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Solvang Ride Camps

4 March 2011

I feel like I haven’t even finished last season yet, much less gotten to the winter season (and I’ve been back from New Zealand for over a month already!). Yet, here I am, already starting this season! I put off leaving Minneapolis as long as possible, meaning the drive to Madison and load was a bit of a whirlwind, but I still managed to get out of Madison ahead of schedule. My early departure from Madison afforded me the luxury of taking my time driving across the country. I even managed to roll into my destination city before sunset a couple times on this drive. That NEVER happens! It also meant that I got to spend some time catching up with some great friends along the way, one that I hadn’t seen in years and a couple that I see fairly often, but still not often enough.

I picked up Greg at the Santa Barbara airport the same evening I arrived in the van, and we have wasted no time getting after the preparation for Trek Travel’s new Solvang Ride Camps. I’ve spent some time in this area in the past, guiding our Tour of California trip when it came through here in 2008, with Vision Quest the same year, and with the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge. Armed with a bit of experience in the area and some great front end design by Mark Thomsen, we’ve been driving all over the roads of Santa Barbara County. I have to tell you, it’s been a while since I have been this excited about the riding we have for a trip.

Ride Camps are no normal Trek Travel trip. We’ve stripped out a lot of the frills of a standard trip (and with them a lot of the price!), choosing to focus instead on the riding. We will ride past a TON of great wineries, but we won’t be stopping in. The views are stunning, but if you want to take a picture, I hope you can do it while your bike is in motion, or you’ll have some catching up to do. At the same time, it’s not going to be a week-long hammer-fest (unless you want it to be). We still want everyone to enjoy the ride, so we’ll be splitting into groups as necessary so everyone can get the miles they want at the pace they want.

That’s not to say you won’t have time to take advantage of everything this area has to offer. Because we’ll be spending less time stopping, we will finish our rides earlier in the day, leaving you plenty of time to get out and explore Solvang and the surrounding area, and you’ll be able to do it in normal shoes and without standing around in lycra. We aren’t staying at the most luxurious hotel in town – but I’ve stayed at the Hadsten House in the past, and I’m a pretty big fan. We aren’t eating at a different high end restaurant every night – but the Hadsten House’s restaurant is one of the most highly rated restaurants in Solvang on Yelp and Trip Advisor.

Despite these differences, several things remain the same. You’ll still get great support – my co-guide Greg is awesome. You’ll still get maps and route guides if you want to knock out the miles at your own pace (maybe stopping for a couple of those photos and for a little of that wine). You’ll have options for more miles every day if you want them. Most importantly, you’ll still get that rockin’ Madone 5.2 so you can really enjoy the ride. And if that’s not good enough for you, we still have our optional upgrades to Bontrager Race XXX Lite wheels and/or the Madone 6.5!

We have some amazing rides planned, and more rides tucked away in our back pocket. There’s more than a week’s worth of great riding in this area. If you need to be convinced of the quality of the training available here, when I rolled into Solvang, the Trek/Livestrong U23 team was set up at the Hadsten House for their spring training camp. That said, if that’s not quite good enough for you, if you need something a little more pro, we’re also running ride camps in Mallorca, home of the training camps of Leopard-Trek, Radio Shack, HTC Highroad and many more pro teams.

These trips are focused on riding. It’s all about getting out of the city and onto open roads or away from winter or the fun of spring salt and sand on the road and into warmer climates (it was 74 degrees and sunny here today). Rumor is there’s still some snow season left in other parts of the country. If the latest forecast for snow is enough to make you crack and you just HAVE to get away, if you’ve finally watched the entire series of Lost in the trainer and have nothing left to entertain yourself indoors, if you have a big race or event coming up later this year and you want to log some early season miles, or if you just want to come out and ride some of the greatest roads in North America, come ride with me. I’ll be here until June.

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