George Hincapie's Anti-Sticky-Bun Blowout

Age: 32

Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina

Team: Discovery Channel

Credentials: Won stage 15 of 2005 Tour de France; second in 2005 Paris-Roubaix; two stage wins in 2005 Dauphin� Lib�r�

Ask most cyclists in Greenville, South Carolina, what their favorite local ride is, and the answer you usually get is the Bakery Ride to Saluda, for sticky buns at the Wildflour Bakery. But George Hincapie says, "The climb isn't hard enough. Plus, those sticky buns are like a thousand calories." His favorite: Caesars Head, which has what he calls "one of the hardest climbs in the area." The ride crosses part of the Mountain Bridge State Natural Area near the North Carolina border, then heads back over Paris Mountain. You start casually, pedaling out of Greenville and through the tree-lined mall of Furman University. After 15 minutes, Hincapie says, you'll hit the rolling hills, rivers and old farms of South Carolina's Upcountry, then the 6-mile Caesars Head climb, which averages about 7 percent. Just before the summit, at 3,266 feet, there's a chocolate shop on the left. Hincapie skips it. But everyone should stop at the crest to gawk at Table Rock and the Blue Ridge Mountains. In mid-September to November, watch for migrating birds flying through the valley below.

On the way back to Greenville, Hincapie takes a detour for more intervals up Paris Mountain. While his heart rate often averages around 130 bpm for the entire ride, he says he can hit 185 on the climbs. "Both climbs are really good gauges of my fitness," he says.

The Ride: Greenville-Caesars Head-Paris Mt.

Distance: 80 miles

Hincapie's Time: 4 hours


Depart left out of Hincapie Sportswear (45 Pete Hollis Blvd.) on Buncombe St.

RIGHT on Old Buncombe Rd.

LEFT on Duncan Chapel Rd.

RIGHT into the back entrance of Furman University

Continue through the campus and exit the gate on Old Roe Ford Rd.

Cross Hwy. 25 onto Roe Ford Rd.

Road changes name from Roe Ford Rd. to New McElhaney Rd.

Road changes name from New McElhaney Rd. to Old McElhaney Rd.

RIGHT on Old Hunts Bridge Rd.

RIGHT on Hunts Bridge Rd.

Jog left across 186 then turn RIGHT on Owings Rd.

RIGHT on Pace Bridge Rd.

RIGHT on Hwy. 288 (Pumpkintown Rd.), then quickly LEFT on Marked Beech Rd.

LEFT on Moody Bridge Rd.

RIGHT on Pleasant Grove Rd.

RIGHT on Hwy. 11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Hwy.)

Bear LEFT on Hwy. 8 (Caesars Head Hwy.)

Bear LEFT on Hwy. 276 up to the summit of Caesars Head

LEFT at the Caesars Head overlook entrance at the top of the climb

Reverse route to Roe Ford Rd.

On Roe Ford Rd., cross Hwy. 25 and quickly bear LEFT on New Roe Ford Rd.

Cross Hwy. 276

LEFT on Old Buncombe Rd.

RIGHT on Altamont Rd. (Paris Mountain climb)

Continue on Altamont Rd.

Cross Hwy. 253 (State Park Rd.); road changes name as Altamont Rd. becomes Piney Mountain Rd.

LEFT on N. Pleasantburg Dr. (Hwy. 291)

RIGHT on Rutherford Rd.

LEFT on 276 (Rutherford St.)

RIGHT on Pete Hollis Blvd.

Arrive at Hincapie Sportswear