Volunteer USPro Weekend and Get Close to the Action

Greenville, SC will be the place to be this Memorial Day Weekend as the GHS USA Cycling Professional Championships roll into the city for the 6th consecutive year!  One of the best ways for you to get up close to the action is to become one of the many volunteers it takes to host a successful event.  You don’t have to be a cyclist to help out, and there are a wide variety of jobs available to choose from.  Volunteers are needed to help with media, parking, course marshaling, and hospitality!  Please volunteer today and help us make this the best event we’ve ever hosted.

Sat., May 28, volunteers are needed from 8AM until about 1PM.
Mon., May 30, volunteers are needed from 10AM until about 4PM.

If you can help, please contact Kimberly Morgan, the Volunteer Director at usprovolunteer@medalistsports.com or visit the official website: www.usacyclingchampionships.com

One Lap of America at BMW Performance Center May 2

Next Monday, May 2 the BMW Performance Center will host the Tire Rack One Lap of America.  This is a modern, real-life version of the movies Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit II.  The rules have changed significantly from the days when racers would illegally bomb across the country at break-neck speeds on public roads, but the action is still fast and furious on the track.

Entrants travel in street legal vehicles from track to track at legal speeds, while performing time trials at various venues around the country. They have a certain amount of time to make it from course to course, but it’s “go as fast as you can” when they drop the green flag on the closed race tracks.  This event is great, as you can actually talk to the drivers of these beautiful machines.  You can visit with them and check out their cars before they do their performance runs.  These are all street cars you can buy at your local dealer, so there is a strong connection between you and what they are doing on the track.  Come on out and check out the action.

Our cycling friend (and race driver) Mike Renner will be participating in this year’s race in a BMW 335D in the alternative fuels division. Don’t be fooled by the “alternative fuel” class, as they still manage enough go on the green juice to smoke the tires on a full-sized luxury sports car.  You won’t want to miss this fun.  Cars should start arriving around 3:30pm with the first timed runs beginning at 5pm.  Between 5-7pm you should see about 75 cars in various classes attempt to master the BMW Performance Center track.  The event is free for you and the family, and food and drink will be available for purchase.  I went out there last year and shot some video during the demonstration laps. Fun stuff:

Stars & Stripes Challenge pb Amgen May 29th

If you’re looking for an awesome cycling event for the entire family, you will want to make your way to Greenville, SC for Memorial Day Weekend.  In between the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championships on May 28 and the Road Race Championships on May 30 is the Stars & Stripes Challenge presented by Amgen.

 

 

The Stars & Stripes Challenge pb Amgen is a fundraising ride on May 29, 2011 to help in the fight against cancer. It was started locally in Greenville and has since grown to one of the most successful events on the cycling calendar.  This year, we’re expecting thousands of cyclists to participate and ride on some of the same roads frequented by George Hincapie and many other top level professional cyclists.  Start/Finish will be at Gateway Park in Travelers Rest, SC located right along the Swamp Rabbit Trail that connects downtown Greenville with northern Greenville County.  This is the ideal location to launch some of the most beautiful rides in Upstate South Carolina.

 

 

The event was originally started by the Palmetto Peloton Project, a passionate group of cyclists in Greenville that understand that everyone’s lives are being touched by cancer in some way.  They wanted to create non-profit events that raise money for our local community and make real impacts in the fight against the disease.  Funds raised by the Stars & Stripes Challenge benefit cancer research, outreach and advocacy right here in Greenville and across the nation.  To date, the P3 organization has raised more than $1 million for the selected beneficiaries!  That’s real impact indeed.

 

Raise $500 for the cause to get one of these beautiful Hincapie jerseys.

 

 

Join us for the fun Memorial Day Weekend and bring the whole family.  There are rides and events available for all ability levels.  Let’s help the P3 reach their fundraising goals at this year’s event.  But, let’s also celebrate cycling and ride some of the most scenic roads in the US.  Did I also mention the world-class bicycle racing you can witness when you’re not pedaling?  See you in Greenville May 28-30, 2011.

 

Routes have been announced if you want to check them out before you get here:

10 Mile Route - 11.3 miles, 843 ft of climbing

25-30 Mile Route - 28 miles, 2158 ft of climbing

Metric Route - 64.2 miles, 4379 ft of climbing

Century Route - 106.6 miles, 7524 ft of climbing

 

 

Little 500 Fun

This weekend is the Little 500 at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. The “Little Five” as it’s commonly called is a very unique bicycle race that pits student against each other on identical, single speed, coaster brake bikes.  It was started in 1951 and follows the tradition of the Indianapolis 500 car race, so the students do 200 laps of the quarter mile cinder track at Bill Armstrong Stadium. I can say that this is truly a one-of-a-kind event, because I was in the stands in 1987.

My sister, Kelly was attending IU and she invited me to come for the weekend.  She wasn’t really inviting me to the bike race, but rather the incredible list of social activities and parties that surround the actual event.  I wasn’t riding competitively yet, but I had watched the movie “Breaking Away” and knew a little about the famous race.  I jumped at the chance to witness it firsthand.  I was thoroughly impressed.

The Little 500 is one of the biggest events of the spring semester at Indiana University.

After the usual college “social” functions and charity events (I do love how the Greek community 'PC' packages all that crazy partying), we packed into the stadium to watch the main event. There are actually rules for the participants in the race that make riding in the race fairly selective.  You have to be a full time student, an amateur cyclist, keep at least a 2.0 GPA and no substance abuse. In contrast, those rules do not apply if you want to enjoy the action from the bleachers!  It was one, huge, loud, enthusiastic pit of people surrounding that track as they shot the gun off for the traditional Indy start.

Everyone rides identical Schwinn bicycles.

I’ll spare you the details of the race, as you just need to watch “Breaking Away” to see how the whole thing works. Teams use the same bike and actually do bike exchanges where one rider will stand on the coaster break as he comes skidding into the exchange box while the new rider does his best cyclocross mount to rejoin the action.  It really is an amazing experience to watch the whole thing. These guys are real cyclists. They pedal those 46x18 gears like true track stars.  In the late 80’s the bikes were big heavy steel beasts, but they are now more sophisticated Schwinn machines (still flat-pedal, single-speed bikes with 36 hole 700c wheels rolling on 28-32mm tires).  If you get a chance to see this unique competition, send us some pictures. It might not be as well-known as a Paris-Roubaix or a Tour of CA, but it’s got its own history and traditions just like those famous races.  Like other great sporting events, you don’t have to actually participate to appreciate the achievements being accomplished in front of you.

What Jersey Hangs on Your Wall

The bike industry is a fairly small industry.  I am constantly amazed at the number of people I run into at bicycle business and events around the country that I have met or ridden with at one time or another.  It’s not uncommon to talk to a rider at a dealer in CA that has climbed to the top of Caesar’s Head in SC, or talk to a customer service rep in Chicago that has watched George win a stage of the Tour of CA.  Our industry is like a family with relatives living in different states.  You don’t always know the other person, but you always have some cycling in common. Hincapie Sales Manager, Lynn Joslin experienced this on a recent visit to Competitive Cyclist in Arkansas.

Competitive Cyclists' Wade Wolfenbarger took the 2010 Six Gap KOM Jersey in the 34 & under category.

While getting the tour of the facility with Hincapie Sales Rep, Robert Snedden she noticed a very familiar jersey handing on the wall.  She is well acquainted with the GA 6 Gap event jerseys and this one was a rather rare 6 Gap KOM jersey from 2010.  The 6 Gap Century is one of the most challenging rides in the southeast, regularly attracts over 3000 riders to the 100 mile event.  Turns out, Wade Wolfenbarger won the 6 Gap KOM competition at the challenging GA century ride last year and was proudly displaying his prize for all his colleagues to see.  (No, he wasn’t actually wearing it at his desk, but I am sure that it is an effective reminder to his coworkers of his climbing prowess.)  We make all the jerseys for the 6 Gap events, and it was a real treat for Lynn to see one so far west.  That’s just proof of the attraction that 11,200 feet of climbing in 100 miles can have on our cycling brethren.

If you’re a climbing fan, or just looking for a first-class century ride to challenge you and your friends, check out the 6 Gap Century. There is a shorter 3 Gap Fifty if you want to finish up earlier to take Wade’s picture at the finish line.  If you do the ride, make sure you get the event jersey to commemorate your accomplishment. You might even want to hang it on your wall.

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