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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.