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Riding Fixed, Up Mountains, with Pros – Episode 10: Caesar's Head

 

It's been a lifelong dream of this episode's host, Scott Piercefield, to meet the legendary American Sportsmancaster, Bob Costas. Scott considers himself a sort of amateur sportsmancaster, and those near, dear, and fully man-crushing on Mr. Piersafelde have experienced his tomfoolish commentary and analysis on any and all things sports and wildlife. The only topic of conversation that Scott asserts more than his childhood skateboarding is his overt affection for Bob Costas.

For Episode 10, we travel to Greenville, SC for Scott's final episode as host. The parting is not amicable. Well actually, we and Scott don't know that the relationship is severed just yet, but it happens, and you'll find out why. It's over, Scott.

Our guest, Christian Vande Velde (CVDV, not to be confused with JCVD, also of Belgian descent) is the only Sportsmancaster more legendary than Bob Costas, which makes him the legendaryest. Well actually, he's an NBC Sportsman Analyst. Did Bob Costas ever win a Tour de France stage race? Does Bob Costas have a perfect record of TV appearances without pink eye? It simply isn't possible that we make a synergy of sports commentary and cycling icon dreams come true for soon-to-be-dead-to-us Scott.

We're out the door at sunrise, and Scott thinks he can see Bob's face in the clouds. CVDV will be dropping his kids off at school and won't be meeting up for a few hours, but Scott insisted that we reserve almost three hours of preparation and anticipation prior. I've seen fanboy, but never like this.

Bob stepped down from NBC Sports earlier this year and it was especially crushing to Scott.

He lunges into the grocery store counting each quad-shredding step, "Christian Vande Velde one. Christian Vande Velde two..."

In an attempt to lift spirits we lob a Hail Mary. "Scott, do you want a treat?"

Cotton Candy is a confection made primarily from magic and also by spinning liquefied sugar through small holes into a heated sugar reserve bowl, inside which, conventionally onto a stick, the sugar then rapidly cools and solidifies into small strands, finally resembling fibrous cotton. Magic is real; it's seen here.

South Carolina's Ingles delivers. I've never been to South Carolina before and I'm liking it.

And I'm liking Greenville a lot. CVDV's suggestion to meet at Tandem Crperie & Coffeehouse before the ride is a distinguished choice. It's a beautiful space inside with an even better outside patio. Most importantly their product and service is dialed to 11: dialed coffee, dialed crepes, one of those menus that's small and simple, but just big enough to please everyone, and some of the most genuinely welcoming personalities there to get you what you need. They all say "y'all".

We still have about an hour to burn, and I like the way these boys look in the morning light.

Christian shows up and orders the Grazing Goat: honey goat cheese, blueberry compote, walnuts, greens, and topped with balsamic vinaigrette.

Scott got the Lumberjack: Ham, bacon, eggs, cheese, and topped with maple syrup and béchamel.

We take our final bites from a full patio of Bentwood Chair 18 that would make Thonet proud and then head out. Tandem, A+. Thank you!

We post up on Geer Hwy 276 where it meets Pumpkintown Hwy 8, just as the climb to Caesars Head State Park begins. CVDV brought two pairs of dancing kicks but on this day he dons his finest.

Note: The DGC is a film car, not a support car. The athletes on Riding Fixed, Up Mountains, with Pros may choose to support themselves, and today Scott will support both of them, carrying Christian's water bottle in addition to his own.

Some final bike checks and shoe flexing and they're off. We're quite accustomed to the landscape of the Southwest and don't know what to make of this Greenville. Please enjoy some gratuitous humidity porn...

Atop Hwy 276 just three miles from the North Carolina border is the overlook that the state park is well-known for. It's a massive view of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range that most notably includes Table Rock Mountain and Reservoir.

Greenville, South Carolina is Google's favorite Greenville for a very good reason, but 34/50 states in the US of A are proud to have their very own Greenville as well.

Scott gets cozy with Christian at the top of Appalachia for a segment appropriately titled Sports with Christian and Scott.

Hard-hitting highlights for this never-again-to-be-revisited segment include:

Scott has one more activity in store before they descend, and fully honest disclosure: we had no idea what he was up to. This clip did not make it into the episode, but here is the transcript:

Scott: "Hey, uh before... I'm gonna go pee real quick. You stand like right there and just wait."

Christian: (laughs) "Am I supposed to watch?"

Scott: "You can watch if you want. In fact... I'd encourage you to watch."

It's possibly the most fixie-foolish act I've ever witnessed. Scott pulls a man-emergency fakeout and skids dirt all over a Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong teammate, and NBC legend's custom-painted trophy shoes. It's the ultimate disrespect. There is no coming back from this.

Update: Scott fully came back from this. No harm was done.

What's your gear ratio?

48x19

If you missed last episode, an important descent tradition was trademarked...

"Hold it until you blow it"

Scott: "90s are like my favorite time"

Christian: "Colors. Everyone had neon clothes. Chrome bikes."

Scott: "Jnco jeans. Did Jnco ever approach you?"

Christian: "No... The best brand I got to wear was No Fear."

Before we part ways with Christian, Scott takes one last opportunity to impress the CDVD and recuperate the respect and trust lost in the Shameful Skid Incident of 2019 at Caesar's Head. It seems that Christian's Trikke has a damaged wheel and he informs us that it can no longer be used for fitness, fun, nor gaining respect, admiration, or friendship.

"Check this out." – Scott Piercefield, Greenville, SC, 2019

It's an absolutely momentous event and we celebrate for the rest of the day. Three cheers, Scott!

Along the highway home, we encounter Bald Rock Heritage Preserve. It appears that a harmful tradition of spray painting graffiti art onto the rock is the most prominent means to show respect to the preserve.

Pictured here, Scott shows non-invasive respect to Bald Rock with his favorite piece of graffiti art in the preserve.

He begs the question, "Will YOU rock it with me at prom?"

Will you rock it at prom in a 2017 Audi?

Please enjoy some gratuitous Greenville porn while you decide...

We finish the day at Todaro Pizza for the second consecutive day because it's that good.

DON'T bother with anything else than their margherita pizza, or you'll be a joker like Scott with leftover supreme pizza that you don't even want to eat before your flight home in the morning.

DON'T forget to test your strength by spontaneously taping as much packing tape over your air passages for as long as you can get as much tape on and then remove it before you have to start breathing again.

DON'T forget to pay your respects to CDVD and tune into NBC for the best sports analysis since Bob Costas got pink eye. Thanks for everything, Christian!