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USA Cycling Pro Championships

August 29-30 could not have been a more perfect weekend in Greenville, SC for the USA Cycling Pro Championships. I was so lucky to escape the hurricane in Boston, and the temps in SC weren’t too scorching.

Saturday was the 20.7 mile time-trial held at CU-ICAR (Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research – the irony!).

The 3-loop time trial was won for the 4th year in a row by David Zabriskie in 39:37; that’s averaging over 31 mph!  But the chatter among the spectators was not how lightening fast he was pedaling (I’m glad someone else rides with his mouth open!), but about David’s chamois creme, aptly named dznuts.

After the race, 2nd place finisher Tom Zirbel left his training bike outside while he fielded questions from the press.  Bike envy!

The highlight was Sunday.  In the morning, Dad and I biked the road race course as part of the P3 (Palmetto Peloton Project) charity ride.

We created our own second loop, including a tour of Furman University and the partially completed Swamp Rabbit trail.  As we rode through the finish line to start the 2nd loop, I rang the bell on Dad’s bike (a gift from me that I picked up at last year’s Maine Bike Rally), causing the announcer to remark: that’s the first cyclist we’ve had come though who’s rung a bell!  Hmm, maybe there’s a business plan in selling bike bells in SC.

Among the approximately 650 charity bicyclists that morning was a group of 15 riders all the way from Toronto Canada, donning beautiful red jersey’s with their team name — Les Domestiques.  Referring to those bicycle racers who ride primarily to support their team leader, this cycling group recently formed to combine their love of bicycling with philanthropy.  They sum it up in their motto: Cyclists who serve.  Kudos to Les Domestiques!

In the afternoon, we walked down the street from my folks’ house to a neighborhood party along the downtown loop of the road race.

Kids and adults alike cheered each time the racers zoomed by, ringing cow bells.  Does anyone know how cow bells became the noise maker of choice at bicycle events?  Also, it seemed that the marshalls, police escorts, and team vehicles were having a little too much fun flying around the corners on the closed course.

Greenville resident and veteran racer George Hincapie won!  George is such a gentleman.  After the podium presentation, he happily signed water bottles for young fans.  And it was announced that Greenville will be hosting the championships again next year (for the 5th time).  Looking forward to next year already.

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