On Monday, cyclist George Hincapie will commence his final race, the grueling, six-day USA Pro Cycling Challenge in the Colorado Rockies. Afterwards, he will enter retirement at the ripe age of 37 as one of the all-time greats: He has ridden the Tour de France a dizzying 17 times – the most in the Tour's history – during which he assisted Lance Armstrong in his seven victories (as well as yellow-jersey winners Alberto Contador in 2007 and Cadel Evans in 2011), and has taken a dozen stages himself, including stage 15 in 2005. As he looks to call it quits, Hincapie shows no interest in starting triathlons. His plans: Hiking, getting to know the bars in Greenville, South Carolina (his hometown), and keeping up his daily ride. "I plan on riding forever. My dad is 70 years old and he's still riding. I'll be there." Launch Gallery >>
Photograph by Joseph Branston / Getty Images
Prep for the Long Haul
Studies have shown that too much time on the saddle can crush your pudendal canal and lead to a variety of health problems. "For professional cyclists, there's a definite concern," Hincapie says. "I use a Fizik Aliante seat and wear Hincapie bike shorts – my brand – and we buy our shammies from Italy. The guys seem to be comfortable with it." And to keep from starving on long rides which, for Hincapie, can be up to seven hours, he throws down a few ZipVit bars. Better yet, if he's lucky, he'll be carrying his wife's own version. "I love homemade bars with granola, nuts, raisins, and honey. That's the natural good stuff. It's important to eat something you enjoy or else it gets monotonous."