Ready or not today is what we came here to do. Updated forecast claim the rain won’t come till later. We are up early and at the start gate ready to ride.
The atmosphere is charged and everybody is rearing to go. So far the weather is holding and we soon rush with the rest of the over 1000 rider. As expected, the pace is fast but Jimmy and I stay near the front. Jeff and Art have opted for the shorter ride.
The big challenge of the day is a several miles climb locally referred as the raccoon mountain. We climbed that one at our pace and managed to keep our position.
At the first rest stop, I decided to settle for doing the 50 miles event even though by legs felt ready to complete the 80 miler.
What finalized such a decision was the prospect to ride back with Jim and the chance meeting of Ricardo Hincapie who was escorting his grand son Enzo back to the finish line
While I never met up with Jim on the return, I loved riding with the Hincapie even as it meant going slower.
Enzo is just 9 and riding well. It was a joy to see him with his grand father. A throwback to the old Kissena Ccling Clif days when we were escorting George and Ritchie in training ride.
We arrived, rested at the finish but proud to have contributed to making the young kid motivated to really apply himself to the ride.
We all came together at the finish, proud of what we had achieved.
Post ride we dipped in the hotel jacuzzi before heading out for a walk to a most charming part of town designated as the arts neighborhood. There we sat in a cafe enjoying the setting, the street and parcs artwork and tasty French pastries with large cappuccino
Later we got a ride to the After Ride diner. on the Team’s Bus with some of the riders and organizers of the event. The after ride event was an opportunity to see some of the VIP and to socialize with family and friend of the Hincapie’s and some of the VIP.
In the evening , we stopped on a Cinco De Mayo street party, where we wandered through the crowd celebrating with food, drinks and street dancing.
The evening was pleasant, the heat of the day tempered by a few rain drops that never lasted or threatened the pleasant atmosphere of the crowds.
In all, the celebration was a fitting Goodby to a town that received us with reputed southern grace.