Chris Pic, aka Pic Man aka Ice Pic, is one of the originals, he was around when the Big Bang that first formed the WBL first blasted a hole in cycling in the Southeast, before there was even the name WBL, back in the early 90s when a dozen or so were hammering out 5- and 6-hour rides every Saturday and Sunday. Like a gale crosswind, Chris was a force to be reckoned with, a rouleur who could climb, sprint and time trial, a gifted all-rounder who could and still can push down on his pedals with ample watts. During his career he ascended through the ranks like a rocket ship, spending time on the Athens Bandag Racing Team, and was teammates with such greats as Gord Fraser, Henk Vogels, Steve Sevener, Floyd Landis, Paul King and Derek Bouchard-Hall to name a few. Chris has been married to another two-wheeled speed merchant, Tina Mayola Pic, for many years and the Humble Chronicler checked in with this WBL Hall of Fame member recently to catch up.
Humble Chronicler: Hi Chris, it’s great to catch up with you. Tell us what you are doing these days.
Pic Man: For the past two years I have been working as the Product Manager for Sherwood Scuba, Genesis Scuba and AKONA Adventure Gear. Sherwood Scuba is one of the largest scuba brands in the world, so it is cool to be part of a well know quality brand. Genesis is small and still working on growing and AKONA is also a watersports brand that is doing well. I was in the bicycle business for many years after pro bike racing, but it seems that the bike business does not like me as much as I like bikes. The good part now is that I have a good work-life mix. I’m not working and talking bikes all day and then riding in my free time, which can be too much of a focus on one thing. Plus, I like ocean and beach type activities.
H.C.: Where do you and Tina live now?
Pic: Tina and I live in Gainesville, Georgia after spending 5 years away. We lived in Sun Valley, Idaho for one year and in Salt Lake City, Utah for four. The mountain biking and snow skiing (Alpine and Cross Country) were awesome and we did a good bit of these activities.
H.C.: Where are some of the more interesting places racing your bike and work have taken you over the years?
Pic: Professional bike racing took me to nearly every state in the U.S. I was also fortunate enough to race in Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Serbia, Belgium, Holland, and France. My work in the bike industry has taken me to Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Switzerland. And because Tina and I love to scuba dive, we vacation in the Caribbean and enjoy a little time in the sun.
H.C.: What years did you race and what were the teams you raced for?
Pic: I raced for 16 years, from 1988 through 2004. I started out with Atlanta Cycling on a team Donny Dodson put together. I graduated to Bill Riecke’s Athens Bandag Team, where we had a formidable lineup. From Athens Bandag I went to Micah Rice’s Zaxby’s Racing Team which morphed into Jittery Joes, a team which saw a lot of success. Next, I raced with a lot of world class talent on John Wordin’s Mercury Team, then closed out my career on 7-Up, a team Jeff Corbett put together.
H.C.: You were here during the formative years of the WBL. Who are some of the others you remember who rode in the WBL in the early days?
Pic: I remember a lot of folks joining us over the years as word of our rides spread to Atlanta and beyond. A few regulars were my future wife Tina, Steve Sevener, Paul King, Clay Parks, Eric Lemaire, Canada Dave Irving, Mark and Heidi Heeb, David Martin (RIP), Tommy Mulky, Jeff Lee, Brian Key, John Funkey, Drew Johnston, Ed Moon, Dave Allen, Michael Melnik, Brooks Dobbs, Larry Waters, Pat Raines, Doc Moye, Bill Riecke, John Atkins, Ryan Barnett, Emile Abraham, Tommy Bass, Hans and Stefan Billmeyer, Cleve Blackwell, Dani Dambrak, Darrel Prillaman, Micah Rice, Tim Cox, Jason Spruill, Crowe and that hairy-legged wonder Conan the Barbarian (Robert Cox). There were others.
H.C.: What do you remember about the WBL rides in the early 90s?
Pic: I remember getting my butt handed to me on the first ride every winter. I never trained the month to month-and-a-half after the previous racing season because I was resting, so after the first 50 miles, I always fell apart. There was no follow vehicle at the time, so we had to take care of ourselves as far as food, drinks, flat tires, bike problems, you name it, and it was a coin toss as to whether the group would stop and wait—the worse the conditions the more likely a rider would be left behind. On every ride there were always a few riders out there struggling to make it home before dark. I was a dog-eat-dog environment even though we were all friends.
H.C.: What are your most memorable WBL rides or routes?
Pic: Alto (115 miles) and Toccoa (125 miles) are the most memorable rides ever and are at the top of the list, they are just awesome. I’m not sure I could finish them now. (*Pic was the first winner of both of these World Cup events.)
H.C.: Do you still ride? What do you and Tina like to do for fun?
Pic: Yes, I still love to ride and put in 100 to 300 miles a week, 3 to 4 days a week. Tina and I both are very active—we slalom water ski 3 to 4 days a week, wake surf and we love kite boarding. And we still mountain bike a few times a year. Later in life when I can’t be as active, I’ll read, fish and scuba dive, all activities that don’t take a lot of functioning body parts.
H.C.: It was great to check-in with you Pic Man and we hope you and Tina have a great 2021.
Pic: Thanks, this was fun and all the youngsters and newbies who ride the WBL need to know of those that came before them, those who plowed the roads on the early rides before the WBL had a name, those who suffered on the same roads they ride now, but without the luxury of a follow vehicle, GPS maps, etc. We didn’t even know where we were going half the time, but it was a blast!