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  1. #1
    tthome
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    Gran Fondo Hincapie - Hincapie Gran Fondo

    Gran Fondo Hincapie

    His clothing company is head quartered in Greenville, SC. Should be fantastic event. Cost is high but worth it. I've ridden in a few smaller groups with George than what they're expecting for this, but to celebrate the 19 years of Pro Racing for George should be good. An employee of Hincapie sports who rides regularly in our group mentioned that TVG should be there and slim chance Cadel makes it too. Remains to be seen the actual Pro Rider list as this is in late October and the "Gran" route is no joke, serious climbing.
    Last edited by tthome; 10-21-2013 at 12:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Cheese is my copilot
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    Looks fun but

    Quote Originally Posted by tthome View Post
    Cost is high.
    Yup.
    Life is better in the big ring.

    http://theclemencyblog.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    they have set up a facebook page, you can keep up with who is supposedly coming. So far, TVG, CVV, Cadel, Ted King, Chris Carmichael, Dave Z as I recall.

    I would expect a big % of participants to be from out of town, because no matter how big a fan you are of George (and everybody in G'ville seems to love him...I do) $170 to ride the same roads you road last week....it's a little steep. Granted, the after party is supposed to be good, and it benefits Meals on Wheels, a great charity, but I wish they would announce what % of the entries go to the charity.

    If anyone is coming in for it, I'd be happy to give hotel/restaurant advice.

  4. #4
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    I'll be there. Looking forward to it. I'll be coming in hot from Birmingham.

    Anyone know what they have planned for after ride? Also looking for dinner recommendations..?

  5. #5
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    I note that one of their sponsors is Table 301, a group that owns a bunch of higher-end restaurants in Greenville (Soby's, Devereaux's, etc.) I've heard speculation that they will do the food, in which case, it might be a lot better than your average post-race food. Also, pure speculation, New Belgium Brewing is a sponsor. I've been to bike races before where they brought the beer on tap, and it was pretty good (if it's them, get the IPA).

    As for diiner, Greenville is known for it's chain restaurants. Even the better places like the ones mentioned above are none too exciting. Given that La Bastide is about half way between Greenville SC and Asheville, NC...I personally would stay in Asheville and enjoy the food and beer scene up there. Closer to La Bastied is Flat Rock and Hendersonville where there are two great places owned by the same people, Flat Rock Village Bakery and West 1st in h'ville. You could google. I'ts wood-fired (really, seriously, you should see the hand-built ovens) pizza +. Otherwise, in G'ville there is American Grocery for Hi-end, Pita House for locally popular middle eastern, The Owl, a funky experimental place where you never know what you'll get. Koji the best sushi in town.

  6. #6
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    LSC - I am signed up for the Gran Fondo and looking forward to it, though feeling a little like a chump after George's announcement today, especially since I expected it to come out sooner or later (I was hoping for later). Anyway, though I've ridden a fair amount in the NC and VA mountains, I haven't ridden any of the climbs on the GF and was wondering what is your low gear for Skyuka? From the profile it looks to be the toughest of the 3 climbs.

  7. #7
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    Oldroadie,
    No need to feel like a chump. Personally, I'm glad this has come out just before the fondo. It give me more reason to support the man.
    Over past couple years, one can only assume doping was prevalent within the sport and unfortunately our beloved US cycling heros were not immune to the temptations.

    I hope to get a chance to actually meet the guy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldroadie_nc View Post
    LSC - I am signed up for the Gran Fondo and looking forward to it, though feeling a little like a chump after George's announcement today, especially since I expected it to come out sooner or later (I was hoping for later). Anyway, though I've ridden a fair amount in the NC and VA mountains, I haven't ridden any of the climbs on the GF and was wondering what is your low gear for Skyuka? From the profile it looks to be the toughest of the 3 climbs.
    I have a standard crankset on the front and a 26 on the rear. It meets my needs almost all the time, but every time I start up Skyuka/White Oak, I begin to comtemplate a compact. Or a triple ;-) Seriously, it's hard for me to say what you might want. I'm a female masher (mtb background) weigh 110-ish and like to climb. My 220 lb. powerlifter husband has a 27. I know lots of good riders that have compacts. Hard to say.

    From looking at the cue, Skyuka will be your first significant climb, and it is a bear. Fortunately, you're going up the easier side. I just rode that 2 weeks ago and I was thinking how it's not that bad when you're by yourself soaking up the view, but in a group you're trying to hold on to...it can make you want to sit on the side of the road and cry.

    Then comes Howards Gap, which is a short climb ,but the one I most try to avoid. it is a long, straight drag, and I don't think there is enough gearing in the world to avoid leg pressing your way up that thing. You will see the interstate on your right. As an aside, when I was a child (70's), there was no interstate in that section, I think the grade was so terrible it was one of the last sections of I-26 to get built in the area. After that you roll for a while, and then do Holbert Cove Rd. Don't be too tired to pay attention. The downhills require good brakes and there are a couple of ups that steal all momentum.

    The long flat section before the Green River Switchbacks is beautiful. I advise getting in a group if you can before that section 'cause having a good draft can make a big difference on how fresh you are coming to the switchies. I really enjoy those switchbacks, you have to power up the turns and then get a little relief on all but a few of the switches. I think it's 7-9 maybe that are relentless.

    Once you come out of the switchbacks, you are in the little town of Saluda, and except for a few easy climbs you are just about home free. LONG descent down "the watershed" and you're almost there. There's a steady climb right before you get back to La Bastied just to remind you that you're glad to be done.

    I'm excited for you guys. I think you'll enjoy it...but you better pray for sunshine.

  9. #9
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    nice write-up Litespeedchick. Thanks for taking the time.

    One quick question...have you done 6 GAP? If so, how do these climbs compare to those in North GA?

    Just trying to get mentally prepaired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickyracer View Post
    I'll be there. Looking forward to it. I'll be coming in hot from Birmingham.

    Anyone know what they have planned for after ride? Also looking for dinner recommendations..?
    Might be a bit late in coming, but I do have a couple of recommendations for downtown. Blue Ridge Brewing Co. is on main and is pretty darn good....food and beer wise, try their seasonal brew if available and I am a big fan of their sandwiches, especially the reuben and the cuban. If you are looking for "dinner" dinner, then try The Trappe Door just off main. Belgium, go figure, but awesome beer selection and some of the best food in downtown. Try the braised short rib, the belgian frittes, the meatloaf, lamb sliders...or just darn near anything. Make reservations for the weekend or try and grab a seat at the bar. Good luck and enjoy the ride and the food. Cheers

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the summary, LSC, that gives me an idea what to expect. I am running a compact so it sounds like gearing should be OK, though there will always be those places where I reach for a lower gear and there isn't one. If it didn't hurt, it wouldn't be fun, right? Besides, with all the celebs there, I expect we can score some PEDs before the ride at a bargain price! And for the entry fee we're paying, I am counting on George and the locals to guarantee us a beautiful, warm fall day!

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    yeah, for $170, i'd want a wheel to follow and the occasional push.

    Ricky, thanks and sorry, I haven't done 6 gap but I've driven over some of those roads back in the Tour de GA days. From memory, I'd say these SC climbs are a little shorter, maybe a little steeper. But by repuation, if you've done 6 gap, this will not be a problem. I did a similar 85 mile cookie ride a few years ago over a lot of the same roads, it took me 5.5 hours. just to give you some idea.

    Hint: when you see a pretty little fishing pond on your right going up Skyuka, you can start to rejoice....the top is not too far away. Be sure to take time for the views at the top.

  13. #13
    tthome
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    my turn to ask for climbing experience around G'vegas and Skyuka. I live in Greenville and have been training on Paris Mountain for a few week now. I ride it regularly so that's my baseline. After riding it so much, it's no big deal really. In fact, I recently rode it a few times back and forth/up and over this past Saturday. 38 mi @ 4200 ft. Not the Fondo ride i know, but I've also ridden up Caesars head and Green River Cove as well. CH was not that bad, just long with a few steep areas, nothing to cry about. Green River Cover on the other hand has some steep switches and one unforgiving straight that is actually steeper than it appears. I've done Calhoun Mountain and other rides around Tigerville, but not White Oak or Howards Gap. IMO, the key will be pacing yourself on these climbs. If you put all your chips into Skyuka and Howards Gap then Green River Cove will put it on you in a hurtful way. My question, based on my Paris Mountain, Caesars Head and Green River Cove riding I'm curious what I can expect with Skyuka and Howards Gap. The profile listing has some parts of Skyuka @ 18% and that for what appears to be 3+ miles. That scares me, but I ride a compact 12-27 for my serious climbing events. The most recent Paris Mountain ride i did on a standard crank with 12-25 so having the gearing for these longer / steeper climbs should be more efficient I hope. I'm really looking for someone to compare what I've already ridden to what I can expect on this climb. I'm signed up for the Gran and have ridden only 1 of the climbs (Green River Cove) and my plan B is to ride the Medio if I get chicken, but those climbs are not so bad at all. Any insight?

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    tthome - OK...you know on Paris Mountain when you hit that straight-line climb about 1/3 of the way up where the water tank is? That's miserably steep, much more so that it appears, and requires either getting out of the saddle or a sloooowww grind sitting? THAT is a lot like Howards Gap, only HG is longer. You'll just have to tough it out. Don't be "putting your chips" into HG, it's survival mode (at least for me).

    Skyuka aka White Oak has some nasty grades, but nothing worse that Calahan Mtn (i assume you meant the "grunt" people call Camp Old Indian) and Green River. It just goes on longer.

    Hope that helped.

  15. #15
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    Looking forward to seeing everyone there.
    http://granfondohincapie.com/ Check this out for the schedule of events, the other pros who are attending (yes, Cadel is coming), and for other info.
    Above is some misinformation on La Bastide. It is not midway between Greenville and Asheville. It IS midway between Greenville and Hendersonville/Flat Rock, NC.
    Greenville is a great town!!! Plan to visit downtown and Falls Park (plus the many bike shops in the area). Downtown is just beautiful and Falls Park must be seen to be believed. Just fantastic. There are many restaurants other then just chains. A stroll down Main Street will prove this. If you include the side streets and adjacent areas, the choice is almost mind-boggling. If you come in a day early, or stay over to Sunday, take a spin on the Swamp Rabbit Trail for a nice warm-up or recovery ride. You will not be disappointed. Have lunch at any one of the many restaurants in Greenville, or right along side the trail in Travelers Rest. You won't regret it. While in Travelers Rest, BTW, check out Sunrift Adventures (right on the trail). They have a great bike shop plus hiking, camping, kyaking, mountaineering, etc, supplies and equipment.

    Have a great time in the Greenville area this weekend.....my home town.

  16. #16
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    I'm absolutely dying to hear from you guys about what you thought of the climbs. (and ride in general) I rode up Skyuka ahead of the ride sat morning to watch the pros come over the top. Decided it would not be appropriate to ride down w/ the pack (nor safe), so I rode down as riders were still coming up. I was kinda surprised at the number of walkers. Some were really close to the bottom and already off.

    I hope you guys had fun! Any of you the guy who won the bike w/ a time of 4:15?

  17. #17
    tthome
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    my report:

    The Hincapie Fondo ride was EPICALLY BRUTAL and BEAUTIFUL for me. 80 miles @ 8000 feet of climbing. Starting temperature of about 58-60 degrees. Overcast most of the day. Unfortunately the way they lined us all up to start we couldn't see any of the celebrity riders because they were in the front. The start was on a long descending road and the higher numbered riders started at the back the lower numbers (celebrities, VIP, etc) started toward the front. So you can imagine those in the back cound't see up the hill to what was being said or seen. I hope next year they get smart and put up some stage or something to the riders side view so we all can see the pros at some point. If you came to see Cadel, TVG, or George you were probably highly disappointed because they came out only after everyone was lined up and packed in the "corral". Geoge did make an appearance after he returned to those sitting on the grassy field outside La Bastide, but I can only imagine those in attendance had done the shorter 50 mile route.

    As for me, I conquered Skyuka or White Oak Mountain Road by sheer determination and patience. It was much more daunting and impossible in my head than what it actually was so that probably helped. Doing what I thought was the hardes climb of the day first at mile marker 26 wasn't so bad.

    I did have to get off the bike twice during the entire day. The first time was going up Howardís Gap road which was the second major climb of the day. This road is long, straight and uphill so much so you can see the entire length of the climb from the base almost. There were riders walking up it all over the place. Many riders were even serpentining their bikes to get up it. I grinded it out about 90% of the way up the climb before I dismounted. I had 2 reasons to do this. #1, I wasnít going much faster on the bike that those walking beside me and #2 I still had Green River Cove to ascend. I had to get off the bike @ Green River Cover too whice was the 3rd and final major climb. I had just ridden GRC the weekend before at the Tour De Leaves and made it up with no problem, but that was with only 26 miles on my legs on that ride. The Hincapie Ride had us going up and over GRC at mile marker 62 after 2 initial punishing climbs up Skyuka (White Oak Mountain Road) and Howard Gap. Big difference.

    I finished the entire course in 5:20 of saddle time. 6:01 of actual clock. Didnít ride as fast as I could have, but wanted to ride a smart ride and enjoy myself. There were plenty of times on the ride that I wasnít having that much fun. I slowed down a bit around Lake Lure to take in the scenery.

    2 really well written blog posts about the climbs on the Hincapie Ride from a non-professional rider point of view.

    1st Hincapie Climb / Skyuka.
    White Oak Mountain Revisited (and Hogback too) ę SteepClimbs.com

    2nd Hincapie Climb / Howard Gap
    Howard Gap, revisited ę SteepClimbs.com

    3rd HIncapie Climb / Green River Cove
    Green River Cove, Revisited ę SteepClimbs.com

    There were many riders who signed up for the Gran Ride that bit off more than they could chew. I spoke to so many riders before the start who were from non mountainous areas such as Columbia, SC and Houston TX that I was thinking they are going to hate doing this ride. There were so many people walking their bikes on all the climbs it looks like a blood bath at times. Iím sure they all finished though but suffered.

    This is going to be an annual ride. Iím sure after a year Iíll forget just how hard it was and sign up for the Gran again but if you ask me today what I would sign up for Iíd do the 50 miler. The ride was the hardest Iíve ever done, but now I know I can do it and I was able to go well beyond where I thought I could suffer. Thus is the life of a cyclist.

    For reference, my steed for the day was a 2012 BMC Road Racer with compact Ultegra and 12-27 gearing. I use my Cannondale SuperSix to train on Paris Mountain with a standard crank with 12-25 gearing.
    Last edited by tthome; 10-29-2012 at 06:03 AM.

  18. #18
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    Didn't ride this year, but volunteered. For those of you who may remember, my wife and I were at the KOM start at the foot of Skyuka. Congrats to all who made it.

    Back at La Bastide after the ride, the "stars" were most gracious. They all came out and mingled for a while, posing for pics and signing autographs. They all seemed to be really good guys.

    The food and beer were fantastic at the festival. Considering that this was all thrown together in just a few weeks, the organizers are to be highly commended.
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  19. #19
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    I had a great time! I wish I could say that I won the bike, but I rolled in about an hour down on the winning time. I lost at least 10 minutes due to a mysterious broken front wheel spoke at about mile 55. Couldn't unscrew it from the nipple so I had to deflate the tire to poke the spoke through, reinflate, and open the brake calipers enough to accomodate the wobble. Of course my pace group was long gone. Managed to tag up with another rider or 2 to get to the Green River Cove climb. Tried to stay in the saddle as much as possible on the climb to avoid putting more stress on the front wheel, and then pretty much rolled with a 3-man paceline to the finish. It was a little unnerving to look down at the wobbling front wheel at 35+ mph coming down from the GRC climb, so I decided it was better to just look down the road ahead and hope my luck would hold out!

    Sykuka and Howards Gap were probably as hard as any I've ever done, but I never had to stop. There was a lot of slogging which wasn't very pretty, and I often wished I had added a 27 bailout cog, but it probably wouldn't have made much difference and the 26 worked out OK. I have to admit I gained some strength seeing a lot of riders much younger than me having to stop or walk. That was especially the case on the GRC climb, which didn't seem all that difficult. My legs were still pretty good at the finish, so I obviously rode more conservatively than necessary, but next year I'll know what to expect and will ride a little more aggressively. Litespeedchick, I do appreciate your descriptions of the climbs; they were very helpful. The whole ride was a total blast: great volunteers, police support, cheering crowds in Tryon, awesome afterparty with excellent food and beer (the beer was all I was thinking about over the last 20 miles!). It was a first-class event, very well organized, and I appreciate all the effort from all involved. I didn't get a chance to shake George's hand, but he seemed to be having a good time. It was certainly something to be proud of.

  20. #20
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    tthome and oldroadie - Thanks so much for reporting! that was fun to read!

    tt - the issue about not seeing the pros from way back in the field is one of the reasons I choose to risk looking like an idiot and watching from the top instead of doing the ride. (cheapness and laziness were the other reasons) That's a good point about hordes of people...i imagine some people were walking not by choice. I always switchback some on Howard's Gap and that would be hard w/ gobs of people around. Thanks for posting those links. Coincidentally, we did Hogback after we got down from white oak just like in the first link. White Oak makes Hogback seem easy(er).

    old roadie - 5:15 is a hell of time considering a mechanical like that AND having a mellow attitude! The crowds are always friendly in Tryon. The Faulous 4th ride there is always a good time. Also there's a ride every year called Marquis de Sade that is a similar route to Hincapie's. I think in March or April and sponsored by the S'burg Freewheelers. I think it's free. In case either of you wants to train extra ;-)

  21. #21
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    Hey guys, thanks for linking to my stuff.

    Yeah, the rides in Tryon/Saluda are fantastic. It is sort of a hidden paradise for road biking.

    Litespeedchick - unfortunately the Marquis de Sade is no longer going on. 2011 was the last year. The Freewheelers used to put it on as a Mount Mitchell training ride, but they changed those last year for a lot of reasons. So right now, the Hincapie Ride, the Fab 4th, and Tour de Leaves are the only rides that I am aware of that go through the area.

    I had to skip Hincapie this year, but definitely plan to ride in 2013.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteepClimbs View Post

    Litespeedchick - unfortunately the Marquis de Sade is no longer going on. 2011 was the last year. The Freewheelers used to put it on as a Mount Mitchell training ride, but they changed those last year for a lot of reasons. .
    OH NO! you mean this spring when I was telling myself what a lazy waste of space I was for not putting MdS on the calendar they weren't having one anyway? wow. What a shame! We have so many "stories" from those rides. They were super-polular, one of the big race teams from Charleston used to come up and do it. My husband absolutely HATES cookie rides, MdS is the only one he's willing to do. shoot.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick View Post
    OH NO! you mean this spring when I was telling myself what a lazy waste of space I was for not putting MdS on the calendar they weren't having one anyway? wow. What a shame! We have so many "stories" from those rides. They were super-polular, one of the big race teams from Charleston used to come up and do it. My husband absolutely HATES cookie rides, MdS is the only one he's willing to do. shoot.
    Sadly, yes, it is gone. I asked if they would re-implement this year, and it sounds like they will not, although still early to say for sure. Maybe someday someone else will take up the reins.

    Funny. I have some friends who hate cookie rides and they also loved MdS. I all rides in the mountains, cookie or otherwise.

  24. #24
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    I am considering doing the Gran Fondo Hincapie this year. If I commit to it, I will be coming down from PA, so I have been looking for information on last year's event. Thank you to everyone who participated in this thread!

  25. #25
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    Did this, or I should say I attempted to do this last year. I realized that while I can climb hills, I cannot climb mountains.
    I won't be able to attempt it this year, but I hope to try it next.

    Good luck to those that are going.

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