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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Flying Cyclist - Introduction

It is my intent to add the "Flying Cyclist" as a regular addition to this blog. The "flying cyclist" is my friend Ben who lives in South Carolina. He, like I, was destined to greatness in cycling. Tall, lean, athletic, he like I, could be a spectacular cyclist - if only we could find time to train.

We grew up together in Greenville, SC, home of George Hincapie, the 2009 Pro Championships, and always a stop for the Tour DuPont when it was running. He and I both saw Lance Armstrong in 1994's Tour DuPont in Greenville, and the next morning in North Carolina. My dad drove us up there and encouraged us to get a picture with the up and coming favorite. I'm sure I got an autograph too - Man I wish I still had it... He placed 2nd that year, for the second year in a row, but would go on to win the final 2 runnings of the Tour DuPont in 1995 and 1996 (The year I graduated from High School).

Me and Lance - Check out the bag in the back of the car. Must be George's change of clothes.

Ben and Lance

Ben and I pedaled all over the Greenville county back country trying to look like pros and talk our mothers into letting us shave our legs, but never really had any clue what we were doing. As I write this the stories flood back - but I'll save some of them for later.

So that's Ben and Me.

We are still close friends - on opposite ends of the country. We've ridden together once now in the last 10 years - last year during our family vacation. He hasn't returned to the sport to nearly the extent that I have, but cycling addiction is permanent. It never goes away for good.

Which is why I'm adding this segment of my blog. Cycling is beginning to flow in his veins again, and it is manifesting itself in creative ways.

I think this is the Cessna, he took me up in to do "radio station traffic."

Ben is a Private Pilot flying a variety of small aircraft around the eastern US. Part of the gig is staying overnight or even several nights at a time in random cities waiting for whoever to get done with whatever, so that he can fly them to the next wherever. I've spent many hours chatting on the phone with a bored Ben, wishing he were back home with his wife and 4 kids.

Enter his permanent addiction...
He has begun taking the bike along. I will post his first adventure in a few days. With any luck, he will feed the addiction and provide us with insight regarding cycling in cities across the eastern US.

1 comment:

  1. Tslk about memories coming back. One is particularly vivid. Let me go back to when the cyclist Scott was beginning to bud. When he was in grade school his mother would only let him ride his bike up and down the street in front of the house. Then when she thought he was ready, he was allowed to ride around the block. Then when he and Ben were older and Mom thought that he was ready, they rode the streets of Greenville. Not sure that Mom was really ready for that, but Daddy was not into clipping your wings as short as I was. Then came the big question,"Can Ben and I ride to the top of Paris Mt?" "Uh--No!" The question came again and the answer was still the same, and then came again and the answer was still the same, with the added statement that if he kept pushing it, he would be riding his bike up and down the street in front of the house like he use to. Days or maybe weeks later, that point escapaes me now, he asked again and I guess at that point Mom had had time to adjust to the idea and consented. And the rest, as they say, is history. In looking back, it was not so much that it was Scott being ready for the next step, as it was for Mom being ready for it to happen. And there are times even now when Mom wishes she could say, "If you suggest that again, you WILL be riding up and down the street in front of the house." But Mom has nothing to say about it---well, she has plenty to say, but nothing that has any impact. She knows her place and generally says these things only to herself and..............
    Looking forward to hearing about Benjamin's adventures. And I am sure some past adventures, some of which I had no knowledge, for fear at the time that your wings would be clipped for sure.