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A cyclist’s wonderland awaits at Rich and George Hincapie’s boutique hotel in Travelers Rest, S.C.
GO: Between March and August for one of the Climb With George four-day camps, or in the fall when the foliage is at its autumnal finest. In either case, Hotel Domestique (Hoteldomestique.com) is an ideal landing spot for epic excursions on two wheels. Situated at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the hotel is 25 miles from the Greenville-Spartanburg airport.
STAY: Each of the hotel’s 13 well-appointed and stylish rooms is named after a legendary climb from the Tour de France, like Columbiére. An iron four-poster bed outfitted with top-shelf linens and no less than six pillows anchors the room, and sits about 8 feet from a cozy fireplace and massive flat-screen TV. Each guest room offers sweeping views of the surrounding mountains, and classy in-room amenities like Hermès bath products and a mini iPad on the bedside table add to the luxury boutique hotel feel. Multisport athletes can get their run training done on the myriad of country roads and trails surrounding the property, and swim in the hotel’s outdoor pool.
DINE: Each night at camp, a three-course dinner is creatively prepared by chef Adam Cooke of the sophisticated in-house eatery, Restaurant 17—a name that celebrates the number of times George raced the Tour de France. Wine is poured with dinner, expertly matched with the seasonal menu by the house sommelier. Refuel with delicious dishes like seared scallops with crispy sweetbreads or Parisienne gnocchi in a decadent brown butter and sage sauce. The menu includes some of George’s favorite dishes from his time in Europe, including the hearty Spanish potato tortilla: a frittata of egg, potato and a blend of Spanish cheeses topped with a creamy aioli.
Rent a (Sweet) Ride
Don’t want to deal with the hassle or expense of traveling with your bike? Rent one from the hotel’s fleet of Di2-equipped BMC team machine SLR01 bikes. George’s former soigneur and mechanic, Jeremiah Ranegar, makes sure all camp guests are dialed for daily rides, and two SAG wagons lead out and follow the riders on every ride for the ultimate pro treatment.
Warm Up, Tone Up
Get Ride Ready
Each morning, Hotel Domestique instructor Kelly Vanleeuwen, a specialist in yoga and bodywork for cyclists, leads hotel guests through cycling-specific warm-up stretches and strength exercises in a tranquil but challenging pre-breakfast yoga session. Ranegar and George are also on hand to share some pre-ride moves (and funny stories) from years on the pro cycling circuit. (To view a warm-up demo with Vanleeuwen and Ranegar, go here.)
Downtown Greenville, a 20-minute drive from the hotel, is worth a visit to sample Southern hospitality with an urban flair. The city has recently undergone a major revitalization, and you can easily fill an afternoon touring downtown’s retail scene and eclectic eateries. George, who has kept his home base in the area since 2000, offers this must-do itinerary: Grab a coffee (one of many good options is Coffee and Crema on Main Street) and go to Falls Park on the Reedy (Fallspark.com) in the historic West End district, for a cool photo opp on the Liberty Bridge. Then head to The Lazy Goat, a Mediterranean bistro overlooking the Reedy River, followed by a stroll through the galleries at Art Crossing. For a more active outing, pro triathlete Anna Cleaver, a Kiwi who adopted Greenville as her hometown, suggests going for a ride or jog from Falls Park on the Swamp Rabbit Trail for a few miles to the Swamp Rabbit Café. “You must not leave the café without trying a gluten-free pignoli or Brazilian cheese puff,” she insists.
Setup Events produces the Greenville Triathlon (Setupevents.com), this year on Aug. 10, as part of the USAT-sanctioned South Carolina Triathlon Series. The beginner-friendly race consists of a 400-meter pool swim, 15-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run. The event is capped at 400 spots. The Greenville Hilton is the host hotel and offers a reasonable $99-per-night rate to racers.