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Guest Post: Shut Up Legs Tour

This article, “Cycling road trip with Tour de France hero Jens Voigt a thrill for Edmonton lawyer,” was written by Trek Travel guest Don Mallon and originally published in the Edmonton Journal.

“In every relationship there are defining, watershed moments such as a first kiss or a birth of a child. These are instants in time that foretell your life is about to change, take a new direction. The instant a few weeks back when my wife walked into our bathroom to find me shaving my legs had the potential to be such a moment — and not in a good way.

Fortunately she knew this was merely the last step in a long summer of preparation for a cycling trip with one of the world’s top cyclists: Jens Voigt. I am a recreational road cyclist, a roadie. To train for the trip I had upped my weekly cycling mileage significantly, lost over 15 pounds and worked to increase my endurance and leg strength so that I could ride alongside this cycling legend without embarrassment.

Jens Voigt on Trek Travel's Santa Barbara Bike TourRoad cyclists theorize, backed by recent wind tunnel testing, that by shaving their legs they significantly improve aerodynamics. My wife knew I was looking for every advantage for this bucket list quest so the limb deforestation came as no surprise.

Jens Voigt has just retired after a long career in which he entered 17 Tours de France and won many races. He was a “rouleur” or all-rounder. At 6-foot-3 he was too big to be a favorite for the overall title in the mountainous multi-stage races but he was a first rate domestique, a rider to be counted upon to catch a breakaway or lead the charge up a hill for his team. He would endure pain and sacrifice his standing to help his team’s favorite rider achieve the winner’s podium.

Most domestiques, while talented in their own rights, melt into the background — but not Jens. For instance, there was that time in the Tour de France on the classic mountain Alpe d’huez when, shortly before the summit, he tossed his empty water bottle as a souvenir toward a young five-year-old fan. It was intercepted by an adult male.

Jens stopped mid-race, rode back down to the fellow and embarrassed him into giving the bottle to the kid. Voigt then got back on the saddle and rode to the finish to a round of applause usually reserved for the stage winner. His honest and outspoken nature won him countless fans around the globe, including me.

Jens Voigt on Trek Travel's Shut Up Legs Bike Tour In CaliforniaSo when Trek Travel offered a four-day cycling tour in California over the Halloween weekend with none other than JV, I signed up immediately.

The trip consisted of four days of riding in the Santa Ynez valley. Nestled between the ocean and the Pacific Coast mountain range the area is warm and dry and has an overall look similar to the southern Okanagan valley with some added palm trees.

Our hotel and base of operations was the Alisal Guest ranch, a historic 10,000-acre property first established as a working ranch in the early 1800s. In 1943 the then-owner altered the business model to include guest rooms. Today it is an interesting mix of cattle operation, hotel, golf course and dude ranch.

Our exceedingly competent and convivial Trek guides collected us on the first morning at the Santa Barbara Airport and bussed us to the Sanford Winery, one of a multitude in the area. There we ate lunch, tasted wine, got fitted for our bikes, introduced ourselves to the other 29 participants and eagerly awaited Jens’ arrival.

We didn’t have to wait long. He arrived, having travelled almost directly from Germany, a tall, lanky, smiling, walking, talking vortex. He was, as advertised, funny, self-effacing and energetic. In no time the talk was over and we set out on the bikes for a 40-km cruise through parched countryside and the Danish town of Solvang to our ranch hotel.

IMG_1313_Jens_VanJens initially set a pace of around 35 km/hr. I rode up to his back wheel and, like many past contenders of the Tour de France, into the wind protection of his draft. I was stoked. After a while, he dropped back to chat with as many riders as possible and a group of four of us, all seniors, pace-lined and hotfooted it to home base.

Overall it was a very good day, but it didn’t end there. Trek had prearranged dinners and social activities with Jens and our group for the entire long weekend. We had a lovely evening meal on the patio of Root 46 restaurant in the Danish-themed town of Solvang and chatted with Jens and each other for many hours.

Day 2 was the day of the big climb. The distance from bottom to top of Mount Figeuroa “the Fig” is 10 miles and the elevation gain is over 4,500 feet — yikes! The grade runs from a pedestrian six per cent to a leg and lung searing 19 per cent. To add an additional dimension of cruelty, the powers that be have left a steep section unpaved. Riders must navigate their skinny high-pressure tires over rocks, sand and gravel for more than a kilometer.

As we rode towards the base of the mountain every rider took a turn at the front with Jens for a photo. I chose to fake a sprint past a “fading” Voigt, something that would only happen in my dreams. Like a great sport, he played along. I now have a photo about which I can lie boastfully to my grandchildren.

IMG_9953_DonJens_FigThe mountain climb was as tough and long as expected but reaching a summit is always satisfying and this was no different. The long and fast descent took us to Los Olivos, a small town jam-packed with wine-tasting salons, where we lunched on paninis, had espressos and then paired scrumptious cupcakes and wine samples at Saarloos & Sons tasting room.

Then it was back to Alisal for a well-earned massage. A Halloween party that evening further allowed the tour group members to gain each other’s and Jens’ acquaintance. The group was an interesting mix of people from many walks of life. Among the riders were doctors, a rocket scientist, bankers, homemakers, retirees, a geologist and moi, the sole lawyer in the crowd.

The rest of the weekend blurred by. Unexpected and unusual rain slicked up the roads on the third day causing one rider to crash on a downhill hairpin turn. While the damp and crash subdued us, his return to the ranch that evening with stitches and stories for his grandkids buoyed us back up.

I rode beside or near Jens most of the weekend. My goal was to do that and not get dropped. Mission accomplished. I was also interested to observe how a pro-peloton rider handles himself among those of us who are comparatively DNA challenged. On the second day, within a few kilometers of the ranch, an inexperienced but determined rider was struggling to keep with the group. “Go on” she said “I’ll get there on my own.”

Trek Travel guest cycling with Jens Voigt in Santa BarbaraJens’ response was that cyclists are a community. He told her we look out for one another and we make sure everyone makes it to the finish — together. He rode beside her the rest of the way home.

I cycle for fitness and for the thrill of achieving speeds under my own power, unattainable without the mechanical advantage of gears and chains and light weight carbon. But I agree with Jens that there is more to it. We are a community. Most of us are just domestiques but, as he demonstrated his entire career and continues to demonstrate, that is an honorable role.

I am back home now with autographs, photographs and memories. Jens does not yet know his plans for the coming years but there is a reasonable chance he will repeat this “Shut up Legs” tour with Trek next fall. I’ve decided to take it easy this coming week but after that the serious training starts over — just in case.”

National Bike Challenge 2014

At Trek Travel, we strive to encourage a passion for cycling. It is our mission to show people the world by bike, and for that to be possible, we need safe places to ride and people to ride with. Thankfully we aren’t the only ones with this dream. We have allies on our side helping to fight the battle.

Trek Travel joins League of American Bicyclists in National Bike Challenge

The League of American Bicyclists strives to create
 safer roads, stronger communities, and a more bicycle-friendly America. They believe that bicycling brings people together. So do we. They believe when more people ride bikes, life is better for everyone. So do we. They believe the bicycle is a simple solution to health, economic, and environmental problems. So do we.

In 2012, the League of American Bicyclists first presented the National Bike Challenge as a way to unite current bicyclists and encourage new riders. It’s a free and easy competition designed to get people to ride their bike. The challenge rewards those who ride most consistently, not necessarily the greatest distance. Riders receive 20 points for every day they ride a bike, and one point for every mile they ride. Fast forward three years and the National Bike Challenge united 47,000 people to ride 23 million miles in just five months. Wisconsin, our home state, came in first nationally.

Trek Travel has participated in the challenge for the last two years. Last year we accumulated nearly 30,000 points. This year: 50,000. Together, 17 of us rode nearly 20,000 miles, burnt over 1 million calories, and saved nearly $10,000. We rode in sun and rain…and even tornado warnings. We rode in soaking-wet humidity and bone-chilling cold. We rode in the early morning and late evening, saw sunrises and sunsets. We rode in new places, near and far. Next year we plan to up the ante again, and we encourage you to join us. Start a team or join an existing one. Get your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to ride with you. Log your miles. Challenge yourself. And most importantly, enjoy the ride.


Sunshine-NBC High-Viz-NBC Rainy-Day-NBC Ben-and-Mark-NBC

Photos from the road during the 2014 National Bike Challenge

The Art of Finding a Great Hotel

The difficulty of finding a great hotel, one that meets everyone’s needs, is a pain that all travelers have felt. Yet our trip design manager, Meagan, tells us that booking the perfect hotel doesn’t have to cause headaches and anxiety. Today she shares her secrets on where to look and what questions to ask in order to get it right the first time.

“Whenever I am traveling (especially to a new destination) and I need a place to stay, I simply start by asking my friends. There is nothing quite as relevant and dependable as a strong personal recommendation. I’m lucky since most of my friends are in the travel industry and their word of mouth carries some serious weight.

Inle hotel on Trek Travel Myanmar bike tripsIf I can’t find a place I love based on what my pals have to say, I look to my favorite travel publications to see what nods they give hotels in the area that I’m planning to travel. Afar, Travel & Leisure, and the NY Times, as well as websites such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Relais Chateau, are all great places to look. I also check out online reviews, blogs and booking sites (such as Trip Advisor) to see how different hotels rank in the area.

Once I settle on a few options, I like to dig into the exact location on a map. Is it within walking distance to all of the attractions I would like to visit? And more importantly for me personally, what kind of restaurants are nearby? The hotel website is my next reference—I look at the rooms and room types to decide what best suits me. I look for super detailed information about the hotel breakfast and coffee options. If they don’t have great coffee I am not going! It’s sometimes nice to have tasty dining options on site and entertainment as well, even if it is just a cozy lounge or terrace with a view to enjoy a beverage.

Amorosa Hotel on Trek Travel's Bike Ride Across ItalyOf course, the amenities and services are important to keep in mind. Does the hotel have a sauna, mini bar, bike rental or fitness center? I look around the hotel site for special offers and sometimes (gasp!) even pick up the phone to see if I can talk to the friendly reservation department about getting the best room available at the best price or complimentary valet, breakfast or another perk.

After all that, I just kick back and imagine myself on vacation! If I am lucky, I won’t spend too much time at the hotel because I will be out riding my bike or exploring.”

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, Meagan! 

Picnics Aren’t Just For Summer

As the holidays quickly approach, we want to help you prepare for the family gathering you’re required to host or annual neighborhood party that never disappoints. It’s the perfect time of year to prepare a big meal, light a roaring fire, and of course, gather your friends. Our picnic making tips and tricks will help you create the perfect spread – because long winter days beg for hearty laughter, rich red wine, and bountiful buffets.

One way we love to ‘wow’ our guests is by providing them with opportunities to taste the finest, local cuisine. Our team spends quality time in every destination before trips begin to run. We know the local flavors, we’re friends with baker down the street, and we’ve found the best-kept secrets in every region.

And if there’s one thing we’ve mastered throughout the years, it’s picnics. Over and over, guests are ‘wowed’ by their guides’ ability to provide a feast. I’m not just talking about a large meal, banquet, or lavish celebration. F.E.A.S.T. is actually a mnemonic device our guides use to help remember the five most important principles of creating a killer picnic: full, elegant, appetizing, selection, and timely.

The first and most important thing to do when preparing a picnic is to organize the grocery list. This will save time and reduce stress. Tip: Organize the menu by departments of a grocery store: produce, dry goods, condiments, bread, dairy, and deli. To provide the best possible selection, always choose regional specialties and locally produced brands. A picnic is only as good as the food on the table.

Next, providing food in a timely manner by prepping as much as possible in advance will minimize the risk of hangry (anger invoked by hunger) guests. Tip: Putting a napkin in a plastic bag with pre-cut food with help absorb moisture and keep things fresh.

When actually preparing a picnic, it’s crucial to make the table to look full, elegant and appetizing. This requires mastering the art of garnish. Tip: Use fresh leafy vegetables – parsley, kale, collard greens, and romaine lettuce – to spread throughout empty spaces. Or choose items you can eat at the next picnic – different colored onions, bell or hot peppers, garlic, lemons, limes – to add zest and color to the display.

When it comes to display, elevation is the key. Tip: Place cardboard Ziploc boxes, empty berry containers, or upside-down bowls under your tablecloth. Then set a bowl or platter of food on top, and a flat table will be transformed into a bountiful multi-level display. Tilting the food toward guests will allow for easy viewing and serving.

But what would a blog about picnic making be without sharing some of our favorite recipes. In today’s collection we will be featuring an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert from various regions across the globe. They are tried and true, and some of our favorites here at Trek Travel.


This salad works well as an ingredient in tacos or as a topping on a green salad

Region: Bryce and Zion
Source: Rebecca Falls

1 can seasoned black beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can salted garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red onion
2 roma tomatoes, with seeds removed and diced
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1. Mix the dressing ingredients and set aside.
2. Prepare all other salad ingredients and combine in a large bowl
3. Toss the salad mixture with the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste

Costa Brava

Fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients are the hallmarks of California coastal cuisine

Region: California Coast
Source: Tania Burke

2 cups packaged shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
¾ cup salsa
2 T. sour cream
1 lb. halibut, mahi mahi, or tilapia fillets
2 tsp. olive oil
8 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice
Lime wedges

1. In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, ¼ cup salsa, and sour cream. Mix well and set aside
2. Cut fish into ½-inch think strips, Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add fish and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until fish is opaque in center.
3. Fill warm tortillas with fish, cheese, cabbage mixture and top with extra salsa. Serve with lime wedges if desired.

Great food on Crater Lake & Oregon Cascades bike tours

This is an old Vermont recipe described as “nice to come home to”

Region: Vermont
Source: Audrey Coty, Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm

1 cup maple syrup
½ cup of soft butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup milk
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

1. Combine and sift dry ingredients
2. Beat syrup and butter to a cream
3. Add eggs, well beaten, and vanilla
4. Add milk alternately with flour mixture
5. You may roll these cookies out, or just drop them on a greased cookie sheet and flatten with a glass dipped in milk
6. Bake 10-12 min. at 400°F

Industry Insider: Melissa Stockwell

Meet Melissa Stockwell. She’s an American hero and champion triathlete; a dog lover and expecting mother. Prepare to be both inspired and motivated as you learn about her incredible story!

Tell us your story in 140 characters or less:

Melissa_Stockwell_Blog_4On April 13, 2004 while serving in the US Army in Iraq, I lost my left leg above the knee from a roadside bomb. After a year of therapy at Walter Reed Hospital trying to find my new normal, I fell back in love with athletics. In 2008 I competed in swimming at the Beijing Paralympics. In 2009 I turned to the sport of triathlon and have since competed around the country and the world. Thanks to my custom USA themed Trek Madone, I am a 3x Paratriathlon World Champion and hope to compete in Rio in 2016. Away from athletics, I work with prosthetics to fit other amputees with artificial limbs, am a motivational speaker, and co-founded the Chicago based Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. I am a proud American, a proud above the knee amputee and proud to live a life of sport.

(OK, that’s a pretty tough story to tell in 140 characters. We’ll give you a free pass, Melissa.)

What’s the most rewarding part about your job?

Working in the field of prosthetics, I literally get to give people their lives back. They come into my office defeated just after loosing a limb and we can provide them with a prosthetic. We get them up and enable them to do the things they love. As a speaker, I get to motivate others to follow their dreams and live life to the fullest. My jobs rock!

Favorite place you’ve ever traveled and why?

New Zealand in 2012 for Paratriathlon World Championships. It’s beauty is un-matched!

If you could only bring one unnecessary item on a trip, what would it be?

Does my dog count?

Melissa_Stockwell_Blog_3What is one thing you never fly without?

My neck pillow, plenty of Chapstick and some snacks for the ride.

Tell us about your best day on a bicycle.

Riding my new Trek Madone at World Championships in 2012. I got the bike a short week before the race and had limited time to practice on it. To ride it with its speed and effortless gear changes was amazing. Not to mention I was inspired every time I got to see the stars and stripes when I looked down. It led me to my 3rd World Championship win and I fell even more in love with Trek that day!

Favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

Anyplace with great staff, a lounge pool and a lap pool, clean rooms and a coffee shop in the lobby gets an A+ in my book!

What is the best advice you have for our readers?

Melissa Stockwell Trek MadoneNever compare yourself to someone else. Be happy with who you are and your own accomplishments. And to live each day happy, you never know when it could be your last.

Outside of your family, who inspires you the most?

Anyone who has ever overcome a disability and gone on to succeed with whatever it is they want to do.

What is your personal motto or mantra?

To be my own rockstar. To be proud of what I do and to encourage others to dream big and go for their goals.


If you want to follow Melissa and learn more about her story, follow her on Twitter @MStockwell01.  

Industry Insider: Jenn Dice

Meet Jenn Dice. A rockstar both on and off the bike, Jenn is the Vice President of Government Relations at the People for Bikes Coalition. A mountain bike extraordinaire, you’ll find Jenn crushing the Leadville 100 or screaming down Mount Kilimanjaro whenever she’s not working hard to make bicycling more accessible.

Tell us your story in 140 characters or less:

I work at PeopleForBikes, a national movement w/ 845,000 members to make bicycling better in America. I organize the Business Network to help build political clout.

What’s the most rewarding part about your job?

Working with passionate people every day. We work to change the world through bikes.

Favorite place you’ve ever traveled and why?

Tourmalet, France. On the Trek Travel Etape de Tour trip a few years ago we got to climb the Col du Tourmalet and spend a week in France (including Paris on the final day of the Tour de France). It was mind blowing and life changing all at once. So much fun, so challenging and so gorgeous. Being a female riding a road bike in a male oriented ride was also fun. I got a lot of cheering and support.

If you were a trip designer at Trek Travel, where would you design a trip?

Jenn Dice BlogArgentina – I just got married and we are planning to honeymoon there this fall. Can I just pay Trek Travel to organize our honeymoon?

If you could only bring one unnecessary item on a trip, what would it be?

My French press.

What is one thing you never fly without?

Smartwool socks. Planes are freezing and I love Smartwool socks.  Makes you feel all warm and cozy like slippers.

Tell us about your best day on a bicycle.

As part of a WorldServe fundraiser, I got to hike up and mountain bike down Mt. Kilimanjaro. The amazing people of Africa and 13,000 feet of downhill will change your life.

What and where was the best meal you’ve ever enjoyed?

Another hard one, you people ask tough questions. I’m a foodie and read lots of foodie blogs and magazines. I seek out hot new places in cities when traveling (which is a lot). My work takes me to Washington DC, regularly and my favorite is Little Serow. Two years ago it won a bunch of awards and it’s Thai and prix fixe. The chef brings out many dishes throughout the night which is always a great surprise. I love it when a meal is interesting, spicy, adventuresome and extraordinary.

Favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas. I am obsessed with modern art and design and you are surrounded by it in this creative, boutique hotel. That combined with world-class mountain bike trails right out the backdoor makes it pretty much my nirvana.

What is the best advice you’ve never followed?

Sleep more.

Outside of your family, who inspires you the most?

Mark McKinnon – I would love to be 1/10 as smart as Mark someday. His ability to listen, learn, interpret, strategize and communicate on any topic and issue is mind-blowing. And, his love for his amazing wife Annie. I want to be them when I grow up.

*Mark is a political advisor and Global Vice-Chairman of an international communications consultancy. 

What is your personal motto or mantra?

“Be an agent for change.”  That and … “Get s*&$ done.”


A Closer Look at the Trek Domane

We talk about our bikes all the time. You hear us say how excellence comes standard on all of our trips, with our first class Trek Bikes included in the price. We brag about the Trek Domane 5.9 with Shimano Di2 Electronic Shifting. But for those of us who aren’t racers, who don’t spend free time reading gear reviews, and can’t understand the technical jargon, we find ourselves wondering what it all means.

So I’m here to break it down for you – to put into layman’s terms what makes the Trek Domane the best bike for you. It’s a top of the line road bike, but it is perfect for riders of all abilities. If you’re used to riding a hybrid, the switch to a Domane is nothing to lose sleep over. If you’re an experienced rider, the Domane will be something to write home about.

First, the Trek Domane is equipped with Di2 electronic shifting. While this may sound intimidating, Di2 stands for ‘Digital Integrated Intelligence’. The shifters will look the same as those on your road bike at home, but they will function better. 13domane-300Instead of having to move the lever to switch gears, the Di2 system allows you to change gears with simply the ‘click-of-a-mouse-button’. This makes it easier for people with small hands. It makes shifting effortless. It allows you to focus on enjoying the ride rather than worrying about gear malfunctions.

Secondly, the Trek Domane is an endurance fit road bike. You’ll hear shop guys and techies talk about the relaxed geometry and higher head tube. But to break it down, endurance fit simply means the Domane is a smoother ride. Rather than being stretched out and bent over, the Domane allows you to sit more upright if you wish. It is the perfect solution for long rides or multiple days in the saddle.

Lastly, the smooth ride provided by the Domane will keep you coming back for more. The Domane is equipped with an IsoSpeed decoupler. Never heard of a decoupler? Neither had I. It’s a fancy term that means the seat tube is isolated from the rest of the frame. What you really need to know is that it absorbs a lot of the road vibrations. Combined with padded handlebars, every road is instantly transformed into brand new blacktop.

Ultimately, if you’ve always wanted to try a road bike but are nervous about making the switch, this is the bike for you! Its tires are just as wide as the tires on our hybrid bike, so you don’t have to worry about stability. And I think we’ve established that its smoothness is unparalleled. Without sounding too cliché, riding the Trek Domane is as easy as riding a bike!

As for the racers who are reading this, the Domane is Roubaix-tested and race-ready. Fabian Cancellara rides the Domane and has been on the podium in his last 12 monuments. It has even been in yellow at that famous race in France during the month of July. I assure you this bike will make you feel like a champion.

And just in case you fall in love with riding this bike on one of our trips (after all, you wouldn’t be the first one), you will receive $300 off a 5 or 6 series Trek Domane or Madone, or Project One purchased at your local Trek retailer.

Industry Insider: Ben Coates

Meet Ben Coates. Ben is the Trek Road Product Manager – which according to his loving wife means that, “anything with curly handlebars is under his jurisdiction.” We met with Ben to learn a little more about his life, work, and travels.

Tell us your story in 140 characters or less:

Husband, father, cyclist. Living the life making great bikes, traveling the world, and having fun with my beautiful family.

photo-2-200x300What’s the most rewarding part about your job?

Getting people excited about riding bikes. There is nothing like seeing someone get a new bike, especially when you are a part of the development of that bike. You can see the excitement in their eyes – a feeling that most people know – and it is amazing to see someone else go through it.

Favorite place you’ve ever traveled and why?

I love Belgium. Kind of a funny place to love, right? Not if you are bike, beer or frites fan. I happen to be all three. I love the people there because they have tough exterior but warm hearts. They are passionate about family, friends, cycling and beer. The riding is incredible, from the scenic open roads of Flanders to the brutal climbs of Wallonia. You could spend a lifetime riding there and never get bored.

If you were a trip designer at Trek Travel, where would you design a trip?

I would plan a trip somewhere I have never been but have always wanted to go. I could see planning a trip to a number of places like Patagonia, South Africa, and Mongolia. The list would go on and on. If I had to choose a place to start, I would go with Japan. I have always wanted to see the rice patties and climb from the coast to the highest peaks. There is something mystical about Japan. That is where I would start.

Favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in and why?

Sundance Resort in Utah. It has an authentic quality and is aligned with nature in a rustic, modern way. I also got married there in 2008.

If you could only bring one unnecessary item on a trip, what would it be?

An iPad. I can see my family, read a book, scroll through a magazine, catch up on news, and watch a movie. Definitely the best travel item I own.

What is one thing you never fly without?

My Passport. I left it at home once and had to take a last minute flight to Australia. It was a disaster; I never leave home without it now.

photo-1-219x300Tell us about your best day on a bicycle.

I have had so many, but all of my rides can be traced back to one.  A good friend of mine convinced me to get a mountain bike as my college bike, instead of the normal cruiser.  My parents were not so happy that I spent double what they expected, but that bike took me on my first ride.  It was a ride up Apex Trail in Golden, CO.  I remember that it took me almost 2 hours to climb to the top – a climb that takes less than 30 minutes today. I crashed twice and almost threw up once.  The way down was equally as eventful.  I crashed over the side of the trail and slid down into a creek.  After three hours, huge frustrations, and a lot of blood, I was officially a cyclist.

What’s your favorite type of beverage?

If it was only one drink I would pick San Pellegrino.  If it was only one alcoholic drink it would be Bourbon on the rocks – Angel’s Envy or Beer Barrel Bourbon to be exact.

What and where was the best meal you’ve ever enjoyed?

My Mom’s homemade green chile at my parents’ house. If I was going to choose a restaurant, it would be Café Diva in Steamboat Springs, CO. There is something about a small mountain town with a great restaurant that is hard to beat. 

What is your personal motto or mantra?

I got this from my wonderful wife. She probably doesn’t know this but I think about it every day.  Here are the five things that will make me successful and happy in life:
1. Up Early
2. Win
3. Help Others
4. Exercise
5. Disengage

Outside of your family, who inspires you the most?

Historically, I am pretty fascinated by Abraham Lincoln because of the strength of his character.  Integrity is something that I think about all the time and I think that he is the most prominent person in history that truly had integrity. Without his integrity and sense of purpose, the entire world would be a different place today. A living person that inspires me outside of my family is a little harder. I could go the easy route here and say my boss or the president or something like that, which are true but not really insightful or particularly interesting. So, with that in mind, I am going to go with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. After all these years, he has stayed true to his heart. Making great products that help people enjoy the outdoors and doing so in the most sustainable and economical way possible, while not losing site of the fact that the products have to be awesome if they are going to make a difference. His philosophy on people, the work place, and the world are close to home.


A Six-Month Experiment

Trek Travel guide Jordan Landolt is an athlete through and through. As if ‘professional hockey player’ wasn’t accomplishment enough, he can now add Canadian Provincial Champion to the list. In his own humble and humorous words, below he shares the story of how his newest title came to be.

“‘Dude, you’re not supposed to do that!’

I had just finished (and won) my first ever race. Okay, maybe not as glorious as it sounds, as it was only 50km in the “C” group consisting of Cat4 and beginner riders only. But I was definitely basking in my own little glory when the breathless voice from behind me continued: ‘You’re not supposed to ride at the front the whole race, lead out the sprint then WIN the sprint altogether!’

So the experiment began. The goal: to transform this ex-hockey pro turned bike tour guide into a competitive cyclist. I set out on this journey to challenge my physical and mental boundaries, test my limitations as an athlete and win a few bike races along the way.
Meet Trek Travel Copy Editor Jordan Sher
Just three months after my first ever race with the Cat4’s, I now stood at the start line of the Pro 1/2 BC Provincial Time Trial Championships. The hardest part of racing for me so far has undoubtedly been putting on my new skin suit. Starting with trying to squeeze my knees through the legs, defying the laws of physics and resulting in the red on my kit to seem light pink due to the amount it has to stretch. Getting the upper body all zipped up is no walk in the park either, and hearing the pins of my race number pop off like a button on your pants after a big meal, as I zip all the way up, is hardly comforting. So, with the hardest part of the race clearly over, I stood there at the start line with nothing to lose. I had the reigning Canadian National Time Trial Champion starting two minutes behind, and top contender on the Cyclocross Elite World circuit due to push off one minute after me. As they stood behind me in anticipation of the start, I could totally hear them thinking: ‘How the hell did he get into that skin suit!?’.

I don’t remember too much about the actual race other than trying to stay calm and repeatedly asking myself ‘does this hurt enough?’ By the time I hit the 10km to go mark, I had so much sweat and drool on my Garmin I had no idea how fast I was going or how much power I was pushing. I figured that was a good sign. And I suppose it was, as I upset the current National Time Trail champ by 25 seconds to take the Provincial Championship. With that accomplishment under my belt, I have begun a tough week and a half block of intense training, all ramping up towards the Canadian Nationals in Quebec, where I will look forward to competing against some of Canada’s finest elite cyclists.

I am very thankful towards everyone at Trek Travel who has helped keep my ‘tires pumped’ along the way! Many of the people I have met (both guides and guests) have helped give me the confidence to follow my dreams and demonstrated the work ethic it takes to succeed in whatever you wish to do in life!”

Behind the Scenes: Puglia

Residing in Ragusa, Italy, veteran guide Gabe Del Rossi knows the ins and outs of Italy like only a true local ever could. He has been known to serenade guests as they climb through the Dolomites or impresses them with his knowledge of four languages. Below Gabe has shared a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of a Trek Travel guide in Southern Italy.

The bus stops in Bari, but I don’t understand where I am. The light of the rising sun prevents me from spotting the train station. “È lì,” the bus drier tells me. “Right there. You’re on the other side of it.” I couldn’t recognize where I was because I was on the other side of the thing I knew.

A new point of view in a familiar place. My day began by taking a bus from Sicily, through Calabria and into Puglia — all beautiful areas, but the night ride is something unique. As my friend Fabio would later say, “You cross southern Italy by bus and you expect nothing to happen? Anything could happen!” This is not the Fabio that belongs on a romance novel cover. He is from Monopoli, Puglia and studies medicine. He helps his father with their taxi business, and he helps his friends get out of trouble. Friends like me.

Anything can happen, that’s why we travel to southern Italy. PugliaIt’s a far cry from the Piedmont palazzos and the Tuscan villas. But that is part of its allure. I drag my bags into the station looking for the train headed for Martina Franca. There is no sign. There is no conductor at 7:00 in the morning. I have to make an educated guess: small town, small train, small track. Maybe a track at the end of the station? The back of the station? The back where the bus dropped me off. I double check the big yellow time tables that are on the walls and, sure enough, my guess pays off. I’m on my two-and-a-half-hour train ride to Martina Franca – about 70 kms away.

I pass out. The rocking of the train helps me catch up on the sleep that I couldn’t get on the bus. At around 9:30 I get a text from Sonja, my colleague who was kind enough to pick me up from the station: “I’m here.“

I drop my bags in the back of the van and we head for breakfast. Sonja is a light-framed, two-handed cappuccino drinker. We head straight for the bar and get three cappuccinos and one café macchiato, for the two of us. We wash that down with a few mezzatonda: a pastry popular in Puglia’s Murgia filled with cream and blackberry jam. That will do it. I’ve had my coffee and pastry fix. Let’s get to the bikes.

The ride to our base is simple. About ten minutes away from Martina Franca in a couple of trulli: those characteristic cone-topped houses. Puglia TrulloHistorically they were a means of tax evasion. Now they house Sonja, myself, and our other colleague Diane who has been working on all kinds of trip details such as written instructions and .gpx files. She’s happy to see me.

There is something uncommonly romantic about tuning bikes in the front yard of a trullo pugliese. Between each prep, I look around me and appreciate my surroundings at every wretch stroke. I live in southern Italy, and there is something familiar about this part of the world. It is a very comfortable place where the people and environment make you feel at home.

At lunch we go for a ride. The rolling countryside is alive with the feel of spring. The orange blossoms are blooming and at the top of every small ride sits another trullo. We stop for some simple focaccia for lunch: ham and local caciocavallo cheese, or broccoli and local mushrooms. We keep it light since we still have a few kilometers until we get back to our trullo. And then it’s showers, time to organize the trailer, upload the routes to the Garmins and a few other tasks before the day is done.

The afternoon sun presses down. Puglia SunsetIt is usually warmer in the afternoon around here. The morning will often bring rain and the late-day sunlight just makes the rest of the day humid. But not in our trullo, where the temperatures stay cool throughout the day and night. So cool in fact that we have to turn on the heat in the evening. A strage fact for Riccardo (the owner of the trullo) since most people don’t ever ask for heat in Puglia.

It’s six o’clock and just a few hours before dinner. This is also the time that Diane shows her true colors, namely “crimson” , “brink red” and randomly “rosé.” From her stash of red wine Diane pulls out a negroamaro, and a primitive. Naturally, it would be a sin to be this far into the soul of Puglia and not know its wines. And six o’clock is a great time to get to know them well. We chat and relax as night falls upon us, nibbling at sundried tomato paste, tarralli, and local cappocollo from just down the road in Martina Franca. Sonja whips together a fantastic salad with local veggies she had gotten earlier in the day and there is our evening: three bottles of wine, salad, and fresh meats and cheeses.

By now the sun has long disappeared and the moon and stars sitting clear in the night sky tell us tomorrow will have spectacular weather. I shuffle into my bedroom and begin to organize my clothes. Day one begins and I’ll be unloading ten bikes by myself. I’ll need to make sure I have a clean pair of clothes on when Diane arrives with our guests. Sonja is on picnic duty and judging by her salad tonight I think our group will be blown away by her magic. In this region of southern Italy, it is the element of surprise that is so appealing. “Anything can happen.” Yes it can, and it does. There is no pushing or stress. Everything works out as it should, whether it is an impromptu bike ride, another slice of focaccia (thank you, grazie!), a surprise three-bottle night, or a four coffee morning. No one is held to conventional standards here. Just enjoy.

Ok. Shirts folded. Pants ready. Now all I have to do is organize my route guide and make sure my phone and GPS are recharged for the morning. Done.

Time to set the alarm for 7:00. Before you know it, 7 will be here…..


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Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.


Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.


These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.


On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

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

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

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Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

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Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

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Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself