Written by Joey Heard, Hincapie ambassador
In my office is a Hincapie jersey that hangs near the window. People probably assume I have it because I’m a Hincapie ambassador, but this jersey means so much more to me than that.
I earned this jersey by raising funds for the Jackson County Brevet/Kelly Wilhite Aplastic Anemia Research Fund–enough to hit VIP status! This meant a private pre-event ride and dinner with George Hincapie and Christian Vande Velde. At that time, I knew George as the 17-time Tour de France finisher and the man who defined the term “domestique.” Christian was a Gran Tour superstar in his own right and now an NBC Sports celebrity. In short, I was star struck.
When I got to the dinner, I asked them both to sign my jersey, and they graciously agreed. I remained in shock the entire dinner–one I will never forget.
Now, as a Hincapie ambassador, I know George and Christian on a different level. During Gran Fondo events, I watch them helping with set up, greeting guests, and leading rides. At the Hincapie Christmas party, they warmly greeted me, and I met their wives and kids. Through my interactions with them as an ambassador, I realized both guys are more than legends–they’re family men, they’re hard workers, and they’re kind people.
This jersey that now hangs prominently in my office is more than framed memorabilia. In addition, it’s a reminder to me of the Hincapie family of which I am a part. A family that, yes, has legends, but more than that, is full of good people.