Ever since my riding buddy Keat embarked on Silk Route 2014 with Tour d’Afrique, I have been taken with the idea of a cycling vacation. Perhaps not as long as Keat’s Shanghai to Istanbul ride. And perhaps with accommodation a bit less spartan than a tent. I do like my comfort.
I came across Rapha Travel. Their rides take in some spectacular countryside, but I wondered if the riding might be a little harder than I would like.
Trek Travel is another well established cycling vacation provider. Trek appears to cater to a wider spectrum of rider types.
Some ex-professional bike racers have gone into the cycling vacation business. Andy Hampsten, the 1988 Giro d’Italia winner, founded Cinghiale Cycling Tours, which offers cycling experiences in Italy. There are of course a host of other cycling tour companies to choose from.
The cycling vacation idea got pushed to the back of my mind as work and other distractions took precedence. Instead I took the occasional cycling weekend trip to participate in century rides in Ipoh, Kota Bahru and Manjung.
Then in June 2015 I saw a short article about a cycling vacation in the online edition of VeloNews. It was titled “Climb All Day, Eat All Night, and Get Up Close and Personal With the Pros.”
I watched the embedded video about Cognoscenti and I took the bait. I clicked through to the Cognoscenti website and read the details for their “Tours for the cycling and food aficionado.” Including the following description for all six of the Cognoscenti trips for 2015:
- Luxury accommodations at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa – Mountain View Room
- Professionally led, fully supported rides with pro-cyclists as guides and coaches
- Gourmet dinners, including beer & wine at the best restaurants in Boulder
- All breakfasts & lunches
- Education sessions with Boulder sports luminaries
- Professional Trainer led stretching and core building sessions
- Access to daily massage therapy
- Support vehicle for each ride staffed by a pro bike mechanic
- Fresh gourmet on bike nutrition supplied by Cured & Skratch Labs
- Custom bib shorts, jersey & socks by Panache Cyclewear
- Custom Cognoscenti Rain Bag, t-shirt & cap
- Professional photographer providing photographs of your experience
The unique elements of the trip I was interested in was the opportunity to ride with the editors of VeloNews and Velo Magazine, to visit the start of Stage 6 and to watch a portion of Stage 7 of the USA Pro Challenge.
I was hooked! Especially as the August 21st to 26th dates worked for me.
There was one more thing to do before sending in my reservation and booking flights. Find out if Alchemy Bicycle Company could build me a new bicycle in time for the Cognoscenti ride.
The answer is in my next post.