George climbing Mont Ventoux during the 2009 TdFBack in November, when we announced our sponsorship of the Gran Fondo NY, Rich Hincapie of Hincapie Sportswear was planning to build a cellar with brother George, and so he reached out to us to talk about wine, and taste. In great need of a new kit design (see below), we jumped at the chance to develop any kind of rapport with one of our favorite cycling stars, and said Yes! to their offer, totally unaware of the friendship that would follow... Born in Richmond Hills, Queens in 1973, George grew up racing in Central Park and Prospect Park, riding with CRCA's team Toga, before he went pro in 1994. Many wins later, in 2008, George came home to ride with NYVelocity in support of I Challenge Myself, an organization that promotes heath and productivity amongst kids from underprivileged communities through leadership and endurance sports. A team player from NYC who kicks a** on two wheels, supports non-profits that aim to reduce childhood obesity, loves wine (has stellar abs) and crafts killer kits! Who could ask for anything more??? (You can view his palmarès here.) Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge (the women's pro-event), where George will be simultaneously competing in his final race as a pro in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (the men's 7-day stage race), we'll finally get to meet George and Rich (Well, not all of us, but PC and TB respectively...). Rubbing handlebars with a host of other cycling celebrities, including Connie Carpenter, Taylor Phinney (who finished 4th in the Olympic Road Race and Time-Trial), Tejay van Garderen (who finished 5th in the TdF while sporting the white jersey) and his wife Jessica (a two-time national road champion), they'll be clinking glasses with some of cycling's finest, while supporting the women's race.
George with his wife, Melanie Simonneau and their children Julia and EnzoIn the meantime, we'll be dreaming of visiting and riding with George and Rich at La Bastide in Greenville County, SC, a property with an inn, a restaurant and vineyards (!) that the brothers recently purchased. We asked Rich to tell us about the their plans for the space, and here is his reply:
"Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains George and I have ridden past this French Country inn that sits on 30 acres with a beautiful vineyard for years. We’ve always talked about how great it would be to run a facility like this as it represents what we are all about. George is married to a French woman and has spent the better part of his career in Europe. The Inn is located at the start of the best riding in the southeast, with great weather and a vast variety of roads at the base of the mountains. In addition, it has vineyards on site which pretty much sums up our idea of the perfect spot, therefore, we always thought it would be an ideal place for us to own and market.
A few months ago the bank called us and informed us that they had taken La Bastide over, and that they had known through friends in the community that we had interest in it and with George retiring the timing could not be better. We negotiated a great deal and here we are, proud owners of our dream facility. It will take some work to refresh it but we have already started the process and hope to open it early 2013.
Many people ask, will this be a training facility? Will it be for cyclist only? We quickly respond no, La Bastide will be what it once was, a high end French Chateaux with a with a very nice restaurant that will be a go to getaway for people of all types. Sure we can’t discount the fact that many athletes will want to come and train and enjoy world class dining and training, but we will make sure to make it known that this is a place for anyone that wants to spend a relaxing time at a beautiful facility in the Mountains of South Carolina.
Aaaannnnnddddd……we will have some kick ass wine from a good friend of ours from NYC that we have yet to meet but will kick his ass if he doesn’t come on Oct 27th."
It's amazing, the goodness that comes from sponsoring the endeavors of others. If we hadn't made the move to sponsor (and ride) the Gran Fondo NY, we never would have met George and Rich. Stay tuned for more, when PC posts about his hang with the Brothers Hincapie at BRAC.