Upper Echelon Cycling Experiences is a travel company of luxury bike tours brought to you by Dave Harward and Breanne Nalder-Harward of PLAN7 Endurance Coaching. We sat down with Dave and Breanne to ask a few questions.
Cycling West: Tell us a bit about Upper Echelon Cycling Experiences.
DH: We started in 2018 with a trip to Italy with DNA Cycling and it was such a blast we knew we wanted to make this into a distinct company. We added a gravel camp on the Burr Trail and into Lake Powell in 2019, did a lot of recon for future trips, and had our 2nd tour in Italy. 2020 is so exciting as we are hosting tours in Sonoma Wine Country, a gravel trip based out of Boulder Utah, our signature trip to Italy with DNA, and an advanced tour in the Dolomites with Damiano Cunego (winner of the grand tour Giro d’Italia in 2004).
CW: What made you branch into doing tours on top of your busy coaching schedules?
DH: Riding bikes is our life. We love our world of coaching athletes, traveling, training, and racing so much that we wanted to expand into taking people to places we love to ride and share our passion. What could be better than spending a week riding with friends in exotic places and ending each day with a massage and the local cuisine and culture?
BN: We essentially take care of everything on the trips, so all our clients have to do is ride their bikes and enjoy themselves. Our staff makes sure that every bike is working well, that everyone has what they need to eat, drink, and that the places we stay are luxurious and comfortable. As a registered dietician and nutrition coach, I work directly with the chef to plan meals to ensure that not only taste fabulous, but contain all the necessary nutrients to fuel our guests for optimal performance while riding. Most of all, we work hard to make each trip a fun and unique experience that would be hard to put together on your own. Let us do the logistics!
CW: What can riders expect form an Upper Echelon experience?
DH: Awesomeness! For example, the Sonoma trip in June will include some of the most incredible locations to ride in NorCal: vineyards, rolling hills, short punchy mountains, and of course lots of warm sun. Lodging is at a private estate on vineyard in Healdsburg so the wine tour experience is definitely part of it, and every person/couple gets a master suite. We even have some special friends joining us, including local wine makers and the gravel queen herself, Alison Tetrick.
BN: We’re so excited about the Italy trips this year. The magic of the Dolomites will offer really advanced riding and having Damiano as our guide means clients will ride with a world class pro and hearing his stories. Then our trip to the Veneto province will be a bit more moderately paced while still enjoying big rides to iconic places like Monte Grappa. At all of our trips, guests will stay in a luxurious private villa, and will be fully supported with a mechanic and soigneur who will be able to make sure that both your bike and your body are in perfect working order before the next day’s ride.
CW: Wow, these trips sound incredible. What does the pricing look like?
DH: We like to say that once you arrive to an Upper Echelon experience, you don’t take out your wallet unless it’s to buy yourself a souvenir. We ask for an initial deposit to secure your spot and then the remainder about a month before the trip. Prices vary depending on trip location, length, and single/double occupancy to rooms.
CW: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
BN: We do custom trips too! If you want to go anywhere in the world on road, gravel, or MTB, we can put it together! Contact us with your dream trip and we’ll make it happen for you and your group! All details on trips can be found on our website, and you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram. If you have any questions, shoot us an email [email protected] or check out the website, upperecheloncyclingexperiences.com