Another Ride with George Hincapie

After getting dropped 4 inches into the first meter of the Paris Mtn climb last year, I was determined to never let that happen again. Not only was I going backwards on the climb, but Pam (wife) dropped me for George Hincapie. Yep.

We were in Greenville SC for the Hincapie Style in Motion Weekend and USPro race. On Friday, George rides with Hincapie Sporstwear dealers on the USPro Course, including Paris Mtn. Pam looked back as I struggled, looked ahead to the George group, back again, and accelerated away. I couldn’t blame her really. I was not having a good day.

Once we confirmed our return to Greenville this year, I started thinking about Paris Mtn.

Not a Climber

Where a climber’s ancestors were scurrying up cliffs and into trees, my clan roamed the lowlands, rolling along. Us bigger guys do what we can to survive the climbs and bomb the descents. We rock the circuits, rolleaur style courses, and crits. I usually don’t get too engaged in the climbs, but this one became my nemesis.

The Climb

As you can see in the iBike chart below, the climb is a sustained hard effort. Paris Mtn was a season-long focus for me. For two months before the big day, I drank no beer, ate bread just once a day and added hillier races than usual to my calendar.

paris_mtn_profile.png

No George was not going hard, but I certainly was. So was Pam. The climb is steady gaining 1 thousand feet, over 2 miles, at an average of 11 percent. It doesn’t look particularity hard, but just unrelentingly gains on you as you go past the Water Tower checkpoint and upwards towards the finish. I broke the climb into chunks:

  • Out – move up in the group, get tucked in 3 rows back
  • Initial turn onto Paris – don’t get dropped!
  • Housing development 1 – keep it steady, on the wheels
  • Housing development 2 – get into a rhythm, ignore overly-chatty guy
  • Water tower – she’ll be coming around the mtn when she comes, when she comes
  • Final pitch up!
  • Regroup, relax, and descend with no brakes.

Paris Mtn Summit

(At the back in green.)

I was pleased with the effort. I stayed on until several of us cracked from the pace, a bend from the final pitch to the summit. Pam was ahead of me spinning, while I grinded, and cursing that I didn’t bring a 27.

Next Year

USPro is back in Greenville in 2010 and that means so are we. While happy that I really turned myself inside out on the climb, I was also mad that I pulled the pressure on the pedals when I started to crack. Just around another bend was the summit.

Next years goal is to stay on until the summit. The next day I rode a ProTour bike in the the SC State road Race. More on that in another post.

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