Backstories: A Day in Lombardia
Penned by Kieran Andrews
A note on our series of backstories:
We like riding with clients, we really do. We love being with our customers as they experience things for the first time. If we are doing our jobs well, our clients never even think about the fact that there was once a first time for us as well.
I will come straight out and say it, I absolutely love the "pre-trip" part of guiding. Sometimes the idea for a trip evolves from a relaxing summer holiday and other times a week long itinerary needs to be ironed out in only 3 days. We find the routes, eat at the restaurants, wander the villages and collapse into the hotel beds… and all the while we debate the merits of every choice we make. We do this so that you don't have to.
As no client will ever share these experiences with us, we will share our stories with you right here.
”Ok, just so we are all on the same page let me lay this out again - you two are going to drive as fast as (legally) possible up to Sondrio, right? Zac and I will ride there over the Passo San Marco and try to figure out if we can get around the road closure before the pass.” (Now is a good time to mention that we didn’t know about the 2nd road closure yet. That would become apparent at about 10:45 the next morning.)
“Once you guys get to Sondrio you will scout the side roads up the valley toward the Mortirolo and Gavia to find a route that skirts the main roads but isn’t to hilly, yeah? We will all aim to meet in Sondrio before dark. Assuming we can fit all of us in one van we can leave the 2nd in Sondrio so we can have one more guide on the road during the transfer day.”
We actually had this conversation. We actually did all this in one day. Cumulatively, we rode almost 550 km in the Italian mountains and drove even farther. We scouted 3 days worth of riding for our group and found ideal spots for lunch and dinner along the routes. We started our day at 6:30am, and got back to our hotel at 10pm. While Zac made dinner, Brayden, Alex and I cut and pasted our itinerary and remapped our routes. We loved it; every exhausting minute of it.
Every once in a while we get the opportunity to take a group somewhere new. This time we had been asked to take a small group of avid riders through Lombardia to the high Dolomites. The 2nd half of the route we knew well from previous trips but the first half was all new and the route-finding was tough as we were determined to take the roads less traveled.
The day described here is only one of three. By the time our clients came we were more than ready. As a group we were tired, but also deeply satisfied.