As Creative Director, aka lead boondoggler, here at inGamba I get asked two questions more often than anything else. The most frequent is some variation of “what’s your favorite trip?” After that, it’s always: “Will I be fit enough to survive an inGamba trip?” The “pro experience” can seem a little scary from the outside.
The answer to the first question might seem a little disingenuous, but it’s true. I swear. We run amazing trips, and since technically I am not part of the logistics team, I get to experience them pretty much as a guest would. I can say, hand on heart, that I think they’re all awesome. I like to say that inGamba is like the circus. When we come to town, whatever town, everyone wishes they had a ticket.
If you love to climb, go to the Dolomites and ride the Maratona. It’s the ride of a lifetime. I’ve been lucky enough to do that trip twice and everything about it is breathtaking.
If you’ve never been to Portugal – you have to go. The riding is superb, the food is spectacular, the wine is underrated, and the people are genuinely excited to have you visiting their country. If you like the additional challenge of some climbing, do our trip in the North. If you prefer more rolling terrain, then visit the South.
If you would to experience why inGamba exists in the first place, then you must come to Lecchi in Chianti, our HQ in the heart of Tuscany. It is where João “the boss” Correia trained and lived when he was a professional bicycle racer. His autographed jersey hangs in the restaurants and it’s where inGamba truly is “in the know.”
The answer to the second question is more simple. Yes, you are fit enough. For proof of that – look at me. I do trips all the time, and I’m pretty snug in an XL jersey. I’m not fast, but the care and thoughtfulness with which the crew takes care of me, even as an employee, is impressive. If you love to ride your bicycle, you’ll fit right in. We don’t care if you want to ride 15 miles or 150 miles, inGamba is ready to accommodate you.
I have been on trips where the riding fitness was so incredibly varied, but the guide did such an amazing job of getting everyone what they wanted out of the day and the week, no one ever noticed the vast discrepancy.
So, I never hesitate to tell anyone who says they are intimidated by the inGamba “thing”, they should never be concerned about the riding, only the eating. Because we know how to put on a feeding fest.
Which brings me to the real reason I am writing this: Tenac Training Week is upon me and for the first time, since my very first trip, I am a little concerned about what I have gotten myself into. I have no business going on a trip with uber-fit, super-fast, skinny people. And yet, here I am, packing my bags.
Most of our trips are designed to accommodate everyone. Want to ride lots? No problem. Need a push on that final stretch of the climb, or fancy a short loop or two? We have you covered. Every so often though, we like to push the boat out too, and design a week (i.e. Donkey Week) that’s more of a hard-core training block, with the experienced, serious rider in mind. We still enjoy the food and wine, obviously, but the routes are not for the faint of heart.
This Tenac Training Week is exciting. We’ve got a group of really fast riders, all of whom are looking forward to doing lots of hard miles. All of the routes are challenging and entertaining in their own way, and we have a couple of our classic loops that have been remixed by cycling photographer extraordinaire and hardcore pedal smasher Jered Gruber. It’s going to be very hard and very fun. I’m out of my depth, but I’m diving in anyway. Watch this space to find out how I get on.