Tag Archives: Hincapie Development Team

Upstate Winter Bicycle League won’t miss a beat

Even the local cycling scene has it’s silly season.  It is that time when team realign and riders will move from one to another. This go around we have a major change in one of the larger teams in our peloton. However, the silliness is settling down and things are looking good.

No need to go into all the details, but the GlobalBike team here in the Upstate has changed it’s focus away from the Master’s level and is trying to move into a higher level race team.  That meant that a number of the better known riders on the team were looking for new rides.  Some other riders who were going to move to the master’s team were scrambling to get back with their previous team or a new one.

None of this affected me directly, except I did know that Steve Sperry was one of those guys who raced with the masters riders.  He and his teammates headed up the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. While I wasn’t too concerned that the ride would disappear, I was wondering if it might be a little less organized if things moved to a new team or Steve wasn’t involved.

I met up with him at the Hincapie Sports Warehouse Sale and asked him about it.  He assured me that UWBL was on and would be as good as ever.  He himself was staying on with GlobalBike to help with the realignment and he would be organizing the winter rides once again.  The difference will probably be that the ride leading duties will be spread around among riders on various teams.

My own team – POA Cycling Team – has managed to come through all of this with only one loss.  We had a scare there for a bit as we thought we would lose a mate to GlobalBike and some other prospects to that team as well.  However, with the realignment we with that organization we have been able to hang onto him and pick up some other incredible riders.  Our masters team is going to be smokin!

We were sad to lose Sam Smith, but she is moving to a new team that is forming that will have more ladies on it.  I wish her well and hope she will still consider letting me ride with her crew during next year’s 12 Hours of Tsali.  Hope I don’t regret saying that!

The new team appears to be a creation that will include a number of riders from the Hincapie Development Team.  I have not received an official announcement, but I believe that team will not be fielding riders next season.  Don’t worry though, we’ll still have to deal with the same riders!

Right now, I’m ready to put some of this silliness behind me and focus on my Ride For Mike.  Right now I am at $1815 raised toward my $5000 goal.  I’m thankful to those who have continued to give.  My drop dead date for having donations in is October 17 at 2:30.  That goal isn’t silliness!

From the Red River Gorge to the French Broad River

There is some interesting Tour news today. You can go to any number of sites to read about it. I can’t talk about it here. I’ll just say, “Bummer, Levi, heal soon and come see us at the USA Cycling Professional Championships.”

Here is another update on the Hincapie Development Team that today will be finishing up their Tour of the Red River Gorge UCI Invitational.  They have to be super pumped right now and who knows what will happen going into tonight’s criterium.  Good job guys!

In the 91 mile road race a break of about 20 riders formed and built a two minute gap on the field.  HDT made the break.  It was Ty Magner who made the winning break and with 2K to go there were 13 of them. Unfortunately, he got detached in the sprint at the finish and was 11th.

Tyler Karnes was in the next group and finished 17th while Strad Helms (34th) and Blair Turner (51st) were in the next group.  A.J. Meyer broke a pedal but still managed within the cutoff. Aubrey Moore was ahead of him in 58th.  With the solid finish by the team, they moved up a spot to 6th in the team classification.

Of course, what might have been of more interest to them was the fact that they are sharing the facilities at the University of Kentucky with a bunch of cheerleaders who are there for a camp.  1300 of them to be exact! That could explain the look on Tyler Karnes’ (front) face in the below photo. Blair Turner is seated behind him.

Photo by Joan Hanscom

Photo by Joan Hanscom

I’m leaving today to head up to Asheville for the French Broad Cycling Classic.  I hope to catch some of my teammates participating in the time trial and then take a car along tomorrow’s route.  I hear it is super tough.

I do believe I am ready to give it a go.  Last night I went out for a ride with friends along the base of Paris Mountain. It was hard to hold back at times, but I knew I couldn’t push myself.  Just once did I get in behind Louis and unwind it a bit. Still, by the time we started up Altamont, I was feeling pretty good.

On the mountain, I simply tried to find a cadence that would allow me to keep a steady tempo.  Tyler was right on my wheel talking smack.  I just grinned to myself and keep going.  He stopped talking, but I could glance back and see his wheel right off of mine.

Then I heard him start breathing. I did my best to control my breathing. I wanted him to think I was breathing easily through my nose.  Still pacing myself I kept the pressure on him.

Then I heard him exclaim, “Pait!” I knew I was dropping him at that point.  Soon I was alone with the main group behind and only Art in front of me.  Since I wasn’t pushing it, I figured Art would be waiting for me at the top.

Well, coming around a corner near the top, I saw Art going into the next one.  By the time we reached the yellow sign that marks the beginning of The Wall section, Art and I were on the same straight.  I figured I just needed to keep the same pace and I could get him by the end.

Once on The Wall, I realized Art had picked it up a bit.  I had to stand and pick it up myself if I hoped to match him.  We went into the final pitch upward near neck-and-neck.  Finally, I inched ahead and came across the line.

The climb gave me lots of confidence going into the race Saturday.  It wasn’t my best time (13:29), but that is only a minute and fifteen seconds or so off my best.  The good news is that except for that final 20 meter push, I had kept my heart rate at a reasonable average on the climb and really did not feel I worked that hard.  I’m happy with the base of fitness I have.

My WKO+ seemed to confirm this.  The ride put my the graphs on my Performance Management Chart into positive territory.  If the chart is telling me what I think it is, I should have a good day tomorrow.

Here’s hoping! Of course, there will be a report here at LowCadence.com.

Checking into another race going on

Most of us are aware of the race going on over across the pond.  However, just because the biggest cycling race in the world is going on in France does not mean there aren’t other events taking place around the world.  Some a bit closer to home.

The members of the Greenville based Hincapie Development Team are stretching their legs out at the first ever UCI junior race to be held in America.  The guys are acquitting themselves well at the Red River Gorge UCI Invitational.  They are going up against some stout competition in the Hot Tubes guys who are on the National Team and have a season of European racing under their belts.

Photo from tour-rrg.com

Photo from tour-rrg.com

In the prologue – a 1.2 mile individual time trial – A.J. Meyer took 6th and Ty Magner also scored a top 10 with a 9th place finish.  The rest of the guys finished well among the 120 contestants.  Blair Turner 34th, Strad Helms 40th, Tyler Karnes 46th, and Aubrey Moore 51st.

Stage two was a road race.  Tyler Karnes was right in there with the winning break, but had a mechanical forcing him to fall back.  The rest of the guys were back covering in the main group with Strad having domestique duties.  Of course, that isn’t something that many of us racers get to do because of the nature of our stateside races.

Unfortunately for Strad, who is just coming back from a collar bone injury, it was during one of the times when he was going back to get a feed for the team that the group accelerated.  Strad had a chance to see how his fitness is coming along as he chased to get back on.  Blair, Ty, and A.J. managed to get into a chase group 1 minute behind the break and about 1 minute in front of the peloton.

They all finished in the chase group or the peloton.  Strad was able to get back into a group of about 30 riders with Aubrey and finish well.  Tyler managed to get back in, but finished in 84th after his blazing start.

Yesterday they competed in the time trial.  Ty and Tyler showed their stuff by coming in with the 17th and 18th best times on the day.  Aubrey and A.J. continued the pairing theme by finishing 45th and 46th.  Blair and Strad finished with respectable times within the top 80 on the 28 mile course.

Today they go into the 91 mile road race in 7th place as a team.  They are 7 minutes behind the strong Hot Tubes team, but with some close competition ahead of them.  There is plenty of opportunity to move closer to the team podium with a good finish.  Hopefully, the climbing around this area will help them on today’s stage.

Here is hoping for a strong day for Ty Magner who is currently the highest placed HDT rider on GC.  He’ll have the opportunity to move up as the events in Red River continue with today’s road race stage and conclude with a criterium race on Friday night.

What a great opportunity for these young riders.  I’ll try to give a short update when it is all done here at LowCadence.com.

Weekend video is now up

There were a number of clips to edit this time.  It is amazing how many minutes of video it takes to come up with a few seconds.  Also, the VHoldR helmet cam ended up in the hands of some inexperienced users… so get ready for some interesting camera angles and partial head shots!

I went into this comparing my own experience in high school team sports with that of a development cycling team.  It is an incomplete comparison on a lot of levels — including the fact that some development riders aren’t in high school.  However, a good portion of the riders on the Hincapie team are.

There certainly were some comparisons.  For instance, I knew exactly what they were feeling as they broke open the boxes containing their equipment.  My mind went back to getting that new basketball jersey.

The biggest contrast to me though was how cycling for a young rider is different from other organized team sports.  These young people don’t have a broad support structure like most sports for people their ages.  There is plenty of room for them to be misunderstood with their choice for sport.

Yet, on the other hand, the sport they have chosen is unique in that they have the opportunity to participate — at a young age — with people at a higher level.  You aren’t going to be out there as a high school player playing in an organized football game against college or NFL players.  For the young cyclist, it is entirely possible that he could be competing — or at least training — with professionals.

Also, the culture of cycling tends to lead to greater interaction between older and younger participants on the sport.  Depending on ability, age becomes less of a factor.  A young “kid” who handles himself well on the bike and shows respect to the sport and other riders will be taken in as an equal.

There are many other aspects of cycling that make it such a unique sport and community.  However, this is one of them that I enjoy.  Spending some time with the riders on the Hincapie Development Team reminded me of these things.  They really are not unique and simply represent a growing number of young people who are taking to the sport and will someday represent United State cycling to the world.

Developing a new view of development teams

Sorry to those of you who have come to Low Cadence expecting to find video of the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. I know I mentioned my plan was to get the Waterloo sprint and some overview video of the ride. Well, “the crash” changed things for me.  Should have a clip up tomorrow.

Another goal of the ride was to follow the Hincapie Development Team around as the UWBL progressed. This was different for me because I typically don’t focus on any particular riders or teams during the event. I would also spend some time with the team during other times of the weekend.

So, when the ride was disrupted, I had to make a choice. The HDT decided to follow Boyd Johnson on a ride up the Greenville Watershed. I either went with the UWBL or followed through on my feature with Hincapie. Of course, the guys didn’t know that when they took off after Boyd. I followed.

Well, I learned some things on that ride! It actually made things easier for me because I now had the group isolated from the hundred or so other riders they would have been mixing around. I was better able to observe their interaction and get them together on the video.

What did I learn? For one thing, I had always thought a development team would be a group of riders that were pretty raw in their experience and talent. Perhaps compared to pros that might be the case. However, these guys I was riding with were all Category 3 up to Category 1 racers. They might be young… but they can flat out handle a bike and put on a hurtin’ going uphill.

Speaking of ages, I also came to realize that on a development team, age is not necessarily a determining factor. It can include early high schoolers right up to college graduates. With age comes a certain level of fitness and life experience, and the team works to use that dynamic to its advantage.

What I came to realize is that the purpose of the development team only deals in a small way with the physical development of the riders. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t. It is just that these riders all love riding and are pretty self motivated. They would be working to get to the top of their sport with or without the team.

What the team is developing is the all around package. It provides structure for these riders who may be coming from more informal club teams. It gives them access to professional riders and older mentors who show them some of the ropes of being a racer — both off and on the bike.

Really, what I gathered is that Rich Hincapie and Steve Baker (along with a number of others) want to give these young riders an experience as close as possible to a real professional team. I know they will be the first to admit that not all of those pieces are in place yet… but you could say that is another part of what makes it a “development” team.

Churning up the Greenville Watershed with Chris Butler (cat. 1 racers and national collegiate champion) and Christian Parrett (cat. 1 racer heading to Europe this year to represent the US) taking the lead, I rode along side DLP pro racer Boyd Johnson. These guys weren’t going slow and it wasn’t but about five minutes before I was hurtin’ bad!

I don’t know if they slowed down any before the top, but the thought that came to my mind was, “Development, my foot!”

Straighten out the mountain

There is a bunch of video on my computer from this weekend.  I’m still trying to sort through it and find the best clips for a single presentation.  Might be a day or two.  For now words will have to do.

My weekend was spent with the Hincapie Development Team.  It certainly brought back memories of when I was that age!  It was a fun group… and a good group on the bike.

Update on Chris and Jim

“I have a retro and antero-grade concussion. In lay terms, I don’t recall anything prior to about 4 p.m. on Saturday and Friday night is fuzzy… Currently, I’m still having some memory issues. Further, I badly bruised my left ribs and left hand. I prefer to think my Core/Strength and Yoga training are part of the reason no ribs broke.

Chris has a concussion also (not sure of details) and some rather bad cuts on his face; one which required stitches.” — Jim Cunningham

I caught up with them on Sunday just as they were finishing their time trials up Paris Mountain.  Saturday we had sped up the Greenville Watershed and now here they were about see who would be fastest going up Altamont Road.  Ah, the resiliency of youth!

Turns out Chris Butler made the climb in 9 minutes 5 seconds.  Christian Parrett came in shortly behind that time.  All of them made us recreational racers look like turtles!

They split up after finishing their camp and I had a few minutes before it was time to get home to throw some baseball with Thing Two.  So, I turned my bike up the mountain to see what time I would get.  I recall Boyd telling me that I would need to average 333 watts in order to make it to the top in 12 minutes (almost three minutes slower than Chris).

I should have had a plan for how I would ride the different stages.  However, I just kind of jumped into it and figured I wouldn’t be able to just hold 333 watts on the way up.  It might be a good idea to put some watts in the bank for later.  I was moving at about 350 up to 475 watts in the beginning.

Another thing Boyd said was to look for ways to straighten out the curves.  I’m sure he’s done this enough that is knows you can shave off about 10 seconds on the climb doing that.  So, I did — at least when I was thinking about it.

Just past midway I started fading.  The negative self-talk started coming.  I negotiated with myself to spend a bit of time recovering and then give it a try near the end.  Maybe I wouldn’t get a good time, but I was not going to just sit up.

I had enough juice to hit over 600 watts on the wall.  As I looked down at my computer as I crossed the line, I saw 12:58.  Now, that isn’t that great, but compared with how I thought I did, it was pretty good!  I had just gotten a 13:00 climb on Thursday and I felt good on that one.

That Thursday night I had climbed with an average of 288 watts.  Saturday I climbed with 278 and still finished seconds faster.  Why?  Believe it or not the difference was probably two things… 1) I had left my water bottles and tool bag in the car, and 2) I had shortened the ride from 2.2 miles to 2.19 miles by straightening out the course.

I learned a lot this weekend about cycling and myself.  That will be the theme for this week as I share some of the things I took out of the experience.  Perhaps it will be an encouragement to other weekend warriors like myself.

Cyclists’ Battle of Waterloo

Tomorrow is the ride affectionately known as “The Battle of Waterloo” by participants in the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. It is a 106 mile out and back starting in Greenville turning around in Waterloo, SC. Riders are told to expect about five and a half hours on the bike.

Hope I am ready for it. It really hasn’t been that bad of a week for my legs. I just haven’t had any long periods on the bike. Sunday I ended up doing some spinning in the evening. Monday the same. Tuesday was a fun and intense hour long ride in Cleveland Park. Wednesday was a pretty good work out session on the trainer. Thursday was an over and back of Paris Mountain.

My ride over the mountain was encouraging and discouraging at the same time. I left my house near Bob Jones University and made it over the mountain to Old Buncombe in about 40 minutes. The climb up to the KOM was 13 minutes. That means I’m about a minute off of my personal best from last season.

I think that is a good thing considering I’m still in the “off season.” I averaged 10.13 mph up the 2.2 mile climb. My average watts was 288. At 168 pounds, I’d love to know what wattage I would have to average to make the climb in under 12 minutes. I really hope my training this year will finally allow me to go sub-twelve minutes.

I’ll need all the wattage I can get tomorrow! I know the Hincapie Development Team will be there. The GlobalBike (old Carolina Triathlon Metro) guys will also include the ride in their weekend camp. Some of those fellows are pretty excited about their camp and might be feeling froggy!

My plan is to give it a go on the Todd Quarters road sprint. My hope is to get all the sprints in the league on video. The only two I don’t have are that one and the Dunklin Bridge sprint. I figure I can get the later one next week. So, after the first sprint I’ll sit up and take it easy. I will definitely NOT be joining a breakaway early in the Golf Course sprint!

Hope to see you there! Look for a ride report and video here at LowCadence.com.