Two weeks of cycling around Tuscany has come to an end and I’m on my way home. I’m so grateful for the amazing team of Olympic athletes and musicians that I got to ‘work’ with on this unique trip.
After three years of hosting, the cycling team has become a well-oiled macchina. This group consists of Curt Harnett (Olympic Silver and 2x Bronze cyclist), Chandra Crawford (Olympic Gold Nordic Skier), myself, Barney Bentall (musician) and his wife Kath (who together make a powerful pair of cyclists who have explored every hill, town, restaurant and gelato stop in the area!) and Dennis Colborne .
Each week over 80 Canadians joined us for a unique holiday of cycling, food and music. With the help of 4 or 5 Italian guides we explored every up and down of the Chianti Classico region. It’s not really a vacation for us – but then again – how could it not be? The location is spectacular and the people we meet are all so interesting.
As the guests left on the last morning (most likely a little hungover from all the chianti at the closing night Jim Cuddy and Barney Bentall concert!), they were all beaming. This unique vacation had re-connected many of them to the childlike joy and freedom of cycling and because cycling in this area is physically hard, many also found a confidence in themselves too-long forgotten. It was so amazing to watch their transformation. Continue reading
So here I am in Italy having an amazing time. I wake up, eat a fab breakfast, go for a 3hr bike ride that usually includes at least one doppio espresso macchiato and then return to our gorgeous resort-Borgo San Felice. A short bike ride somewhere for a 3hr lunch of caprese salad and a pici pasta and then back for a rest by the beautiful pool. In the evening – if Jim Cuddy isn’t leading us through a wine tasting we go for more delicious food and local Chianti region wines. After dinner Jim, his son’s Devin and Sam and/or Barney Bentall jam at the hotel bar piano. It’s almost too much dolce vita… but then I don’t think there can ever be too much of that! I’m so so lucky. Continue reading
This is one crazy month! I’m getting to start it off with an amazing adventure in Italy and then I’ll come home to launch my book. There is a word here for that… fantastico! ( it’s Italian for wow!)
This is my third year being part of the support for an auction item that was sold at the national dinner series, Gold Medal Plates. These dinners which simultaneously raise money (6 Million dollars so far) for Canadian athletes (through Own The Podium and the Canadian Olympic Foundation) and select the Canadian Culinary Champion. They really are unique gala dinners but the auction items are incredibly special opportunities. This one, “Under the Tuscan Sun” has cyclist Curt Harnett, x-country skier Chandra Crawford, and myself cycling around with the guests in the morning and then after everyone has enjoyed a fabulous afternoon / evening of Tuscan wine and food, Barney Bentall and Jim Cuddy entertain everyone in our Relais and Chateau 5-star resorts hotel bar.
The guests are from across the country – NFLD to Vancouver Island – and it’s (as always) an amazing group of curious, creative and active (varying levels for sure!) people. What a treat to be here! Continue reading