Out of the saddle

So I’m back on the credit union gig, and this week the CU crew is here!

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The USA Pro Cycling Championships in Greenville SC! Completely awesome. Today was the 21 mile individual time trial, aka “The race of truth”. There are some top level guys here, like Floyd Landis, George Hincappie, Tom Zirbel, and back to back to back USA time trial champion David Zabriskie! Zabriskie, with team Garmin Slipsteam, is arguably one of the fastest men on two wheels.zabriskieIMG_0012

He currently holds the record for the fastest time trial EVER in the Tour De France. He set that back in 2005 or 2004 I believe. He bested Lance Armstrong by mere seconds, taking the yellow jersey early and holding onto it up until the team time trial where unfortuantely, he had a nasty crash that eventually forced him to exit the tour. He’s still a young rider, and even younger then, and it was a shame to see him have to bow out. But he has gone on to be one of the premiere American Cyclists. Actually in recent years, we’ve had quite a few American cyclists sprout up and make their names known to the world. Names, like Tyler Farrar, Tom Zirbel, George Hincappie, & of course Lance Armstrong are reallly taking American cycling to the next level and also increasing it’s popularity in this country! Thank god! Everyone else in the world cycles, why can’t we? I’m glad to see that the sport is growing and taking some roots in American culture. Lance’s return to the sport is certainly a big reason for the jump in popularity. You simply can’t deny the “Lance effect” Any event or race that he is hat, crowds flock. Many races, such as the Leadville 100, the Tour de France, and Tour Down Under have seen there attendance numbers grow sometimes as much as 3 or even 4 fold!

Everyone at the time trial today, where the attendance numbers were more than twice as many as last years race by the way, was treated to a spectacular event. All of the riders put on a show. These guys really make me look like a chump. I mean, the top level guys are holding an average pace of 30mph….on a bike! When they’re going down hilll they reach speeds topping 50mph. You know these guys are moving when they whip around a corner, and then you see the team car go zooming past in order to keep up with their rider.

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Zabriskie, as expected, kept his title and not only did he keep it, but he destroyed his winning time last year by over a minute! In second place was Tom Zirbel, a young up and coming rider, who was 42 seconds off Zabriskie. I mean Z (yeah we go back) was just flying. He was hammering so hard coming up to the line that we actually popped a wheely. Mind you, he’s popping a wheely at 30 plus.

Trying to shoot this thing was insance. I was running all over to get every kind of shot I could. The riders were on a 7 mile loop which was nice because we got to see each of them 3 times. Usually I’m kind of a fan of running, but today I was running in the sweltering heat, with 30 pounds of camera gear. Not as much fun.

My cycling buddy Sebastian came up as well. He managed to get Zabriskie, Landis’ and a bunch of other guys to sign his shorts. Sadly he was not wearing them, but Z did comment that it wasn’t everyday that he got to sign a dude’s drawers.

Tomorrow is the 110 mile road race. Something like 110-120 riders will be participating. We’ll be setting up out Credit Union booth and talking to people all day about the benefits of joining a Credit Union and why banks suck. Should be a hot, sweaty, fun filled, all day affair.

I’m really digging Greenville. The downtown area is great. Lots of art shops, pubs, and really good restaurants much like Charleston. But Greenville has something that Charleston doesn not, hills. I went for a run when I got into town last night and it was the best feeling run I’ve had in a while. I forgot to bring my Garmin, so I really had no idea how fast or long I was running. I can gage my pace pretty close, but I decided to not pay attention last night at all and run more for the love of running, rather than “training”. I just chose a road and headed North until I hit a major highway and couldn’t go anyfurther.Charleston is nice and all, but it can being frightfully boring to run. It’s just flat everywhere. No varriance at all. I think it’s actually harder to run routes that are entirely flat out. Greenville is nice, lots of ups and downs. Keeps things interesting. Maybe that will make the upcoming 50k trail run easier? That’s what I’m telling my self at least. Greenville also seems to have more variance in their population. The culture seems to be more diverse, and I’ll call it accepting. It feels like people here are really living here and making this place a home as opposed to Charleston where, In all honesty, it feels more like people are escaping, or trying to get away. I don’t know, Greenville just feels more like “home”, or a place that I could call home. I’ve never felt like Charleston was home, but I digress.

Things I witnessed on my run:

Two young teenagers in the throws of passion in the back seat of a Honda Accord in a vacant lot.
A wedding.
I gave up my powerbar to a wandering drifter. I think he was hoping for money but it was the best I could do. I don’t think he liked the taste.
Fireworks.

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~ by glennikin on August 30, 2009.

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