Cabernet and Catastrophe feat. Wine Country, CA

At the end of this season of Camp Crew, the whole lot of us got to meet back up for Support Leader Training in Salt Lake City. Throughout the week we learned a lot about bike mechanics and a little about everyone’s anxiety. We all knew that on Friday morning we would be tested on a variety of different bike mechanic skills, as well as how quickly we could rack bikes on the van. Every night involved readings and practicing those skills, so suffice it to say the week wasn’t all bonding like we thought it would be. At the end of the week, though, we all passed and got our schedules for the fall season. I was lucky and got exactly what I had asked for. For this post, we will talk only about my trip supporting in Wine Country.

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Going into the trip I was nervous, as I had heard the level of guests is the closest you get to European trip guests in the US. The trip is all fancy hotels and Michelin star restaurants so I was a bit worried about it being my first non-camper. It could not have gone better!

It was a big trip, 25 guests, and every single one of them was awesome and so nice. We had every level of biker on the trip, and every type of bike, so my bike mechanic skills definitely got tested. The trips in wine country are essentially winery-hopping bike tours so the amount of shuttling options we give guests is super high, but it also leaves the guests in very good spirits every day so not much to complain about. We had perfect weather the whole time we were there – it is California after all – and I only had one horror story from the trip that went over well in the end.

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We offer eBikes to guests, which give a little engine assist to riders who may not be up to the same level as their spouse or riding partner. These bikes are super heavy (almost 40 pounds) so we have back racks for them instead of racking them on top of the vans. I was driving (without guests, thankfully) with all of the eBikes on the back of my van when I see the blue and red lights of a Sonoma County cop in my rearview and pulled to the side. Thinking I was about to get a ticket, I was almost to the point of tears when I checked in my rearview mirror again and saw the cop standing in the back of my van waving me to the back. As I walked back, he just pointed at the back of the van and said “I saw you driving back dragging this and figured I would stop you.” That’s right! An eBike was clinging desperately to the rack with only the back wheel as the handlebars dragged along the road behind me. I had shaved off half a handlebar.

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I made it through the rest of the afternoon without any guests noticing and drove to Berkeley and back that night to get a new one. If only guests knew everything we did for them, but thankfully none of them ever found out about my stupid mistake.

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