Riding with a professional cyclist (even if it is not a race, but nice tempo riding) it is more exiting than watching them on TV. I had a chance this fall to be part of an event that combined food and cycling to raise money for cancer research.
The main cycling event was a 100K ride on Sunday with about 250 cyclists participating. Everybody knows Charleston, SC is a dead flat place so nobody was afraid of getting dropped on the first climb. But the group still split few times over the course of the three hours it took to cover 100K.
George Hincapie, an American pro road champion, stayed in the front to let people ride and chat with him from time to time. He is really a nice person, very approachable and very enthusiastic about food. When you burn over 6000 calorie a day, it makes sense that you're interested in food. He's really at ease on the bike, removing or adding clothes, tweeting on his cell phone, and eating, all like he was comfortably sitting on a chair. His pedaling cadence was high, probably over 90 RPM, and he was shifting gears much more often than any other rider to keep his pedaling very fluid.
The night after the ride we all went to Trattoria Lucca where chef Ken Vedrinkski and his staff cooked a wonderful dinner. Even if I was in charge of serving two dishes, I had a chance to sit down in the dining room and enjoy the food with guests. Ken and Charleston have a great sense of hospitality.