George Hincapie, our hometown cycling legend, says he can count on one hand the number of days he can’t ride outdoors here. Hincapie has also biked around France 16 times, which is 16 times more than most Upstate cyclists will likely ever do. And it’s just as likely that many area bicycling aficionados would just as soon take advantage of our 221 annual days of sunshine rather than ride in weather that doesn’t faze George Hincapie.
On weekends, the 42-year-old star joins a handful of friends on a 55- to 60-mile ride that always includes major hills; his specialty, after all, is climbing hills, mountains, even the Alps. The two-to-three-hour trips start at Hotel Domestique, the boutique inn he owns with his brother, Rich.
En français, the word domestique means “domestic” or, really, “servant.” George Hincapie made his career as one of those to some of the world’s top cyclists: Tour de France winners Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, and Lance Armstrong. The domestique serves as the pro-cycling world’s workhorse. He’s the power-point person who pulls the peloton, providing a front-of-the-pack windbreak, thus easing resistance and helping the ultimate winner save energy for the final breakaway to the yellow jersey.
The high-end camp rides four or five times a year, Rich Hincapie says. The next XD runs from Thursday, January 25, to Sunday, January 29. The cost? A cool $5,000. So far, eight people are signed up to stay in the inn’s 13 rooms, with a maximum of 15, he says. The daily one-to-four-hour rides end with gourmet meals, massage therapy from a five-time Tour de France soigneur, and training discussions about cycling and nutrition. Pre-ride programs include bike maintenance, core-building, and stretching classes.
“It’s not a cheap ticket,” Rich concedes, “but it’s a luxury experience for beginners to world-class riders.”