I started working on trips a few years ago. At first I was attracted to life on the road thinking I would be spending all day, every day riding my bike in some of Europe’s most iconic locations. My first trip was the Maratona dles Dolomites, it doesn’t get more iconic than that. The Dolomites are special, jaw dropping beauty, some of the Giro’s most epic battlefields, the people are incredible and so warm, what more could you want. What I didn’t realise, I wouldn’t be riding at all, my role was driver, mechanic and general dogs body. Maybe I was naive, maybe mis-sold. Turns out it didn’t matter. It was in one of the most beautiful places I’d ever been and more importantly, I met some incredible people, who at the time were guests and soon to become firm friends.
I realised pretty quickly that guiding is about people as much as the places. The journey not the destination, how I deliver an experience or show them somewhere or something they would never have found on Strava or Google. It isn’t about the five star hotel or Michelin starred restaurants or how fast I can get them up and over a mountain, it’s local culture, food, knowledge and even that unexpected view around a corner. One of my favourite rides is Sant Hilari – Sasqueda reservoir in Girona. As you turn off the main road and head up a short sharp climb then drop down and the reservoir reveals itself, all of a sudden it stops people dead in their tracks, break out their phones and start taking loads of photos, always makes me smile.
People often send me a few emails before they arrive asking how hard the riding is, how should their bikes be set up and what gearing, sometimes a little intimidated if it’s their first big mountain trip, or first time they’ve ridden back to back hard days. Ensuring they go home with a sense of achievement, hopefully having learnt something new about a place or culture or even learnt that they can ride harder for longer and push themselves further than they first thought, is all part of the job. Creating these memories that last for people to share with their friends and family is the key to a great trip.
I’m passionate about bike stuff. I love talking about it, products, kit, brands, sharing my knowledge and beliefs, no doubt some misguided based on “The Rules”. The places I’ve been and the people I’ve been lucky enough to ride with. I can bore you to death while we’re riding or as I like to think, distract you from the challenge ahead.
All the above means many start off as guests but always leave as friends and that’s WHY I GUIDE.
See you on the road.
Last week saw the Guildford Crit, a 0.6km town centre crit that uses the infamous cobbled high street of Guildford as a large part of the circuit and the toughest finishing straight in Surrey. Every year Charlotteville CC put on this awesome race, featuring all different level racing, all raced at full gas. The nature of the circuit leaves you nowhere to hide, technical, tough, fast and short, this course will beat you up and spit you out whether you’re off the front leading comfortably or at the back struggling to keep up. There’s no easy race at Guildford. Whilst the short, technical course is brutal it also offers a spectacle that allows spectators to get immersed in the action and always turns out a big crowd, with the G!RO support crew definitely being the loudest!
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