I was lucky enough to get to tag long on a short ride up Paris Mountain with the Jelly Belly boys. Usually I’m a little nervous that I might get dropped right away. You don’t want to be know as the editor that got left behind on the first ascent of the ride. Because the road race is just two days away they were spinning their legs easy on the climb and I was able to hang. But between gasping breaths and my thumping heart, it was obvious that these guys really get along. We talked smack for most of the ride (some of which Tim captured on video. Check it out on roadmagazine.net) and discussed rumors that are swirling in the peloton. It looks like it is going to be a buyer’s market this year with so much
talent floating around. Under the guidance of Brice Jones we navigated our way from the hotel, up Paris Mountain and back without mishap.
The general feel is that the race on Sunday will be decided on the first few laps up Paris Mountain. The race climbs it four times, unlike last year when it was five, but it will still shred the field. Jeremy Powers was telling the story of how Vaughters drove up to Jason McCarthy during last year’s edition and told him he had to push it up Paris Mountain to thin out the field. Powers said to Jason, “No we don’t man! There’s only about 40 of us left!” About 10 to 12 minutes of climbing, but enough to leave the best American riders groveling.
This is my view from the back as we climbed Paris Mountain