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Bob Joy’s 2011 Guide Commencement Speech

I was just looking at the photo album of the new guides that Trek Travel posted a few weeks ago.  I would have loved to deliver the inspirational commencement address at their graduation ceremony.  If I had, here’s what I would have said:

Congratulations to the Trek Travel guide class of 2011!  You have distinguished yourselves among your peers by gaining admission to a training program that is more selective than many Ivy League colleges.  During your course of study you learned how to refill water bottles and tune bikes while your guests make leisurely laps through the breakfast buffet.  You learned how to fit a premium carbon bike to the precise measurements and personal preferences of each guest.  You learned how to fix a flat on the road using nothing more than a cheap plastic comb and a folded dollar bill.  And you learned the art of laying out a classic Trek Travel Picnic that captures the romance of a small village in the French Pyrenees, the majesty of a Redwood forest, or the abundant sunshine of a winery in Mallorca, each time introducing your guests to local produce, specialty foods, and delicious wines.

For all you have accomplished, you know that you have much more to learn.  So, for your first few trips you will be paired with a veteran guide.  Jacob Young  will share his famous recipe for guacamole so you can welcome your guests back from a long day of cycling with chips, salsa, and cold beer.  Stephanie Stewart Chapman will tell you she is an “enabler” because she enables her clients to strive for and achieve more than they ever thought they could.  Greg Lyeki will show you the art of happily riding along with the slowest cyclists in your group to be sure they find their way.  And Cendrine DeVis will show you how to hide champagne in your knapsack so you can toast your guests in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower after they have completed laps on the Champs-Eleysee.

You will also hear stories about some of the legendary feats of your Trek Travel colleagues.  You will learn how Dan Frideger persuaded a local boulangerie in central France to open early so that his guests would be greeted by warm pastries as they boarded the 6:30 AM train to Paris for the finale of the Tour de France.  You will learn how Diane Suozzo and Doug Kirkby responded when the Italian authorities abruptly closed of the following day’s route at the Giro d’Italia by devising a fantastic climb into the marble quarries above Carrera that include five “gallerias,” or tunnels.  And you will learn how one of the guides spent the night sleeping in a van on the Col d’Aubisque in the Pyrenees so she could make it to Trek Travel’s exclusive viewing perch in time to personally congratulate every guest who scaled that legendary climb the next day.  Her name?  Tania Worgull, Trek Travel’s president!

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Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

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