It's time for the USA Professional National Championships in Greenville, SC again. It is an event that brings the best riders in the country and tons of awesome fans to the city in South Carolina. The past few years it has been in September and has sort of marked the end of the season in the states. The change in date this year will make nationals more in line with the world calendar but could also change the dynamics of the race a bit.
Last year I had the opportunity to race this race as a stagiaire with Team Type 1. Being a stagiaire basically means that a professional team puts you on the roster for one of the races towards the end of the year as a way to test you out and see how they think you will do if you are given a contract for the following season. USPRO 2010 was quite the experience. It was the first time I rode in a field that strong. It was crazy to line up to riders such as Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, and various other riders that I have followed since I began cycling.
Ben King won the race last year by essentially riding solo of the front for most of the day. This year, though, I can almost guarantee that it won't happen that way again. The course is the same as it was last year, so we will climb over Paris Mountain 4x again. Even though it will only take 10 minutes to go from the bottom to top, it will definitely cause riders to break every time. I'm sure that every lap the field will get smaller and smaller, similar to past years.
As for Team Type 1 though, we will have two riders in the race; Scott Stewart, and myself. I am hoping this year the race will go even better than it did last year. I have had a lot more opportunity to train in the mountains this year and I have a lot of hours in the saddle, even though it is only the end of May. I have no doubt that it will be a super difficult race this year, especially since many of the riders are coming from the Tour of California and will have great fitness from that, but if we play our cards right, we should be able to do pretty well.
The race starts on Monday at 11am. Until then it will be time for recovery and preparation. By 5:00pm on Monday a new national champion will be crowned and I will plan on posting a race report following the race!
For more info on the race check out: