I got back from Solvang last night (early this morning?) and am reflecting on what an amazing trip it was. I tried to blog on the trip but couldn’t…there was too much other stuff to be done. Too much riding, gawking, and hanging out with Chad. Too much eating. Too much scenery. Don’t get me wrong–there wasn’t “too much” of any of those things…there was just too much of them to make sitting at a computer seem palatable. I’m going to revisit Day 1, to give a better report.
Chad is, of course, Chad from North Central Cyclery, in DeKalb, Illinois. Through North Central Cyclery, I was able to go on this trip–which was a unique and amazing opportunity appropriate from a unique and amazing shop.
The Trek Travel trip I did was a bit unique in that it incorporated some presentations and demos from Trek bikes–rather than just being the riding and training experience that it might ordinarily be. Over the next several days, I’m going to talk about these things separately–covering both Trek Travel and Trek Bikes. I’m going to revisit Day 1 now, to give a slightly more informed perspective on the riding.
We were shuttled up to the Marriott–which was honestly the nicest, cleanest Marriott I’ve ever stayed in. We were fitted out with glorious bikes. In advance of the trip, you provide your measurements and anticipated bike size. Based on my time on the Madone, I knew I wanted a 56cm bike. Fortunately, Chad (my good friend and tripmate) was also a 56. For the sake of permitting back to back evaluation, we requested a 6 Series Madone and a 6 Series Domane. As it turned out, our ideal measurements were just a quick saddle adjustment away from each other, so swapping was easy. My bike had Ultegra, and his had Ultegra Di2. I’ll talk in detail about the bikes another day.
The Trek Travel folks were pro. Bikes were perfectly tuned, tires pumped, ready to roll. They had an assortment of stems and seat masts available for customization, and the bikes had seatbags with tubes, flat kits, and CO2. The bikes also had computers on them–which was handy. I used my trusty Garmin.
I’m going to re-emphasize that last point–the Trek Travel people were great. Fun, energetic, knowledgeable people. They were prepared for every contingency, the trip was well-planned and well-supported, and it was amazing. For anyone considering Trek Travel, I would give it my highest possible endorsement.
Day 1 had an unstructured ride. They had a number of options for us, and we selected one of their proposed routes. When we were getting ready, we met Drew from Bike World in San Antonio Texas, and the three of us headed out.
The views went from pretty good to amazing.
Here’s Chad, motoring up a hill on his Domane.
The Solvang area was awesome to ride. Motorists were friendly–people would wave with all 5 fingers. If you got too much into the lane, or if a car snuck up behind you, you’d get a very gentle quick tap on the horn from an approaching car to let you know they were there. We rode ~150 miles and didn’t have a single bad interaction with cars. Most of the roads had nice, wide paved shoulders to ride.
Here’s Chad and Drew on another climb. (It’s steeper and longer than it looks).
Yours truly, flying the North Central Cyclery colors.
You could ride this all day.
Many shoulders had ample width for comfortable, 2-abreast riding.
Speed on descents was limited only by your bravery.
Chad climbing a little roller.
We took a long loop, and then after some poor direction following on our part (no fault to the clear directions), we rolled back to a waterfall park. This was a windy, 2-lane rural profile road through trees, with a good climb. It was beautiful.
Verdant green in January? Check.
The road rolled out in front of us like a welcome mat.
As we neared the steeper part of the climb, I assumed a place at the front of our trio, and pushed off.
At this point, I was on the Domane, and it climbed like a rocket. The stiff BB translated every sweep of the cranks into forward momentum, and up the hill we went. Gear changes were ridiculously easy with the Di2, and I tried shifting around a bit, even under load, to see how it handled. It could not be fooled.
The Sun was shining, and in late January, the temps were in the low 70s in the afternoon.
We rolled back to the waterfall park, and saw what there was to see–more brilliance.
And then we looped back to the hotel for a shower, and got ready for dinner.
Dinner as a group was at a steakhouse in a nearby town, and was delicious. We had an opportunity to sit and chat with Mike (Trek road bike) and Chris (Trek mountain bike) about things that have come, and things that are yet to come, and to gain some insight into how thoughtful Trek is. They have their head in the game. More on that later, too.
For now, I’ll say that Day 1 was amazing in every regard. Trek Travel could not have been any better, and at the conclusion of Day 1, I thought the roads couldn’t get any better, either.
I was wrong. Stay tuned for Day 2.
(If you’re interested in finding out more about Trek Travel, get in touch with Tobie at North Central Cyclery).