Paybacks are supposed to be hell, and I guess that depends on how your read it. Levi Liephimer stormed to victory with a 1.11 gap over the rest including team mate George Hincapie whom everyone assumed was helpin' out a team mate for the win at last years USPRO, but he seemed a little disgruntled afterwards. I won't bore you with to many details you can read those on the web.
Greenville, SC is a perfect place for a bike race. The city center is well kept and you can tell that the city takes pride in it's main street. Tree lined, providing a green canopy high above to shade the citizens below, wide side walks with manicured shrubs along the way, and brick pavers on the road. Great place to watch a bike race. The format of the race made it great for spectators to mingle through the downtown area. After 3 four mile circuits of the city the crew went out for four 21 mile loops across Paris mountain, so every 45 minutes the race would speed through town and go back out again until the final 3 circuits of the city. It was great to sit at a table along the side walk eating my lunch and watch the field come coursing through the turns right past me on their way through town. The finish was a monster with a climb of about 500m and an average of about 10%.
This race had a special feel to it, kinda like a hometown race and one that will live my memory. I guess it had to do with it being and American race with American fans, an American city, and 114 American racers. It was very special when the national anthem was sang and to hear the hush come over the crowd and the cheers go up when it was finished. It's great to be an AmeriCAN. I hope the USPRO Championships come back to Greenville next year.
Unlike other sports American cycling fans are participants, and understand the sport from a whole different perspective than other sports. Ever go to a football game and look in the stands. What do you see? Big-un's, acres and acres of Big-un's all living vicariously through some guy whom they couldn't get within ten feet of and probably wouldn't give them the time of day. Go to a bike race and what do you see? 90% of the people there are lean, healthy and fit, and enjoying a sport that most participate in at some level, be it racing or recreational riding. And the racers will actually talk to you.
There are a lot of negatives associated with the sport at the highest level, but there is more good than bad. I think American cycling is the place where the image can be restored. Why do so many Euro's want race in the US for less money? Because the pressure to dope is not prevalent as is in Europe. That's not to say all American cyclists are pure. There is always some rat fink dirty scum back cheat willing to do anything to win, and they should all be thrown under the bus. I'll put faith in the sport and which is still something worthy of our support. Judging from my experience in Greenville, AMeriCAN cycling seems very strong and I have hope for the future.
PS: look where the arrows are pointing in the pic. You can see my bald head above my wife's. We made the big time.