Tag Archives: Greenville

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!

Helmet video from Tuesday Night World Championships

Here is some video from last night’s Tuesday Night World Championships held at Donaldson Center in Greenville.  Sorry there won’t be much text today.  I simply don’t have time to peck it out.

Hope you enjoy the video.  Next time I’ll try to make sure that I push it back on my helmet a little more.  For the most part, it works well enough.

It was an unusual night because of all the wind.  I will have to say that I felt much better.  I still didn’t finish strong, but there did seem to be some improvement in my fitness.

My first unofficial time trial

Happy Independence Day! Of course, for us cyclists it is hard to believe that on a day like this our thoughts turn to France — the Tour De France.  Okay, so it actually starts in Monaco.  It is a city-state and not really France.

I’ll be catching the Tour action in the morning, riding some in the afternoon, and then having a great Fourth of July celebration with my family in the evening.  Yes, I will be back on my bike.  I made it back on yesterday for a 2 hour, 35 mile long ride.  I’m looking forward to getting out again.

Yesterday’s ride was one of those rides where I started out at my driveway not sure what I was going to do.  I wasn’t sure how my neck and back would hold up, so I was going to feel my way along.  I just knew the old body needed to get on the bike.

Almost immediately, the legs sent the message that they were happy.  My neck gave me no pain at all.  My right shoulder and back were not quite as happy.  However, it was nothing really painful – more like just uncomfortable.

As I rolled I loosened up more and more.  Before long I found myself heading through Cleveland Park and over to Augusta Road.  It came into my mind to ride over to Donaldson Center and put out an effort on the Time Trial course.  It would be interesting to see the time I managed.

Forty minutes after leaving the house, I rolled up to the start/finish line.  I took off hoping I might end up with a surprising time.  Something in the back of my mind was telling me I was starting out too fast.  However, that first downhill gets you going thinking you can get some good speed that will help your average later.

I was really feeling pretty good until I turned there where the country route leaves Perimeter Road.  That put me into a headwind.  Things suddenly got hard.  I kept trying to hold my speed as best I could.  However, by the time I started to climb up to the golf course where the turn around is, I was putting along.

Turning around I felt better.  This was the direction we normally head when we are doing the Tuesday Night World Championships.  There was something comforting about knowing exactly what was ahead — right down to the road surface.

I know I gave about as much as I had.  As I finished the course I had that not so happy feeling in my stomach that you get when you put out a hard effort.  My Garmin told me that my CinQo had recorded an average wattage of 294.  My time? 26.05.

There is time to gain.  First, I was not 100%.  As I finished my neck felt pretty good, but my right shoulder and my mid-back was moving out of the uncomfortable zone into the annoying ache zone.  I also had not planned on doing this, so I had not fueled up with a TT in mind.  My parfait and muffin wasn’t exactly giving me the boost I would hope.

I think I can get it up to a 300 watt average.  That should put me somewhere between 23 and 24 mph for the course.  That should get me under 26 minutes.  I would love to go out on August 6 and lay down a near 25 minute TT effort.  That wouldn’t be so bad on a road bike.

Trust you will have a wonderful day.  Don’t forget to really celebrate our country — not just the long weekend.  If you are an American, you have much to be thankful for.  I know that American Exceptionalism is frowned upon by the sophisticated of our day.  However, I never claimed to be a very cosmopolitan kind of guy.  I think we live in the greatest country on earth – even if we don’t have the Tour De France.

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

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

This race will go forward

Before I write anything else, let me express my gratitude to the Greenville Hospital System and Duke Energy Carolinas. They are making today’s blog post a happy one. Their support of the USA Cycling Professional Championships allows the event to avoid the struggle many races around the country are facing.

On a day when yet another race was postponed for the year, media and invited guests gathered at Hincapie Sportswear for the formal announcement of the fourth Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Championships.  The Time Trial will once again be attempted at the 6.9-mile course at Clemson University – International Center for Automotive Research on August 29.  The Road Course will follow the same course as last year on Sunday, August 30.

Things were not always rosy for the race. Even before the 2008 race there were rumors that the event would be moving from Greenville.  There were also some struggles with funding even then.  However, Greenville Hospital System stepped up to the plate and then Duke Energy Carolina followed to bring the race around the bases.

New for this year will be two events for U.S. Handcycling.  Close to 30 elite athletes are expected to compete in a time trial and a criterium as part of the U.S. Handcycling Series, presented by the Paralyzed Veterans of America.  Ryan Barnett was there to speak on behalf of these athletes.

It is my hope that I can upload video clips of the entire press conference.  Unfortunately, I’m having some issues getting YouTube to accept some of the video files. As soon as these issues are resolved, I will be displaying the video here.  Following is the first of the series:

Stay tuned for more video – including George Hincapie’s comments.

Taking a ride through Falls Park

You might be aware of my video woes.  My VholdR helmet camera always seems to mess me up.  It never seems to be the same thing.  Always something different to frustrate me as I move the hoped for video to my computer.  Whether it will be there or not is hit or miss.

Well, yesterday I went out for a ride.  I stuck the thing on my head and declared, “If it doesn’t work today, I am going to throw it in the trash or sell it.”  I didn’t really care what I recorded.  I just hoped it would record!

I turned it on and started riding.  30 minutes later it beeped twice telling me it had run out of memory.  That was promising — normally it doesn’t warn me of its failure.  Here is just a portion of what I ended up with.

I won’t bore you with the other 25 minutes or so.  However, for sure, Greenville and Upstate South Carolina is a wonderful place to ride a bike.  Perhaps I can get some more video of some of the interesting spots around here.

Do you have any places you would like for me to catch on video?  I’m going to give this VholdR helmet cam another chance.  If it fails me again, I’m going to move to a new POV camera system.

Time for the POA Cycling Summer Race Series

Tonight is the first in a series of POA Cycling Team Summer Series races.  It will be my second criterium race in five days.  I hope the old legs will be ready.

Yesterday I was home with a sick child.  It was a stomach virus.  I don’t know about you, but when I am around someone sick like that I start having all kinds of strange feelings.  The day started out with me thinking I was getting the bug as well.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and the beautiful redhead returned in time for me to get out and stretch the legs a bit.  It was a fun easy ride that started at my house.  I headed down East North Street and Pelham Road to The Worthwhile Company offices.  I needed to sign a paper.

From there I started making my way towards Sunshine Cycle Shop.  I had no desire to ride on Pleasantburg Drive, so I cut through the backlots of the strip malls on that section.  That brought me nearly to Pine Knoll.  After a very short section on Pleasantburg, I was able to breathe again.

At Sunshine I had John check out my gears.  On Tuesday night I kept having some chain skip when under load.  I didn’t want that happening when I came out of a corner Thursday night.  After the minor adjustment and some talk, I headed out toward downtown.

I did this by cutting through neighborhood streets that ran parallel to Wade Hampton Blvd. until I reached Main St.  I stayed on Main because I wanted to swing by the new South Main St. location of Liquid Highway.  After finishing off a muffin and starting on a cup of coffee, I headed to Fall River Park.

It was time for a pit stop, so I rode my bike right into the elevator and dropped to the second level of the park where the bridge (and the restroom) is.  I left the Garmin on to see if it would pick up the elevation change.  All done there, I headed across the Liberty Bridge and then to Cleveland Park.

A nice urban ride

A nice urban ride

A lap later I was heading home.  It was nice to cover only about 17 miles in an hour and a half.  You (or at least I do) need to have those times on the bike when you can just look around you and take in the scenery and activities around you.  This ride was good for the body and soul.

Tonight that will change.  The good news is there is no chance of rain, the winds will only be around 5 mph, and the temperature will be in the 70s.  It is going to be a fun night for racing.

My objectives are: 1) keep the rubber side down and 2) get a top ten finish.  Hopefully I learned what not to do during Sunday’s race.  It would be nice if I could start learning what to do this evening.

If you have the evening free, head on out to the old Greenville Braves stadium (Municipal Stadium) and take in some of the action at the POA Cycling Summer Race Series.  I’ll be putting out there during the 6 PM race.  The real racers will take the course after that.

Video Log – February 8, 2009

Just thought I would try something different.  Rather than type out my thoughts for today, I figured I would go for a bike ride and record my thoughts as I rode along.  Today’s “vlog” covers a simple ride I used to take when I first started pedaling around Greenville.

I head out through Cleveland Park to my in-laws home.  Then I move toward downtown for a cup of coffee at Liquid Highway.  Finally, I move back through the park to home.  Hope you enjoy it… I feel a little self-conscious.

At some point tomorrow, I should have video finally edited for this weekend’s Upstate Winter Bicycle League.  It was a little discouraging because the camera was mounted a little lower and caused me to miss most of the scene going away down the road.  Plus, the camera frooze up right at a critical point!

So, I’m currently picking through the video to come up with something that works and then pulling together the voice over.  Takes a little longer than the “video log”!  Thanks for your patience.

Cycling news is not just in Europe

On the day that the riders of the Tour De France were making their first short ride in the French countryside to enter Belgium (there is some beautiful scenery in Belgium!), the 2007 road race and time trial courses for the USA Pro Cycling Championships were announced here in Greenville.

The road race will begin at 1 p.m. on September 2. The route is slightly modified from the 2006 course. It’s total length is 110 miles made up of four circuits of a 22 mile main route with six shorter (just under 4 miles) loops of downtown and Cleveland Park. This means the riders will only have to cover Paris Mountain four times instead of five like they did in 2006.

Want to ride the course? Well, you start at the intersection of Broad and Main St. Right there by the Greenville News and the Peace Center. Head west for about fifty yards and take a right on River Street. Take the next right on McBee and then follow the map above down to and through Cleveland Park back to the start/finish line. You’ll need to do that loop three times before heading out on the main circuit. Ride the large route four times and then finish up with three more loops of the in town course.

This is the same route that the riders of the Palmetto Peloton will be taking this year. We are supposed to go on the course and see how many laps we can complete before the pros come out. Looks like we may only have a couple of hours to get it in. I need to find out if they plan to have us do the start and finishing loops as well. My guess is we won’t – but will stick with the primary 22 mile loop.

Well, now back to Europe… George busted up his knee yesterday in that big pile up. Hope he will be okay. He seemed more frustrated than physically hurt. Guess we’ll find out today…