2015 Hincapie Racing Team Season Recap
I’ve just returned from our second half of the season trip that included The Cascade Classic, Tour of Utah, Americas Pro Challenge and finally the Tour of Alberta. That put me personally on the road from July 19th through September 7th, some of the riders have been gone longer than that but the staff has been on the road since the beginning of July. I was able to come home a couple times but only for a day or two during the week but those guys have really been out there every day. Each member of the team and staff put everything that we had into all of the events and I have to say I couldn’t be more pleased with not only the results for 2015 but the way we came across to the fans, media and other teams.
Starting with the Cascade Classic we actually went 1st & 2nd overall and won 2 stages. Dion, Robin and the team were a class above all the competition and it was clear that the month of altitude training was time well spent. Ty crushed the fan favorite criterium on Saturday night with a massive team lead out and even Miguel got into the action with late surge and bike throw for 3rd.
From there it was a short flight to Utah where the team holed up in Ogden for a few days to check out some climbs before our 3rd trip to The Tour of Utah. Steep climbs and crazy descents made for some very dynamic racing. Robin turned into a field sprinter and Dion took over as the heart attack kid both delivering 2nd place finishes on some of the best races i’ve ever been a part of. Dion’s late attack at stage 3 after being in the break will go down as one of the coolest moves of the year and watching it on replay I still hope he holds on for the win. Our climbing team got into the action on the last couple of days too…home town favorite Rob Squire hung tough on Snowbird and then again on the final day into Park City showing everyone that he was back! The smile on his face after everything he’s been through this year was priceless. Utah was great, we had a blast plus the race and the state continues to impress me. The worlds toughest stage race is one of my favorites.
The USA Pro Challenge was next and after a few easy days in Steamboat the guys were up for the Challenge. The Latvians came back to the racing after a trip home and morale was high. Squire’s recent success carried him to a 3rd place finish on one of the craziest days of racing ever…BMC beat up on us quite a bit but Toms road a solid race and finished up a very respectable 8th place over all. Incredible considering last year he didn’t want to ever go back to an altitude race ever again. Robin crashed early and even though he healed externally “wolverine style” his body never seemed to comeback. Super tough race due to the altitude but again we came through and made the race with several different riders every day. Dion and Toms rarely finished outside the top ten all week, again showing that they belong with the big guys.
The Tour of Alberta started in Grande Prairie which is 4 hours from Edmonton and from what I could tell the last stop before Alaska. The wind and weather played into every days race. An opening TTT helped get things going and although we ended up 6th…we did beat one Pro Tour squad and we were only 5 seconds out of 3rd. A couple of new Mountain top finishes let Dion Smith show that he is a contender for the U23 world championships. Also Toms was right there too and the two of them and the team were the only guys willing to take on the Pro Tour teams. Weather and misdirection on the next to last day ruined our chances for a stage victory but that is the way the ole Bonk Breaker crumbles. On the last day we put 3 guys in the break and then got Dion a 3rd place in the gallop to the line. Nothing but thumbs up from all of the teams on how we raced all week…they hate us but now they respect us.
The races all seem to blend together even after being home for just a few days but my feelings for the guys are still strong. Emotionally it’s tough to stop…its go, go, go everyday all day and then STOP. Everyone gets on a plane and goes home, kinda sad. With no race to go to next week it really starts to hit home, the season is over. When I spoke with directors and staff of all of the other teams the chorus for everyone always seems the same. “Long season…Glad it’s over, that was miserable” However, I have just the opposite coming out of my mouth…”I don’t want it to end, that was great!” There is no magic to what we do out there. Its just a great group of people that appreciate one another, cherish the friendships and the support we give each other and then go out on the road no matter what ride like champs. Maybe knowing that they are all part of the best team in the United States with a great history a great name and lots of supporters probably doesn’t hurt either.