Boulder. Ground zero for the American road scene, home of the Red Zinger and Coors Classic stage races, or a great venue for a food, cycling, and wine tour–no matter how you look at it, Boulder’s a great spot to spend a long weekend riding.
I’ve had the wonderful luck to guide cycling tours in Tuscany, Sonoma, and the Dolomites, as well as cover competitive cycling throughout Europe and North America. The fun’s not just in the epic climbs and cycling history; it’s in the food, the wine, the people, and the “scene.” Boulder has all those things and more–and finally you can enjoy them on an organized, high-end tour with Cognoscenti.
Life, guiding, parenting, generally goofing off doesn’t let me pay as much attention to cycling as I once did. Most cycling “news” goes in one ear and out the other, but when I heard things like Frasca Food and Wine, Christian Vande Velde, Panache Apparel, Dr. Allen Lim, bike touring in Boulder … my ears perked right up. Somebody was putting together luxury food-and-bike tours in my back yard? Do tell!
“We want to provide our guests with a life-impacting travel experience,” says Cognoscenti co-founder, Karl Maier.
Maier has spent his career on the entrepreneurial side of business, running and growing companies throughout the world. His resume isn’t one you’d expect in the road-cycling world, but get him talking and you quickly realize why he’s doing this.
“I love to travel, eat well, do a bunch of different activities, share some travel tips,” says Maier.
He then launches into a passionate description of Cognoscenti and its partners–food purveyors like Cured, the gastronomy shop owned by former road pro Will Frischkorn and his run-surf-ride-ski super-star wife, Coral Frischkorn; and Frasca Food and Wine, the James Beard-award winning restaurant owned by former road pro Bobby Stuckey and his business partner-chef, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson; and The Kitchen, one of Boulder’s farm-to-table gem restaurants.
Maier gets you thinking about your next meal, then switches to his bike-industry partners–Dr. Allen Lim’s brainchild, Skratch Labs; pro-quality apparel manufacturer, Panache; and custom frame builder, Mosaic.
In short–all the best stuff in one of the best places, Boulder. Sure, I’m biased; I’ve lived and ridden here for 25 years, quite happily! It’s a fun town, with great riding, and lately–with an epic food scene.
Cognoscenti’s tours will add to that recipe some of the friendliest people in cycling, Robbie Ventura, Christian Vande Velde, Lyne Bessette, Dr. Lim, Bobby Stuckey, Don Powell, and Alison Powers to name a few. Each Cognoscenti tour will be led by a friendly, affable pro, so guests will pick up great training and riding tips along the way … not to mention stay in the luxurious St. Julien Hotel and dine at Boulder’s best restaurants.
Wow, hearing Maier talk about his latest venture–bam–I’m a Cognoscenti fan!
The Cognoscenti gang hopes to fill six inaugural tours this summer, including one during the Tour of Colorado. Guests will stay at the St. Julien and dine at a different (fabulous, delicious, wonderful) restaurant each night–The Kitchen, Frasca, and one of Boulder’s newer spots, PMG (sounds great, but I haven’t tried it yet). Each morning a guest speaker like Dr. Lim will help guests refine and perfect their cycling. In the afternoon, businesses like Mosaic and Panache will host folks for an inside look at Boulder’s thriving bike culture.
There’s a reason why so many great cyclists live here and the Cognoscenti folks are ready to show their guests exactly why. I’m gonna hang around a bit this summer and see if I can’t get invited to a dinner or two–it’s going to be fun!
Rob Coppolillo is a former amateur cyclist and a Contributing Editor at Elevation Outdoors. A longtime Boulderite, he’s also an internationally certified mountain guide and the co-founder of Vetta Mountain Guides.
2015 Cognoscenti Tour Dates (please visit the Cognoscenti website to verify dates)