first ever (though I am sure not the last) event.  My plans for the day were to take my boys to a little amusement park in the morning and then return home to Greenville after spending a last few hours with my family.

We started off with some minature golf.  I was playing with my brother-in-law and my two nephews.  My boys and their cousin, who is their age, were playing in their own group.  Needless to say, I got beat.  I got behind by a stroke early and then started taking chances in order to try to get back.  Wrong move.

Next, I helped my boys give the batting cages a swing.  I was proud of the way Thing Two got in there and took it to those 40 mph pitches.  Up to this point he had only received pitches from his coach in coaches pitch.  He is going to be ready to move up next year.

My older nephews talked me into getting into their cage where they were swinging at 80 mph balls.  I got one of the first four.  Then I started to figure out the timing and started getting a piece of about everyone that came at me.  A couple were even very solid hits.

Then it was on to go-karts.  That was very fun!  All in all it was a very fun morning and well worth the time I spent with my guys.  However, all weekend I’ve been suffering.

The batting cage did me in.  In college I had taken up tennis.  One day I was rushing and went out to practice my serve.  I didn’t warm up and then got a little frustrated about my placement.  So, I kept serving one ball after another.  My shoulder started to bother me a bit, but I kept at it.  Bottom line is I ended up messing up my right shoulder.  Now I have to be very careful throwing a ball or doing anything that requires me to rotate my arm above my head.

It didn’t cross my mind that I needed to be careful swinging a bat!  However, yesterday I ended up on medication and spread out on the couch.  Both of my shoulders were causing me pain.  They are slightly better this morning, but I’m walking around like a stiff board in order not to move them very much.

I do want to give a shout for our man Craig Lewis.  He had a very good showing in the Dauphiné Libéré coming home 24th overall.  That was ahead of some of the stage winners.

Cyclingnews.com has changed up their site again.  It will take me a little to get used to it, but my initial response is that it is an improvement.  They still have some formating issues to clean up.

Last week, Kirk Flinte mentioned on his blog that the DVD’s of the documentary on George Hincapie would be available within five to ten days.  I get the feeling that we may find them ready for purchase this week.  Should be an interesting watch.

Can you believe that the Tour de France is less than a month away?  Wow.  There will certainly be some interesting story lines for this one.  I’m looking forward to it.

Video – USA Cycling Professional Championships Press Conference

My YouTube issues have been resolved and I’m now able to bring you the video clips from yesterday’s press conference. The event was held at the offices of Hincapie Sportswear in Greenville, South Carolina on May 12, 2009.  The following clips are broken down to feature the various speakers at the meeting.

“We are very excited to bring back the US Professional Championships back to Greenville in 2009” – Chris Aronhalt

“This is our fourth year and it is really neat to live in a community where a handshake really means a lot” – Michael Riordan

“This is really what we consider our signature event for the City of Greenville.” – James Bourney

“This is really the first time we have ever supported an event like this in the Carolinas.” – George Acker

“37 states have been represented this year [for the Stars and Stripes Challenge]… it is truly a national event.” – Kevin Dunn

“Everyone keeps saying this is the fourth year. Has it been four years since I won this race? I had better get on it!” – George Hincapie

“It is a bicycle where you use your arms… Unfortunately I started with cyclist arms, so it is a little bit of a learning curve for me.” – Ryan Barnett

“A 60 minute show broadcast the following weekend on Universal Sports.” – Chris Aronhalt

See the links below for more coverage of the event.

Hincapie signs on for U.S. Championships here
GreenvilleOnline.com

Greenville’s U.S. Pro championship weekend schedule announced
Velonews.com

The other side of the mountain was all that I could see

Had George Hincapie not gone down in the race yesterday, it would have been a perfect day!  The bad news is that he got caught in the crash coming into the final sprint of the Tour of Flanders.  The good news is that he is all in one piece and will be able to put this behind him for Paris-Roubaix.

After lunch, I could not resist getting back on the bike and heading out for a ride.  The original plan was just to go out for an hour ride keeping under a certain wattage.  I even got the Garmin out and set the alert to let me know if I started going over.  My Quarq CinQo was sending the data and the Garmin was my nanny.

I then headed out on the Hour of Power route.  Seeing how that I would end up being out too long if I did the whole route, I took a short cut and headed down West Darby Road.  Unfortunately for my hour goal, I decided to see where West Darby led me instead of taking the traditional turn away from the road.  Turns out Darby ends in State Park Road.

I turned right on State Park and could see Paris Mountain on my left.  I kept moving along and realized that if I stayed on State Park Road, I would end up out in Travelers Rest.  Now I was already an hour out and needed to start heading toward home.

I turned onto a road that I had never been on and wasn’t even sure where it would take me.  All I knew is that it was taking me toward the mountain.  Ah! then I came upon Little Texas Road.  Now I realized I would be able to work my way to Poinsett Park which would put me on Frontage Road and I could then head down Old Buncombe to Downtown and home.

Around the mountain.

Around the mountain

All the while, I was trying to keep my wattage under 218 watts.  That was hard!  There was one spot on Little Texas where the grade was steep enough that with a head wind coming at me, I simply could not avoid setting off the alarm or I would have fallen over!

That one hour turned into 2 hours and 30 minutes.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  I’ll do this one again… but probably not with that alert set!