Today stage 5 is already on its way in this years Giro Italia. Time flies and I cannot believe it is time to go to Italy again for our annual Giro/Cycling Camp. It all started in 2007 when I went to see my friend Paolo Zenoni in the Bergamo area. Paolo had just moved back home to Italy after spending 5 years in the States. Riding there was unbelievable even after getting soaked in pouring rain a few times and the Giro went right by his door step that year. It was a dream come true as a cyclist and racer. I was hooked and with the help of Paolo we set up all the connections needed to have a successful Cycling Camp for the future. I had already had Cycling Camps in Tucson, AZ, but I knew right away this was the place where I needed to be and bring friends and cyclist/ racers from the States to show them the passion and culture of cycling in the most beautiful country in the world.
9 years later we are about to get on the plane again and even the times has changed and a lot of good and bad things has happened since then in our lives I am as excited to go as the first time. The camp is very popular today with same clients now going for 5th or 6th time and next year’s camp sells out before we are even done with this year’s.
I feel this particular camp revives the love for cycling each year and it changes a rider in many ways.
I have kept the same format and idea since day one, we stay at Cascina Belvedi every year and as long as they are there we will come every year. Salvi Bikestore in Zogno is our bike store to go to and it always will be. The people and places we see on our route is what makes this camp special, I would not change a thing. Of course a camp evolves as time goes on, but my vision will never change. All the little special things I provide and with the help of some sponsors and friends every little detail counts for a very special experience for each client who goes.
The special Cycling kit each rider gets is a big honor and pride for me. I spend days and nights thinking what will look the most pro and try to come up with the coolest ever kit with an Italian flare for this camp. I think this year’s Pink Kits tops it all off. Bags, hats, t-shirts, socks etc. it all makes the experience as a whole so much more exciting and each client feels like they are on a pro team for a week, hey we even ride a part of a Giro stage and have a follow van with our super domestique Stefano as our driver. Ride food and drinks provided by Nature’s bakery and Nature’s Path, plus event sponsor ship on the drinks by GU Energy will keep us topped off on the bike. We ride anywhere from 80-100 miles a day, so having all this available is key. Yes we stop for lunch and coffee, how could you not we are in Italy, we are not just there for riding. The camp is also about eating some of the best foods in the world and experiencing the culture.
As the camp went on through out the years I saw what worked, what is needed and what we do not need. Remember traveling over the Atlantic Ocean is not easy these days with a whole lot of luggage. Bikes are the biggest of course, so the last few years we have been very fortunate with demo/rental bikes from Salvi Bikestore / Bianchi / Specialized and via our good friends Manuel and Stefano. Andreas has helped a lot with communicating with the various sources and believe me this is not a an easy task to find a bike for every client that fits them, but some how we have pulled it off and even helped Salvi/Bianchi sell multiple bikes. There is nothing better than riding a bike for 800 miles before buying one.
Zane’s Cycle in CT also contributes with some very important little details like flashing light for safety in tunnels or in rain, tubes and accessories, bottles and t- shirts, this year we even have rain guards( ass savers ) for under the saddle from Westwood Cycle. A lot of things we take for granted, but most I have to plan carefully for it to work.
The route is obviously the most important. It always involves the Giro, so where they go we go – one day. I want the clients to see at least one stage each year and ride part of it, that puts a whole other perspective onto cycling and a very memorable time for everybody. I still remember watching the Giro stage in 2007 finishing in Bergamo to this day, epic day with Paolo riding almost the entire stage and part of it in the pouring rain over Passo San Marco.
The hotels we stay in are spaced perfectly out each day when we do the tour in the Dolomites. This camp is epic with long days, big miles and a lot of climbing. Everybody will find their limits one way or another just like it was when I went in 2007 for the first time. I would not change a thing here either. The food in all the different regions and of course a little wine is also special, not the same and always something new to try during dinner. My favorite at night is talking about the day’s adventure and stories, that is a priceless time each day and really thighs everything together.
Well it is time to start putting the service coursa together and finish the last little details, thanks for reading and hope you can join us one day on one of my Cycling Camps. This year we will update you every day as well if you want to follow our journey in Italy this year. Hopefully we get our story into Road Magazine one day since they always are kind enough giving us something to read on the plane and at night before bed.
Ciao, Ciao, Ciao