Archive for the ‘Hincapie Sportswear’ Category

Every year, I try to end my summer with a half Ironman or some other 5+ hour endurance race. There are several reasons for that little bit of annual madness (like, believe it or not, fun), but perhaps the most important one is to make sure that I don’t fall off the fitness wagon half way through the summer.

Occasionally, I am as serious about performance at these late season events as I am about shorter, more focused races, but most of the time, nope. For me, the most important part of doing a half or full iron distance triathlon is participating. (And finishing.) This past weekend was no exception. Setting up my transition area under a beautiful pre-dawn sky surrounded by some of the fittest people in the US’ South East, my plan was simple: Have fun, take it easy, and enjoy every minute of this race. That is precisely what I did.

Not that I would call mile nine of the half Marathon all that enjoyable… but you get the picture.

Towards the end of the race, I did something that I seldom ever do in athletic competitions: I stopped and waited for a friend who wasn’t having a great day. Instead of running the final few miles to the finish, I walked alongside him and we had a great conversation – something we hadn’t had a chance to do in a very long time. Sure, it didn’t help my run split, but this race – like so many of these late season mile fests – wasn’t about setting personal bests or placing in my age group. This race, perhaps more than any before it, reminded me how much I enjoy the multisport lifestyle I chose to be a part of. How much I enjoy mixing an early morning mass swim, a rugged time trial and a long group run. How much I enjoy the sun’s warmth on my shoulders, the comforting southern wind against my face, and the sights and sounds of hundreds of fellow citizen athletes break a sweat for a few hours.

In nine years of competition I have yet to meet a triathlete I don’t like. There is just something refreshing about the can-do, no bullshit, let’s get it done attitude displayed by this great family of fitness hobbyists. You aren’t likely to hear a whole lot of excuses or “poor me” stories come out of this bunch. What you are likely to hear though is “Good job! Way to go! Looking good, number 123! Hang in there, number 345!” These folks give you a thumbs up and a smile when they pass you, and shout encouragements when you pass them. What other sport generates that kind of positive attitude? The smiles stretching across people’s faces before the gun goes off and once they’ve crossed the finish line tells you volumes about who they are. There are no game faces here. There is no posturing. No political maneuvering. What you see is humanity at its best. Humanity at its most humble. Its most caring. Its most honest. Its most respectful. And yet at its most confident.

I’ve never met a dumb, lazy or mean triathlete. I’ve never met a dishonest one either. I guess there’s something about the psychology of a person who would spend months preparing their body and their mind for a battle against the miles and the desire to quit that just doesn’t click with petty self-serving behaviors. Counting myself among the ranks of these fine men and women is something I am more grateful for than words can convey. I am very lucky to be part of such a wonderful community of human beings.

Here’s to an all too short but memorable triathlon season with the Finish Line-Hincapie Sportswear Triathlon Team. Looking forward to getting even fitter and faster over the cold months ahead. (Spring will be back before we know it.)

Have a great weekend, everyone. 😉

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When I first met Rich Hincapie, Hincapie Sportswear was still in its infancy. Rich had just hired Roby Di Giovine – his first employee. Back then, the only place I had ever seen or heard of Hincapie Sportswear was at local races, where the Les Amis cycling team wore Hincapie’s first generation custom cycling bibs and jerseys. They swore by the quality of the fabrics and chamois, and I have to admit that the design looked pretty darn good. I had just gotten into triathlon a year before and was in the process of putting together a triathlon club in Greenville. We needed custom uniforms to help get sponsors and increase visibility for the club. I got Rich’s contact info from some cycling buddies and looked him up. Back then, Rich rented a tiny little office just two blocks from Main Street Greenville. Even in the early days, I remember Rich’s sense of taste: He had a flat screen TV in that small office. And a fully stocked Red Bull display fridge. 😀 Rich’s desk occupied one wall, and Roby’s the other. The rest was a mix of fabric samples, prototypes and boxes of uniforms in transit to Rich’s first clients. Hincapie Sportswear was as grassroots as a company gets. A lot of us (teams, clubs, etc.) could have opted to go with larger, more established custom uniform vendors, but we opted to give Rich our business. This is a decision that I have never regretted, and as much as I can, I continue to support Hincapie Sportswear in any way that I can to this day… although I have to admit that it’s been a good few years since my help became pretty irrelevant to Rich’s success.

Fast forward to today’s Hincapie Sportswear: International design, manufacturing and quality control. Teams equipped on at least three continents. A trendy HQ in a renovated mill just a few blocks from downtown Greenville – the US East Coast’s booming new cycling Mecca. Print ads in every major cycling mag in the US. It took a few years, but Rich is a patient guy and he wisely decided to take his time and do things right. Patience paid off.

Many of us cyclists and triathletes have enjoyed Hincapie’s performance apparel for years now. Shorts, jerseys, socks, gloves, jackets, tights, summer wear, winter wear, underwear, headwear… But I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures has been to wear the few odd non-performance pieces that Hincapie has put out over the last couple of years. (They have killer Merino wool T-shirts and vintage zip sweaters that look pretty sweet with jeans, khakis, etc.) In other words, one of the cool things about the Hincapie brand is that it started to bridge the gap between cycling/performance apparel and… well, what happens between bike rides. In doing so, it started to truly embody a particular lifestyle as opposed to just… being quality gear. I, for one, started asking Rich, Steve and Roby for more casual off-the-bike clothes and accessories, buying up every new design they came up with. I even got my parents hooked on Hincapie Sportswear’s Merino wool T-shirts a year ago, and I think they’re planning on buying a box of them to give away to their friends as Christmas gifts this year.

Well, Hincapie Sportswear just took a giant leap forward this summer by finally announcing that it will be adding denim to the list of branded off-the bike apparel this fall. (Booyah!) Sunday night, just a few hours after Tyler Hamilton won the US National Road title just half a mile away, the Hincapies put on a pretty kickass fashion show at their galactic HQ (superbly managed by Courtney Lewis) during which Rich’s vision for the cycling lifestyle’s crossover fashions was made crystal clear to a very full house. Roby and I were there to snap a few shots of the new designs.

It isn’t every day that you get to enjoy front row seats to this kind of brand evolution.

Looking forward to sporting some Hincapie jeans in the next couple of months… and discovering what Rich and his growing apparel juggernaut have in store for us next. ;D

Here are a few shots from the Hincapie fashion show:

More shots from the fashion show here. (Or go to the quick slideshow here.)

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