Spain Cycling Adventure 2014

Awakened by the beverage cart on the return flight to SFO, I can barely distinguish between my dream and reality. This is a story of a cyclist’s ‘right of passage,’ a culinary and wine aficionado’s dream vacation, and a cycling adventure of a lifetime.

Destination: Southern Spain’s remote mountain region of Andalucia near the town of Ronda, a historic southern gem known equally for its gorge & historic bridge as for its famous bull ring.

 

Ronda

 

The ever-present Toro (literally & figuratively everywhere in Spain)

 

Situated in the beautiful Spanish countryside, base camp for this cycling adventure was an ample ‘finca’ with 3 separate structures, with the main house hosting each meal and social  gathering.

 

The Main House

 

 

Staff & Guests toasting a full house (Photo by BK)

 

No dream is perfect  but the weather for this spring trip neared perfection, with cool mornings and gorgeous, warm afternoons, with lightening that makes nearly any photographer smile.

 

Self Portrait during afternoon spin (Photo by Chas)

 

Each day’s departure brought a quick dirt roll from the estate, before both the A Team and the B Team tackled one of 7 totally unique rides.  Departing from the estate daily offered a relaxed environment after a nice, healthy breakfast and amble Spanish coffee.

 

Pia glides over the dirt section before each day’s ride

 

No cycling adventure is complete without a moment of peace and calm. And this trip was no exception. While the group departed together and generally returned together with Matt, our incredible SAG driver throughout the trip (below), the long, windy roads permitted some ‘alone’ time.

 

 

Bill Keller shows us how to climb as he achieves over 55,000' for the week

 

 

Marni’s contageous smile & great attitude never went unnoticed or unappreciated

 

 

Matt, proudly wearing his dZi Foundation cap, takes a well-deserved nap at a meeting point mid trip

 

Cycling over the course of seven full days can take its toll on each and every rider, requiring the right balance of rest and proper fueling.  After our evening toast, we generally relaxed on the outdoor patio while our world-class chef, Chris Dressick, of The Station SF, diligently prepared a robust, calorie –balanced meal to refuel our carbohydrates stores in preparation for the next day’s ride.  No doubt this was generally the highlight of the day: feeding time!

 

 

The outdoor patio sits within eyes' reach of Chef Chris doing his magic in the kitchen

 

When I think of the perfect vacation, I think of good food, unique experiences and good friends. SV:Travel’s uniqueness lays in bringing together like-minded, fun couples and individuals who, in some cases, forge new friendship’s that last a life-time.  Bill and Chas epitomize this phenomena:  friends who have now taken many a Studio Velo cycling trip together and push each other year after year. 

 

 

Here Bill and Chas celebrate atop Los Reales, one of the most rewarding rides of the trip, which offers a bird’s eye view of Africa & The Straits of Gibralter.

 

 

No rest for these four riders: Taylor, Pia, Eric & Simon, a new micro-group, hit the open roads when others took a rest day and spent the afternoon in Sevilla.

 

 

The “rest day” brought a trip highlight: a visit to the historic city of Seville, where Semana Santa (Holy Week) peaked with ceremonies & precessions, all the joy of us onlookers. 

 

The day after brought another long ride to the coast, where the group celebrated its triumph atop one of the area’s longest, most scenic climbs: Los Reales.

 

Only one rider is missing from the photo, but all riders made it up to Puerto de Penas Blancas, while the rest (shown here) wanted each and every foot of elevation on this day.

 

Never is a trip more pleasurable than when the trip chef enters the kitchen with a smile from ear to ear. Here Chef Chris earns his strips after a hard, hilly ride after lunch one day. 

 

 

 

And when the food was served, morning, afternoon or night, the crowd got their monies worth.  Whether it was Spain's famous 'jamon', a local goat or sheep cheese, home-made dessert or organic eggs and granola in the am, the guests undoubtedly ate well.  Below Taylor enjoys his morning feeding before a big day on the road. 

 

 

In the end, the numbers tell all: the mean distance nearly 400 miles; the mean elevation gain just shy of 50,000'; two Spanish "paletas de jamon,"  more wine bottles than I care to remember carrying to the recycle bin and a bunch of sleepy riders at the end of each day.  We ate well. We road hard. And we embraced the essence of Spanish culture: in to bed late, up early and sometimes an old-fashioned siesta.  Some siestas were a bit untraditional, as shown below: 

 

 

Looking back, an epic week in Spain

I don't have the bandwidth here in Europe to upload my favorite photos from last week's cycling adventure to the remote hills of southern Spain. As such, I thought I would share one photo which sums up the week. 

Below is the last route/climb of the trip: El Puerto de las Palomas. Stay tuned for full report. 

 

Come Test Mavic Wheels This Saturday!

Come Test Mavic Wheels This Saturday!
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MAVIC WHEEL DEMO 

SATURDAY, APRIL 5TH!

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Date: Saturday, April 5th.
Location: Studio Velo
Time: Meet at 7:30am, ride at 8:00am


*Meet at 7:30am for wheel fitting or drop off your bike the day before*

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Please contact Chris@studiovelocycling.com with any questions.
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Aside from your frame, wheels are the single item on a bike that have the largest impact on the ride quality. 
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Rotational weight, torsional stiffness, vertical compliance, aerodynamics and braking performance are all major factors in determining ride quality. Mavic knows how to build wheels better than anyone.  Each wheel set they build is designed to address and improve  specific ride qualities, which means they are purpose-built with riders like you in mind.   
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Are you looking for a wheel set to give you the edge in climbing?  Maybe you want the perfect century wheel or long course triathlon wheels? Whatever your need, Mavic has a great wheel for you.
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This is an amazing opportunity to try some of the best wheels on the market on the roads you ride every week---FOR FREE! Come see the difference this Saturday.
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STUDIO VELO
31 Miller Ave
Mill Valley, CA  94941
Tel: 415-380-1882
www.studiovelocycling.com

PLEASE CONTACT CHRIS@STUDIOVELOCYCLING.COM
IN ADVANCE TO RSVP.


Date: Saturday, April 5th.
Location: Studio Velo
Time: Meet at 7:30am, ride at 8:00am


To ensure first choice of wheels drop your bike off at Studio Velo the day before, Friday the 4th.

**Be sure to bring your bike, helmet, and your ID if you would like to test ride Mavic wheels.**

WHEEL SYSTEMS AVAILABLE TO TEST:
  • Cosmic Carbone Ultimate
  • CXR 80 tubular
  • CXR 60 clincher
  • Cosmic Carbone 40 clincher
  • Cosmic Carbone SLE
  • R-Sys SLR
  • Ksyrium SLS
  • And many more! Over 40 pairs available for test.
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Tonight at The Station SF: Shinola, Beer & Bikes 6-9

Tonight at The Station SF: Shinola, Beer & Bikes 6-9
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MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Join Studio Velo and our partners for one of our upcoming demo days!

Pivot Cycles Demo:

Date: March 23rd, 2014
Location:  China Camp Miwok Meadows
Time: 9am-3pm

Mavic Wheel-Tire System Demo:
Date: Saturday, April 6th.
Location: Studio Velo
Time: Meet at 7:30am, ride at 8am

*Meet at 7:30am for wheel fitting or drop off your bike the night before*

Please contact Chris@studiovelocycling.com with any questions.

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Learn more about The Station SF today!
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Bicycle Fitting: Refer a friend & get a $50 gift certificate at Studio Velo!

Bicycle Fitting: Refer a friend & get a $50 gift certificate at Studio Velo!
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THE PERFECT FIT
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REFER A FRIEND
The most important dynamic between any rider and bike is fit.

REFER A FRIEND & GET A $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO STUDIO VELO!

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As you already know, the benefits of a great bicycle fitting are many.  You know this because you have experienced a world-class, professional bicycle fitting here at Studio Velo.  Help us spread the important word about the benefits of a professional bicycle fitting and enjoy a shopping spree on us. Please share this email with one of your riding buddies: A great fit makes you more comfortable, more efficient and simply faster and better on your bike.*
 
*Once your friend or friends obtain a fitting by Colin, you will receive a $50 gift card at Studio Velo.  No quantity limitation applies. The more fits you refer, the more credit you will receive!

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RETÜL FITTING

 
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A New Season, A New or Improved Bicycle Fit
 
Here at Studio Velo, we offer a unique approach to bicycle fittings: First, we are one of few bicycle studios in the country who offer both Retul & DFU (Dynamic Fit Unit) fittings to ensure the most precise and objective fit available. Secondly, Colin Beardsley, former professional cyclist and veteran bicycle fitter, provides the most experienced, comfortable and unique fitting experience anywhere. 

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ARE YOU CONSIDERING A PERFORMANCE UPGRADE TO YOUR EXISTING FIT?

Consider these nice upgrades we find invaluable each season.
 
- New Shoes.  The Sidi Genius 6.6 is a high performance shoe built with a Vent Carbon Sole, Adjustable Heel Retention System and Caliper buckle two-way ratchet system to provide you with the best all-around fit. Riding in shoes that are broken down or not the right size can impact your performance and efficiency not to mention your comfort on long rides. Don't get hotspots get new shoes!

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- Custom Insoles. Many cycling shoes come with thin, low quality insoles. Unlike other insoles, theses cycling specific Conformable Insoles are stiff and custom molded. More like an orthotic these are shaped specifically to your feet. They can help alleviate hotspots and other fit related shoe issues.
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- A New Bib Short.  Nothing undermines comfort like an old chamois. Consider one of the many great bibs & knickers SV offers that will let you ride comfortably all day long. We carry cycling apparel from the best brands in the business, each unique from the others, stop by Studio Velo soon and see what works best for you! Personally we just found a new shop favorite in the Capo Ceramica Bib, to learn more visit us online or in the shop to learn why!
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IS YOUR FIT HOLDING YOU BACK?
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Does this sound like a cyclist you know? 
 
The perfect frame. Check. High-performance wheels.  Check. The latest parts package (gruppo). Check. A comprehensive bike fit.  Anyone? 
 
These are the same people who wouldn't dare run in shoes that were too tight or wear a suit two sizes too big. Yet, they're out riding hundreds of miles, enduring mysterious pains and ailments, all because their bike wasn't properly fit to their body and riding style from the beginning.
 
Retul offers the ability to measure to sub millimeter accuracy.

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