Hincapie Gran Fondo, 2013, Traveler’s Rest, SC

50 minutes to go

Hincapie was going to be one helluva season capper. I know the big Tryon and Saluda climbs well, and knew that it would be a quad crusher. Injuries ended my season earlier than I had preferred, and it was a bummer to have skip this event. Since we had made accommodations at a nice Greenville hotel, my wife and I decided to make a weekend of it anyway. I drove up Saturday morning to Les Domestiques to check everything out, see some familiar faces, and see everyone off.

What I didn’t expect was the temperature. It was freezing, literally. As I drove towards the event, I noticed the temperature gauge in my car ticking downward. It was 29 degrees when I arrived, and would settle at 30 when the ride began.

Fortunately the sun was out. When I arrived it was hiding behind the mountains, but it crept higher before the ride. That gave the illusion of it being warm, even though it was pretty freaking cold.

As the callouts started, I made my way to the front to see George and friends. Despite the cold weather, they were in a playful and jovial mood. As Christian Vande Velde was introduced as this being his retirement ride, he emerged covered in heavy clothing from head to toe. George saw him and laughed. “Are you going cycling or skiing?” he joked.

There were numerous photo ops, and I was fortunate enough to be positioned near the front. Just before scooting off, they had everyone wave. That was a cool shot.

The ride begins going uphill. That’s the Vineyard climb, another one I know well. In most cases a big climb is not fun to begin a ride, but I have a feeling the riders appreciated the opportunity to warm up. There would be plenty more to come.

I believe the final count of registered riders was between 1,500 – 2,000. Some undoubtedly didn’t show due to the low temperatures, but there were probably close to 1,500 there.

Big George and Rich have put together the hallmark event in the North Greenville area. I appreciate all they do for this event and Greenville cycling in general. I’ll be there next year, and this time I mean it.

Here are several photos:

This was the rider parking lot. Yes, that is frost on the ground. It was freezing.

The rider parking lot just outside of the hotel.

The bike racks were full at the staring line as riders warmed up.

The bike racks were full at the staring line as riders warmed up.

I saw lots of friends and familiar faces. This was Jack and Tracy.

I saw lots of friends and familiar faces. This was Jack and Tracy.

The sun was starting to come up as riders lined up in their corrals.

The sun was starting to come up as riders lined up in their corrals.

The first rider corral.

The first rider corral.

There were so many riders that one picture could not capture them all.

There were so many riders that one picture could not capture them all.

Another shot of the riders bunching up, with ride marshals getting into place.

Another shot of the riders bunching up, with ride marshals getting into place.

George must have needed another cup of coffee.

George must have needed another cup of coffee.

This was right after George made the skiing joke.

This was right after George made the skiing joke.

Four of the pro special guests. Unfortunately I did not catch their names.

Four of the pro special guests. I did not catch their names.

Rich Hincapie giving pre-ride announcements.

Rich Hincapie giving pre-ride announcements.

Photo op with the pros, which included Tommy Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, and of course George Hincapie.

Photo op with the pros, which included Tommy Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, and of course George Hincapie.

Everyone gives a wave for the last photo op before rolling out.

Everyone gives a wave for the last photo op before rolling out.

The Hincapie Devo team starting the ride.

The Hincapie Devo team starting the ride.

One of the other teams rolls out together.

One of the other teams rolls out together.

This was a flying camera. Very cool.

This was a flying camera. Very cool.


One response to “Hincapie Gran Fondo, 2013, Traveler’s Rest, SC

  • Ben Foxworth

    Re: the four pro special guests … I do not know the young lady, but I’m pretty sure that, otherwise, left to right, they are: Taylor Phinney, Steve Bauer (!!!!!) and Michael Barry. I saw another picture posted somewhere that looked like Steve Bauer, but I told myself, no, it couldn’t be! But maybe it could! Amazing!!!

    I have spoken with Bauer, briefly, before. (No, he wouldn’t know me from Adam.) And, my sister attended a bike camp in Colorado quite a few years ago now, hosted by Connie Carpenter and Davis Phinney, and she was allowed to hold their newborn son, Taylor. Even now she remembers how densely muscled he was. As a newborn!!! But with parents like those … man.

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