How I Roll: Bikerumor Interview with George Hincapie
We recently asked you to submit a few questions you’d like to ask George Hincapie, and we combined those with our own questions for The Man.Ã‚Â Following are the answers about what it’s like to be George, how he feels about racing and some of the rules and some very specific hints as to how much longer he’ll be racing.
Here’s how George Hincapie rolls…
BIKERUMOR: In a nutshell, what’s it like being George Hincapie?
George Hincapie: Things are going really well for me right now and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m thankful that I still love racing my bike.
BIKERUMOR: If you averaged it out, in a given day (when you’re not racing), what percentage of your time is spent:
– managing your businesses
– working with your sponsors
GH: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to answer this question because my days can be different.Ã‚Â I ride about 4-5 hours a day.Ã‚Â I try to sleep 9-10 hours a day (if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m lucky).Ã‚Â And I like to spend as much time with my family as I can.
BIKERUMOR: How involved are you in the day-to-day operations of your various businesses?
GH: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have any specific day-to-day responsibilities at Hincapie Sportswear, but I definitely stay involved by communicating with my brother Rich several times a day.Ã‚Â When IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m in Greenville I stop by the office several times a week.Ã‚Â I help when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s needed.
BIKERUMOR: Besides maintaining a stellar reputation in the peloton, you’ve built a brand around your name with a diversified product line (denim, cycling clothing, compression wear, accessories and even sunscreen) which, in theory, gives you a second life when your professional cycling career ends.Ã‚Â What advice would you give young riders in terms of personal and professional development that could help them avoid a troubled career like Pantani or Frank Vandenbroucke?
GH: You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t predict what happens in the future, but you can plan for what you want to happen in the future.Ã‚Â The only advice would be to remember that you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t race your bike forever, so plan for the day when you will not get paid to ride your bike.
BIKERUMOR:I know you’re excited about actually being able to wear your own brand for 2010Ã¢â‚¬Â¦is BMC bummed that their clothing line isn’t on the team’s backs?
GH: Everyone is very excited to wear Hincapie Sportswear apparel.
BIKERUMOR: You’re transitioning from riding a Scott to a BMCÃ¢â‚¬Â¦how long does it take to really get dialed into a new bike after riding the same brand day-in and day-out for years?
GH: It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take me long to get used to riding a BMC.Ã‚Â They are great bicycles.Ã‚Â We know our position and we make the new bike match the position on the old bike, so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that hard to dial it in.
BIKERUMOR: Do very many riders or teams get saddles in a sponsorship deal, or is that such a personal preference item that it’s left up to the rider?
GH: Most large teams have saddle sponsorships.
BIKERUMOR: How much technical feedback do you provide to your equipment sponsors throughout the season?Ã‚Â Are there things you could request to be changed now that would be ready by Tour of California or Tour Down Under, or does it usually take a full season to see the products change?
GH: Most sponsors use the team to help develop the products they make, so they want the feedback.Ã‚Â We give feedback all the time, especially when the products are new or prototype.Ã‚Â Yes, some changes can be made quickly in time for important races.Ã‚Â Racing usually improves the product design, because it is used in the most extreme conditions.
BIKERUMOR: What’s one thing you’ve worked with a sponsor on to improve that’s made the biggest difference in your racing?
GH: Racing and training for the spring classics is one of the most valuable benefits for bike manufacturers.Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve provided feedback that has improved the bikes in the past.
BIKERUMOR: From my understanding, the UCI’s minimum weight rule is there to keep bikes safe by not giving up strength or durability just to be light, yet there are production bikes that drop well below the minimum that have solid track record.Ã‚Â In your opinion, should that weight limit be lowered, and if so, what do you think is a good minimum limit?
GH: The UCI makes the rules for the sport, so I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have much to do with that.Ã‚Â We all want the bikes to be as safe as possible.
BIKERUMOR: That’s a very “safe” answer… If you could step into Pat McQuaid’s shoes for a day, what would you change?
GH: Luckily I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to wear Pat McQuaidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shoes.
BIKERUMOR: When’s the George Hincapie Gran Fondo?
GH: WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to think about scheduling a George Hincapie Gran Fondo.Ã‚Â Maybe weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll do that in a few years when I stop racing.
BIKERUMOR: In the off season, you play some tennis.Ã‚Â What else do you do to cross train during the winter?
GH: I do a core workout that helps me build strength.
BIKERUMOR: Do you do any non-cycling training during the race season?
GH: I do my core workout throughout the season.
BIKERUMOR: At this year’s (2009) US Pro Championships, Dave Zabriskie had a massive solo lead for much of the raceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦did you think he might take it?
GH: You never know what will happen with that situation.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely good to have him off the front for a little while.Ã‚Â Craig Lewis worked hard with some others to bring him back when it counted.
BIKERUMOR: Which past rider do you most admire and why?
BIKERUMOR: Which current rider do you most admire and why?
BIKERUMOR: When you retire from professional road racing, what do you plan on doing?
GH: I plan to continue to work with Hincapie Sportswear when I retire.Ã‚Â WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve built a really solid company that will be around for years to come.
BIKERUMOR: Do you mountain bike?Ã‚Â If so, what’s your favorite trail?
GH: I love to ride my mountain bike.Ã‚Â I ride a lot at Paris Mountain State Park.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great system of trails really close to my house.
BIKERUMOR: What’s your favorite place to ride road bikes (city, country, road)?
GH: I love riding around Greenville, SC.Ã‚Â I live here because I like this area a lot.Ã‚Â During my training, I ride to the top of CaesarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Head a lot.
BIKERUMOR: What are you afraid of?
GH: They asked me that question when we were making my new DVD, A Ride with George Hincapie.Ã‚Â YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to watch the DVD to get that answer!
QUESTION: Clearly you have a love of the spring classics, yet you spent many years on teams that were principally focused on Grand Tours (and the TdF specifically). Why did you not move to a classics team, and do you now regret not making such a move a few years ago?
GH: I do not regret my team rides in the past or present.Ã‚Â I am very proud of what I have accomplished on all the teams IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ridden for.Ã‚Â I do my best in the Spring Classics and I support my team in the Tour de France as well as I can.Ã‚Â No regrets.
QUESTION: Will you be racing the Giro in 2010?
GH: As of right now, I will not be racing the Giro.
QUESTION: What is going through your mind in those big moments during races, such as this past TdF when you were in the break and you know youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not getting caught or when you are up front in the closing kms at a race like Paris Roubaix?
GH: You try to think about winning at the most critical moments of the race.Ã‚Â If you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think about winning, you have less of a chance to actually win.Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve learned about the importance of the mental side of the sport, so I try to think about success in order to be successful.
QUESTION: How long do you hope to carry on racing, how many Tour de France starts are you hoping to do ?
GH: I have a 2 year contract with BMC.Ã‚Â I plan to continue to race as long as I am motivated and capable of doing so.Ã‚Â I still love racing my bike.