Based out of Lake Tahoe, RoadBiking California is a new tour company started by former US pro’s Chris Huber and Greg Oravetz – you’ll likely recall them both from their days as Coors Light Silver Bullet riders in the late 80’s and 90’s.
Your hosts: Chris Huber and Greg Oravetz.
Being in the cycling tour business takes a special breed of person – you gotta love riding your bike, and guests rely on you to make sure all the details are covered. But that something extra is what sets any business venture apart – and in this case the fact that the owners and guides are both ex-pros who have lived and ridden in these parts for years is what makes them unique.
Pez: You and Greg have so much racing history between you – I can only imagine the stories – ! What prompted you to start up a tour company, and what makes yours different?
Chris: Yes Greg and I have some great stories, some should probably not be repeated in polite company! Really the tour thing started living in Hawaii or even before- I ran my first week long camp based on the Big Island in 1998. After I moved there in 2001 I ran it almost every year in mid February. This year we added Maui a week after the Big Island tour finished. Both are really great trips, many of our clients have returned as many as 5 times. I always see “trip of a lifetime” but these really are… with rides to Volcano national park and the entire Hana ride including the backside “Paris Roubaix” section. Greg and I just started working together on this last year. I lived on Maui for 8 months in 2009 and Greg had lived there for 8 years or so in the late 90’s early 2000’s and we started talking about expanding the whole idea and including the Amgen tour. Our focus is on the serious recreational rider on up to racing cyclist and we incorporate skills clinics into our daily programs. With two of us between a maximum of twenty riders we have one on one time with everyone and can focus on their individual wants.
Riding around Lake Tahoe should be plenty memorable.
Pez: A lot of Tour companies choose to coincide their tours with the end of a race, but your Tour of California trip starts from day 1, running over 4 days at the beginning of the race… Why did you set it up this way?
Chris: We actually had it set up to run the entire tour and almost everybody that inquired had time or economic constraints, so we decided to base the trip just up here around Tahoe. We’ll get 4 great rides in and attend the Gala dinner and team introduction. We will ride stage one and watch the finish as well as the start the next day. Optionally, if we have at least 6 riders who want to go south we will pick up in San Jose and go to the end of the race but we divided it into two tours. Unfortunately that fantastic ride down Highway 1 is off this year because of the huge slide. I actually used to wait for those slides in my training days – hike over it and have Highway 1 as my own personal bike path!
Pez: What’s the riding like in the Tahoe area?
Chris: After ten years in Hawaii it’s great to get back up in the mountains and enjoy some varied weather. There are great quiet backroads over in the Carson area and we’ll be heading south down through Genoa and over the Kingsbury grade to Southlake on Friday with the “Ride the West” lake tour as part of our adventure on Saturday.
Greg Oravetz on the cover of winning – how many of you still have this issue?
Pez: What can guests expect from the weather ?
Chris: The weather has just turned the corner here and it was high 70’s today – beautiful – but there is always the chance of freak weather here so come prepared!
Pez: You and your biz partner Greg Oravetz are guest riders at the “Ride the West” tour of Lake Tahoe – an event that’s been running for 20 years – which is a pretty long time for any ride outside if Europe. Tell us a bit about that ride, why it’s lasted so long, and what makes it great…
Chris: I got in touch with the event promoter Curtis Fong through a chamber of commerce meeting up here and he invited Greg and I to be “Legends” riders at the event this year. He organizes a bunch of great rides here in the area. I think the Tahoe ride with the incredible backdrop is just bound to be one of the world’s great rides – especially with a big enough group to have some authority on the road.
Pez: You have a pretty good relationship with Cannondale, and guests can order a new bike to pick up as part of their tour with you – tell us more about this program.
Chris: Actually we’ve just changed our bike partner to Cannondale in the last few weeks. Cannondale, who make a fantastic road race machine in the SuperSix are very enthused to be working with us going forward and we are stoked with their involvement. Basically we modeled the program after some of the European car delivery programs like Porsche used to have – go drive your new Porsche on the autobahn and then ship it home. With the bike program it gives someone the opportunity to get a great bike, an expert fit and some savings on the package. We take $250.00 off the camp cost and of course people save the exorbitant bike shipping fees.
Pez: Part of the Tour of California trip includes attending the traditional gala Dinner to kick off the race – that should be a lot of fun and a pretty different way to mingle with some of the sports’ big names.
Chris: Looking forward to it although I don’t own a black tie! Even though Greg and I are becoming dinosaurs we have still raced and ridden with a few of these guys. I hope to say hello to Ryder Hesjedal who I’ve ridden with in Maui. A super nice guy he won the final stage last year. Hopefully he is not sore at me for kicking his ass -three games straight of ping-pong last November!
This trip sounds like a great way to spend a few days, and at press time a few spots are still open, so give Chris or Greg a call via their website at:
RoadBiking California, or phone: 808.936.3762