The 2014 USPRO cycling championship in Chattanooga TN began today with Eric Marcotte and his unheralded SmartStop team racing with a large field of professional cyclists including 23 year old Taylor Phinney; the odds on favorite to win the stars and stripes jersey.  Just two days before, Phinney revealed his dominance in the cycling discipline of time trialing and handily won the event as he did here in Greenville in 2010.  Thus enabling him to once again wear the stars and stripes jersey at every time trial event for the next year.  Phinney would also perhaps make history as the first American male cyclist to win both the road race championship and time trial championship in the same year.  The awful truth of cycling is that it is rarely predictable, and inherently dangerous.  Phinney, the hero and crowd favorite was the victim of a high speed crash while descending Lookout Mountain and suffered significant leg injuries which resulted in an unwanted new race to the hospital and surgery. I pray that he will have a full and complete recovery from his injuries.

Cinderella Rides Bicycles

The unpredictable nature of cycling created another narrative which can only be described as the ultimate Cinderella story.  This years winner, Eric Marcotte,  is a 33 year old cyclist who is also a full time doctor of chiropractic.

Dr. Eric Marcotte rides professionally for Team SmartStop, a domestic cycling team dedicated to developing young cyclists with mentorship by seasoned professionals.  Dr. Marcotte practices in Scottsdale, Arizona and somehow finds time to train and race professionally.  If you are reading this blog post, and have never been involved with cycling, you can have no idea what this accomplishment really means.  The vast majority of cyclists in today’s race are professional riders who dedicate every moment to their sport.

Hincapie Development Team’s Chris Butler

The Hincapie Development Team from here in Greenville, which was created by the vision of brothers George and Rich Hincapie, has a similar focus and desire  as Team SmartStop; to develop young cyclists.  Their support allows these young athletes to totally focus on cycling.  My work with these young athletes allows me to see firsthand the level of commitment and dedication they exhibit in advancing their craft. This race revealed the great potential of the talent on Team Hincapie, with Chris Butler finishing just outside of the top 10.  and Oscar Clark finishing 15th.

The big story today though is Dr. Eric Marcotte. and after 103.6 miles and 4 tough climbs up and over Lookout Mountain I’m impressed beyond measure at his (and his teams) accomplishment, and hope to meet this man who successfully weathered attacks by some European based professionals who earn significantly more as cyclists than most chiropractors will ever see.  Here’s hoping that he (and the Hincapie riders!) are able to join their ranks in Europe in the not too distant future.
Photo Credit: Team SmartStop, Hincapie Development Team