“It’s hard to tell you what a typical day of a Trek Travel guide might be, since some days we find ourselves driving a van through roads full of gendarmerie—French police—during the Tour de France and other days we’re rushing to sneak in a speedy shower to be impeccably clean for a Michelin dinner.”-Diego, Trek Travel Guide
In this post I will try to share with you some of the behind the scenes of what the guides do in order to provide world class service and hospitality to our guests. One day seems to have way more than 24 hours once you dissect it.
I love to wake up early and run to breakfast before anyone else. Everyone who has shared some time with me will know that I need to drink at least one double espresso in the morning in order to wake up and function properly. As disappointing as this will be to all my Italian friends, I love to sit down and sip that coffee with some chocolate pastry, preferably a delicious brownie or a pain au chocolat.
Out of the many breakfasts I’ve had in different hotels and countries around the world, my favorite breakfast locations on trips would be:
• Grabbing coffee and fresh toast with butter and sitting outside on the patio at Hotel Edelweiss in La Grave during our Classic Climbs of the Tour trip. As soon as you sit down and look up to the mountains, the glacier La Meije is visible and it just takes your breath away with its magnitude.
• All hotels on the Cinque Terre trip offer unforgettable ways to start the morning. At one hotel, you sit down looking at vineyards and olive tree plantations; in the second hotel, you sit around Carrara Marble sculptures while you enjoy freshly squeezed juices and something delicious off the menu; and in our last hotel you fuel up for the day in a charming courtyard where there is a little sculpture engraved with a date earlier than even Christopher Columbus landing in the Americas.
• Of course, an honorable mention for breakfasts goes to Italy because, in general, they know how to make a delicious cup of espresso.
After the well deserved first meal of the day and a brief moment of calm, the guides get to work on a couple of key tasks.
First, we must make sure that all bikes have fully charged front flares, rear flares, and Garmins. We’ll do a mechanic check on every bicycle to ensure all tires have the proper pressure, break systems are working, battery levels for Di2 are good, and many other details to assure that our bikes are ready to ride. We’ll also gather everything we need to set up our signature snack table, where our riders can find unique local sweets and snacks or satisfy their annual intake of Vitamin M (AKA the almighty peanut M&M’s).
After greeting the group, we lead a logistics talk, which includes all the highlights of our planned route and what to expect during our fantastic rides. Some days we have to think of ingenious ways to cheer each other up because the sky is darkening with the promise of rain. “Skin is waterproof!” and “No need to have sun to have fun!” is what I hear most often from the British guides when we have dark clouds covering our start location.
Rain and shine, as soon as the group is prepared for the ride, we set off to explore beautiful countryside, tackle some epic climbs, or soak in views of the coast.
The next part of a guide’s job is crucial. We must check on everyone as they make their way to our delicious lunch stop or to one of our exclusive experiences. If I am riding my bike with the guests, I also have to make sure to snap a few pictures of them, so they can relax and focus on enjoying their day knowing we’ll take care of the little details like photos.
At this point, there really is no typical afternoon on a Trek Travel trip. Every day is different and local life brings a factor of unexpected surprises. We keep our eyes open for any street markets, festivities, farmland seasonal activities, or any other local attractive thing that can make a good addition to our ride. This is probably why we often surpass guest expectations when coming to our trips! Our guides don’t just lead you by bike from point A to point B with our heads down, oh no! We take you on a cycling vacation of a lifetime.
After a hearty and delicious lunch of local specialties, we continue riding in the warm afternoon, which brings a whole new set of adventures. Someone got a flat? Missed a turn? Decided to stop and chat with the locals? Drank a few too many glasses of that delicious Italian wine? No problem, we are there to fix the bike or give you a boost in the van to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the day.
We return to the hotel after a spectacular afternoon of riding and exploring. Is the day over at this point? Not at all! We still have dinner planned. After locking bikes and securing other gear, the guides go to our room and charging all the electronic devices. The lights glowing in the charging cases sometimes give me the sensation we have special astronauts equipment in our hotel room. Ah! We have dinner plans right? No worries! We have 10 minutes to shower, change to formal attire, and upload the pictures we took during the day to the computer. We are guides, we got this.
Depending on the trip, some nights we attend dinner with the group at a Michelin Star restaurant with course after course of exciting food, while other nights we head to a hidden gem like a small family-run restaurant in a medieval town. We take part in a wonderful evening full of unique conversations that might take us on paths never imagined before, but we have a few hot topics. Pets are always present in our conversations as are incredible bicycle rides around the world.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to get invited to post-dinner drinks, while other times the weather is so nice that we choose to have an evening stroll (to help get the food belly down so we can go to sleep).
Rest and Repeat
Finally, we make it back to our rooms and collapse into bed for the night. And guess what? We’ll do that all over again tomorrow!
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