The Hincapie Team camp was held in Greenville South Carolina once again in 2015. Regular readers of this blog may remember that I serve as the team chiropractic physician for this group of young athletes. The team members arrived from around the globe to spend a week reconnecting with each other and meeting their new team mates.
Hincapie Team Camp Tigerville
Any time a cycling team begins a new season, the team organization brings all of the athletes, sponsors and staff together for a week of getting to know each other. The athletes receive their new bicycles, team jerseys (known as “kits”) and ride together as a group for photo opportunities and general enjoyment. Any fitness gains have already been achieved in the relatively short off season. The team camp venue was a large home nestled in the foothills near the beautiful Hincapie owned Hotel Domestique, and the road to the house featured a short and punchy 18% climb immediately before the driveway. There is nothing like a good “recovery” climb at the end of a day of riding.
Team director Thomas Craven planned a week full of activities, and as part of the team building efforts, on Monday, a day of go karting was included.
My first appearance at team camp in my official capacity as team chiropractor was Tuesday afternoon. After getting to know new riders, I set up in one of the bedroom areas in the spacious house. I soon learned that karting the day before and the collisions which naturally occur when racers engage each other in an unfamiliar environment caused more challenges than anyone could have anticipated. The most common issues I encountered with some staff and riders were minor neck and torso strains NASCAR drivers sometimes experience.
New Team Kit
Brian Doege, the Hincapie team chief soigner (a french word meaning literally “care giver”), presented me with a Hincapie branded duffel bag full of giant sized team clothing to match my giant sized 6’7″ body. The new team look for 2015 features neon yellow/green accents on a sleeve and a leg of the shorts, which will make Team Hincapie easy to pick out among the fast moving cyclists of other teams. My bicycle racing days ended years ago, but even at my highest level of fitness, hanging with a group of pro cyclists on a ride could only occur if they decided to allow it. Riding my bike in team kit is the equivalent of wearing a favorite Steelers jersey while tossing the football around: it feels great to wear the uniform, but your body doesn’t morph into Ben Roethlisberger. Likewise, riding in Hincapie colors will unfortunately not add any speed to my 57 year old legs.
At my final appearance at team camp I met the well known cycling photographer Brian Hodes of VeloImages. His work has been featured in cycling media for many years and this years’ Hincapie Team website will be greatly enhanced by his eye for color and composition.
You can check out a sample of his work in the team picture I’ve posted below this article. Meeting Brian was a highlight, and I enjoyed talking with him about the cycling luminaries of the past and present we are both acquainted with. The cycling community is a unique and close knit bunch. When you meet a new person, chances are you share a common friendship with someone else in the community.
Being a part of the 2015 Hincapie organization will be an engaging experience this year. The successes of last season foreshadow the possibilities for 2015 with the majority of the team returning for another season. New additions to the team strengthen an already strong lineup. Adding former national road race champion Chris Wherry as an assistant director brings even more experience to the leadership team of Craven and the Hincapie brothers. As an unrepentant bike geek, the new Felt F1 team bikes were another impressive part of my visit to team camp. The new bikes continue the neon theme of the team kit with subtle graphics and top of the line Shimano Dura Ace components and HED wheels. Understated flash that deserves a spot in my garage!
You should look forward to seeing the flash of neon color this year on podiums all around these United States when Hincapie Racing comes to town.