Velogal's Blog

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Continuing my leisurely spin down Memory Lane, this image is George Hincapie and Gary Erickson, CEO of Clif Bar, at Interbike 2004. Gary is presenting George with the $10,000 check for being top vote-getter in the 2004 Beyond the Podium Award. For those of you who are not familiar with the BTPA, Clif Bar wanted to recognize and honor the top, hard-working domestiques whose work and dedication got Lance on the Tour de France Podium. The fans voted George as their choice for 2004.

This award is particularly meaningful to me, because I have that $10,000 Beyond the Podium check hanging on the wall in my bedroom! Yep, I guess you could say that George Hincapie gave me $10,000...

The story: I was hanging out with George and the guys while they waited at the Clif Bar expo area for the presentation. I took a lot of shots, and afterwards, George was carrying this huge piece of cardboard and wondering what he was going to do with it. He had appearances at other sponsor booths and a flight to catch later in the day. “Uhhh - You want this?”, he said to me. OMG - Do I want it? It took me a whole millisecond to say yes... How cool is that? George Hincapie gives me his BTPA check? Awesome! If only I could have cashed it...

So I was really thrilled and I had scored bigtime in the fan world. However, along with all my photography gear, I now was walking around the vastness of the Interbike Expo with a four-foot-long piece of heavy cardboard that was almost two feet wide. Awkward, to say the least. I tried carrying it vertically, and then horizontally. No matter what I did, I bumped into people and exhibits. Vertically, I couldn’t see where I was going. Horizontally, every time I turned my body, I banged the back of the check into someone. I whapped more people in the fanny than I ever have in my life. And, everybody had to stop and ask me about it.

It was late afternoon, and Interbike was closing in a couple of hours - I didn’t want to leave yet. But my rental car was parked out in the lot about a mile away - by the time I walked out and stashed the check, I’d miss out on some appearances by other riders at their sponsor booths.
So I just lugged the damn thing around as best I could, and propped it up against something while I took photos... I must have looked really weird....

But wait, there’s more! As I was hiking around with my prize, it gradually dawned on me that I also had to get this on a plane back to San Jose. I began to have this little niggling thought that maybe George hadn’t given me the giant check as a token of his affection for me after all. Maybe he was smart enough to figure out that no way in Hell was he going to haul that monster check all the way back to North Carolina! Naaah - couldn’t be - shame on me for being such an ingrate.... But still..... He was gonna get the $10k, with or without the token award check.

So I decided that I could never get it on a plane - no way. I went by one of those Mailboxes R Us places and they said, “Sure, no problem - well wrap it and send it for you.” By the time they got thru with the foam board, bubble wrap, yards of brown paper and tape, plus oversize shipping charges, I paid $133.00 to get my wondrous gift sent home. I thought, “OMG - for that, I could have sent George, himself, to my house via Southwest Airlines.”

Just kidding, George. I love ya, man - and I have something that no other George Hincapie fan in the world has (I think)... I look at it every day and smile... Life is good...


  • En realidad no entendí nada, pero sip eres !bieeennn buenmozo!.. jejeej...
    Qué estés muy bien..!

    By Blogger flordellotus, At 10:46 AM  

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