Day one at USPRO
Tim and I are in Greenville, South Carolina for the USPRO time trial and road race. For anyone who hasn’t visited Greenville, it really is a hidden gem and I can see why George Hincapie as well as Craig Lewis call this city home. Greenville is located at the base of some mountainous roads that offer great training routes. The downtown area is very cool with eclectic coffee shops (ROAD recommends the Coffee Underground), a variety of restaurants and amazingly friendly people. The local bike shop has almost daily rides through the countryside. I spoke to Rich Hincapie and he told me they have a nightly Tuesday road race with a police escort! How cool is that?! Back in L.A. the only time the police come out to our rides is to tell us to ride single file. I gotta figure out how to open a satellite ROAD office out here.
While we were walking around downtown we came across Lucas Euser and Chad Hartley enjoying a post-training ride coffee. We swapped stories and rumors for a few minutes. Both those riders are up and comers and we’re sure we’ll see them on a ProTour team in the future.
Next was the press conference. Press conferences are useful, not to so much for us, because we’re not too concerned with getting timely quotes up on the web, I’ll leave that to the other guys. For ROAD it’s about getting our credentials and more importantly grabbing food. Before the press conference began I caught the eye of David Zabriskie who was at the dais with George Hiincapie, Race to Replace winner A.J. Smith, Chris Wherry and Chris Baldwin and Craig Lewis. We nodded to each other and I noticed that Dave is rocking a full beard. I rubbed the side of my face and gave and mouthed, “What’s up with the beard?” David shot me back a double thumbs up. Classic David Z…doing his own thing. Dave is a fast rider, in contrast to his every movement which is like watching him in slow motion. From unscrewing the cap to the bottle of water, to running his hands through his hair: slow and deliberate.
The mayor as well as sponsors spoke about how excited they are about this being the first time the USPRO is open to Americans only, as well as the first time that it isn’t being raced in the streets of Philadelphia. Usual press conference stuff.
However, David Zabriski stole the show with his deadpan answers.
Announcer: What motivates you?
David Zabriskie in a slow drawl: I want to win. That’s what motivates me.
Announcer: How’s your form for tomorrow?
David Zabriskie: It should be okay. I can’t complain.
David Z is like the comedy of Monty Python. Some people think it’s the funniest stuff ever or they just don’t get it.
Afterwards I put some important questions to Dave.
ROAD: You’re rocking the beard. What’s up with that?
David Z: After I got done shaving my arms and legs, the razor was too dull to go to the face.
ROAD: You didn’t decide to go buy another blade and shave again?
David Z: There comes a time when every man needs a beard.
ROAD: Will you shave it down to a goatee for the time trial?
David Z: They kicked out the only other guy with facial hair, so…
After the conference we went to the lobby of the hotel to where the food was being served. It was classic delicious Southern fare, but one entrée stood out. They were serving what I called grit-tails. Poured into a plastic martini glass were grits and shrimp. Let me tell you, it was damn good! A.J. Smith sat down with us to give us the full scoop on riding for the Discovery Team for one race, the time trial. He was blown away by the organization of it all. Unfortunately, he’s had some hamstring problems that haven’t allowed him to train for the past two weeks. But he doesn’t lack in confidence. A.J. and I made a few $10 bets. When we gave him a copy of our Tour of California issue he bet me $10 that he’d win a stage of that race, another $10 bet that we’d have him on the cover of ROAD, and $10 that he’d win the upcoming national pursuit championships at the ADT Velodrome. Some might say that’s cocky, but in order to win you need to be certain of what you want to accomplish, otherwise you’ll always be the guy who finishes top 10.
Tomorrow the T.T. Stay tuned for more random stuff.