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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    13,101

    2015 adventure planned

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    OK, we just booked a trip to Provence with Trek Travel at the end of June.
    We've been wanting to ride in France for a long time. While DH goes to Paris 1-2X a year, I have never been there. We had a good deal of difficulty finding a trip that was matched to our riding abilities and places we were interested in seeing. Most of the trips were too easy or too hard. Trek has changed their trip ratings and they have 2 levels of trips now (luxury and slightly less luxury) since we did trips with them in 2004 and 2005. The Provence trip is rated for recreational and active cyclists and this trip also includes an "avid" option each day. So, we can do longer mileage and climbing if we want, and we will, on some of the days, and we won't feel badly about doing it slower than everyone else. We chose the "less than luxury" version, which means it will be very much like the trips we did to Portugal and Spain. Boutique hotels/3-4 stars. Dinners are not included every night, which means less time that you have to spend with the group, which is good if the azzhole factor is high.
    We'll be staying in Paris for 2.5 days at the end of the trip, for a little recuperation.
    Mt. Ventoux is an option on Day 2, but DH decided he is not going to do it. I've done a 10 mile climb, but it had less elevation. Ventoux is 13 miles, with an average grade of 7%. Since I spent the whole 10 mile climb in Spain saying I was going to puke and pulling a calf muscle, which has never really recovered fully, I made a good decision. That 13 mile descent scares the crap out of me.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    257
    Wow, sign me up for jealous! That sounds great.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,645
    Sounds wonderful!
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    That does sound great. I've never considered doing a trip with Trek. I'll have to add them onto my list of companies to check out.

    We have lined up a couple of trips too. We decided to put Iceland off until 2016 in favor of doing a road bike tour of the Colorado Rockies and spending a week at a lodge in British Columbia. Last year we had to jam our trips into a short space of time, so we're hoping to spread them out a bit this year.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,101
    The service we had on our previous Trek trips was fantastic, the leaders were excellent, and they knew their stuff about the local areas we were in. Now that we know what we know, the things we didn't like (the bragging riders, etc) we can sort of eliminate by choosing certain kinds of trips/options. We are both different kinds of riders, too. DH is more relaxed and I am just a better rider. When we go on tours, we tend to do almost all of the hard stuff, but a very slow, touring pace. Of course, some of the things we didn't like, like cliques of people who do the tour together and heavy drinking, you can't really account for. There was a group of friends on our Portugal trip and they were very heavy partiers, but they were nice; all different levels of riders and no snobbism about that. That made a huge difference. Funny, both this group and the very obnoxious group we had on our trip to the Czech Republic and Austria were from Colorado. There's probably no correlation, though!
    The trip is giving us some motivation to train a bit more than usual and by going in June, we have the rest of the summer free to do local stuff. We always go to the Berkshires for riding, at least once. Also, we've kind of just decided to ramp up our traveling a bit. We aren't getting any younger... I am very excited also, about our nordic ski trip to the Methow Valley at the end of February. I know there will be snow! We've had a few trips up to Vermont and NH where that has not been the case.
    Veronica, Iceland is on our list, too. It is very cheap to fly there from Boston and DH actually flew Icelandic Air to Paris last fall. He had a few hours in the airport there and got to see some scenery. They also encourage you to make a 1-5 day stop over there on your way to Europe, without any financial penalty.
    Last edited by Crankin; 01-07-2015 at 08:20 AM.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,827
    I looked into the Trek trips a while back, after the owners of my LBS did the California wine country trip. I think it was actually about 10 years ago now -- hard to believe! I liked the flexibility that you had in deciding how much to ride each day and that the logistics were all taken care of by Trek. Unfortunately I didn't have the money at the time, and still don't, thanks to the never-ending need for condo renovations.

    One of my friends did a cycling trip in France a few summers ago with her husband, and they rode up Ventoux. I think she stopped a few times on the way up.

    My only trip to Paris was back in the mid 1990s. We spent 9 or 10 days there doing typical touristy things. My favorite part was the gardens at Versailles.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    141
    I'll second NY Biker that if you're interested/can make time, Versailles is definitely worth going to. The gardens are free during the week, but on summer weekends they charge admission for the "Musical Gardens". The last time I was there, I didn't know this and went on the weekend, and was grumpy about having to pay, but it was more than worth it. They have speakers hidden in the bushes/plantings around each fountain, playing 17th century chamber music, and the fountains are coordinated with the music. I though it would be really hokey, but it created this magical atmosphere that transported you back in time to when they really would have had musicians roaming the grounds to entertain the nobility. And the combination of music, water, and beautiful growing things was so restorative. It was a wonderful day, and that's how I'd re-experience the gardens if I had the chance.

    I'll also put a plug in for Cinghiale Cycling Tours cinghiale.com They have a variety of tours in Italy, from super-relaxed to super-difficult. The people who run it are absolutely wonderful, and they seem to do well at keeping the azzhole quotient down I did one of their tours this summer, and have all of my fingers and toes crossed that my schedule will work to do it again (and if I could, I'd do each of their tours--they're all different, and all sound amazing).
    1980-something Colnago
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    6,636
    That sounds fabulous, Crankin!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    543
    Cycling. Provence. Two of my favorite words. What a fun adventure to look forward to!
    "Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,101
    We finally got our plane reservations set and we will be doing the Paris thing before the cycling tour. We will be arriving during the week, so Versailles can be on our agenda. We will be spending a night at the airport hotel on the way home, and we may be able to get back into the city, as we arrive there from Avignon by early afternoon. By doing this, we get back into Boston at a very reasonable time Saturday and have almost the whole weekend to recuperate. Of course, just as we finished this, Delta called us and told us the first leg of our ski trip to Washington next month was changed, causing us to miss the connection. At 9 PM DH was on hold for 30 minutes, so he gave up. At 4:30 AM, DH got up and was able to change that, as well as getting the Delta agent to log in to the Air France site and get our seats set. I guess this good service is payback for the 15 years DH flew on Delta every week and was essentially gone Monday-Thursday. Since we had no money to travel then, it's kind of nice he gets to maintain his status with the airline at a time we can actually go somewhere.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    240
    Hi Crankin, how was your trip? I would love to hear your thoughts on it. (Apologies if you already summarized on another thread.)
    I did the TT Napa trip earlier this year and loved it. I am ready to book another one!

    How tough were the hills/mtns in Provence?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,101
    There is a thread on my trip in the Adventure thread.
    The riding was hard, but what I expected. There were 19 people on the trip. Twelve did the climb up Mt. Ventoux, DH and I did not. Despite not doing Ventoux, and only riding 175 miles in 5 days, we had 14,000 feet of climbing. I did the "avid" ride on day 2, and the basic or regular rides the other days. I did not do the short routes or get in the van at all. What I noticed is that almost all of the riders (all of the women) who did Ventoux were exhausted after that day, and skipped out on some of the other riding. The heat was a major factor, too, as well as the large amount of wine I drank... the food was awesome and so was the scenery. There was a range of rider ability, too.
    The key to doing a hilly trip like this, for me, at least, is to remember this is a tour. I don't ride as fast as I do at home, even hilly rides at home. I saw more stuff and paid attention to the scenery more on this trip than on any of the other ones I've been on.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    240
    Thanks! I just read the other thread, and looked at the TT itinerary again. I think I would struggle with the Regular options, and would end up spending a lot of time in the shuttle and on short options....which is fine. But i'd rather be riding I'm not thinking of doing this until 2017, so i have time to think about it.

 

 

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