Biking with the Pros and Lance update!

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We just got back from a quick weekend trip to Logan, Utah…Lance got to meet the Garmin Cannondale cycling team! I was putting up pictures on our Facebook, so this isn’t news for some of you. (If you haven’t yet, I sure hope you’ll “like” our FB page, gang!)

Lance, meet the Garmin Cannondale team bus.

Lance, meet the Garmin Cannondale team bus.

Both Garmin Cannondale and Trek Factory Racing teams are in town since the Tour of Utah starts tomorrow. They showed up for a group ride at Al’s Cyclery in Logan, and of course we dropped everything when we heard about the event, pointed Lance north, and partook.

Our bikes hanging out at the team bus. Lance was probably jealous.

Our bikes hanging out at the team bus. Lance was probably jealous.

As we headed out in our peloton of about 70 excited riders, the running joke was, “just don’t take out any of the pros!” Ha, ha. I wasn’t too worried about being anywhere near the pros. I was going to hang back and stay safe.

It was a 40 mile ride through a beautiful mountain pass…an out & back course. I’ve never ridden with such a huge group before, and definitely not with 2 pro teams; with their support cars leap-frogging us, honking as they go…we just needed drunken people on the roadsides, pushing us along, giving us beer, and running naked in flags.

Even though I intended to stay in the back, at one point I found myself in the middle of the pack. Directly in front of me were 2 Garmin/Cannondale pros. To my left were 2 Trek pros. And behind me were guys speaking in French accents, so I assume there were more pros on my back wheel, too, but there was no way I was turning my head to find out. There were some crazy canyon winds blowing from unpredictable directions and we were on a downhill going way too fast for my comfort zone in such a tight group. I kept a death grip on my handlebars and couldn’t stop thinking about our joke… “don’t take out any of the pros!” I was all the way on the right side, with nowhere to go but off the road if I didn’t hold my line. Those Trek boys beside me were WAY TOO trusting. They were chatting up a storm about a recent race without a care in the world, even though our handlebars were about ½ inch away from colliding. And I could only imagine the pros right behind me were probably right on my wheel. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. I was sandwiched in by pros. Please, God, don’t let me take them out!!!

Luckily, they all survived, though if they had any clue what a crappy biker they were riding mere centimeters away from, they might have spread out a bit.

Me and Tom Danielson. Don't worry Tommy fans, he's safe.

Me and Tom Danielson. Don’t worry Tommy D fans, I didn’t take him out.

Switching Gears: About Lance…

I’ve been pretty quiet about Lance, letting James do all the talking about our super cool new customized Winnebago Travato, but since I get asked so much about the bed, I thought I’d give you my impressions.

Winnebago Travato 59g bed

4 year old grandgirl Amelia digs it…

I have to admit, I was worried about the bed. I saw two potential disasters.

  1. We had it mounted so high to accommodate our bike garage below, I wondered if I’d have problems sleeping up there. I’m not claustrophobic normally, but fretted that the high bed might feel a little, well, MRI tunnel-ish, perhaps?
  2. The bed in the Travato 59G model (the model we have) is plenty long, but also pretty narrow. Would we have problems sleeping so cramped? I know a lot of other Travato owners are opting for the 59K model (twin beds in the middle of the coach) for this exact same concern.

Turns out my worries were unfounded. The high bed (we call it our “penthouse”) doesn’t feel claustrophobic at all. There are two reasons for that. One, WGO installed a cute little Seitz window up in the penthouse…it was one of the custom mods they did for us.

Amelia watching "Dude" out the Seitz window as he practices getting a kayak on the rack...

Amelia watching “Dude” (her name for James) out the Seitz window as he practices getting a kayak on the rack…

We like to sleep with it open and the fan in the middle of the coach turned on, so we get a nice, gentle cross breeze. I find it incredibly peaceful and cozy. And the second reason, the mattress is so freaking comfortable, I can’t wait to climb into it each night. Not sure if it’s that Froli sleep system or the mattress itself, but, oh my. I’d be okay with sleeping up there even when we’re home. Sleeping out in the driveway. Would that be weird?

As for the narrow bed, I was pleasantly surprised. There hasn’t been one instance of a bed-related marriage spat… “move over, I’m squished,” “no, YOU move over, you’re crossing the line!” I was sure that’d happen. But we’ve had 15 nights in the penthouse already, and I’m happy to report, we’re still married and no plans for divorce due to bed hogging. I’ve talked to other G-owning couples who concur. The bed size isn’t a problem, even though they all had concerns it would be.

Mila and "Mugga" (that's what she calls me) chillaxing in the penthouse...

Mila and “Mugga” (that’s what she calls me) chillaxing in the penthouse…

But it’s not all puppy dogs and daisies up there in the penthouse. There’s one little snafu. The Coleman air conditioner is about 2 feet from my face. Running it while sleeping that close to it is noisier than I’d prefer. James doesn’t mind, but that’s because he just LOOKS at a bed and he’s instantly asleep. I’m not kidding you, it’s freaky. He can be in the middle of a sentence as he’s lying down, and BAM! He’s asleep before he finishes his sentence. We’re going to try a few things to see if we can get it quieter, but since it’s rare we need to run the air conditioner at night, I don’t see this as a huge issue. Just something we didn’t foresee.

So, yeah, that’s the deal with the bed. We’re both really happy with how it turned out.

Next week is the super cool Outdoor Retailer show here in Salt Lake City, and we’re excited we get to attend as members of the press. Lots of products will be displayed for outdoor enthusiasts, and James and I love seeing all the latest innovations. Winnebago is coming with the Travato AND a little surprise…a 4×4 ERA! We’ll be hanging out in the Winnebago booth talking about the Travato and our experiences as new owners. Plus! We’ll be scouting out cool products that you all might be interested in. Stay tuned…can’t wait to see what we’ll find this time!

"MUGGA!!! Dude's being a zombie again..."

“MUGGA!!! Dude’s being a zombie again…”

After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    27 thoughts on “Biking with the Pros and Lance update!

    1. Mary

      Love you two! All of your detailed info has been very helpful. I am considering a 59K purchase and previously owned a Pleasure way Plateau that also had a loud air conditioner. I recently watched your Galleria review which contained a comment about your frustration with your 59G air conditioner noise. I recalled this earlier post that expressed the same concern so I thought I’d write. Have you considered utilizing a sound meter in your rv reviews…and how do you intend to resolve the problem in your G? I’m haven’t yet located a review of the various rv air conditioners and wonder if you will take this on? I’m slowing down my 59K purchase….because this is a big deal to me with lots of summer southwest camping. Please keep us posted on how you intend to resolve this issue. And Stephanie….thanks so much for the delicious healthy recipes!

      1. James

        So far, our solution to the problem has been “wait for winter”. That’s not a good long-term option. We chatted with the Coleman (AirExcel) rep at the Louisville show, and there may be one or two more things we can try.
        We haven’t solved the issue yet, but we haven’t given up on it either.

    2. Tom Cahill

      I continue to enjoy your blog. I wonder if you could tell me more about the rack on top of your van (or direct me to where you previously wrote about it).

      Also, The Dirty Dozen bike race is coming up in Pittsburgh if you are feeling feisty!

      1. James

        The rack on top is just the Fiamma rack that Winnebago offers. I haven’t written about it specifically, but you can see how I use it to mount solar panels in our latest video.
        It really is a sweet rack. Keeps us from drilling into the Travato when we want stuff upstairs.

        The Dirty Dozen is on my bucket list, but getting to Pittsburgh may have to wait until I retire!

    3. Greg P

      How is the fuel economy with the Travato 3.6L V6 vs the MB diesel in your first RV? I realize cost of diesel varies greatly depending on what part of the country that you live in.

      1. James

        Well, the 5 cylinder diesel definitely got better mileage on a per-gallon basis.
        And since diesel is still cheaper than gas in our part of the country, the diesel would be cheaper in dollars as well.
        (BTW, I think this is an oil company conspiracy – they waited until I sold a diesel RV and bought a gas one to make diesel finally cheaper than gas.)

        With our gas Travato, we’re currently averaging somewhere around 15mpg. But we’re still improving and learning how to drive it more efficiently.
        In another 6 months or so, I should settle in on what will be our long term average.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        LOL, Mark! Great to hear from you. Stick around, you’re good for my ego (just don’t bike 1/2 centimeter from my handlebars…).

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Yeah, and right after we rode with him, wow. That’s what you get for hanging around Lance. 😉

    4. Michael

      Stef, I totally agree with you on the bed. I have a new 59K and the bed with Froili is really comfortable (I too have had the thought of going out to the driveway and sleeping in the Travato when I can’t get to sleep inside!). For sleeping I dressed both beds up nicely to match, but then use just a Sea to Summit sleeping sack on top of the covers. The sacks are really comfortable and easy to throw into the wash with other clothes. They make them in both stretchy material as well as bamboo cloth.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Oh my gosh, Michael, I JUST walked past the Sea to Summit booth today at the Outdoor Retailer show! I hardly glanced in…seriously, the show is total sensory overload, but I’m DEFINITELY going to go take a closer look tomorrow. The best thing would be 1. a double sized sack, and 2. I could unzip and free my legs. It’s a dealbreaker if not…gotta have freedom to kick and flail, ya know.

    5. Mike

      Great description of what it is like to ride in a peloton with serious cyclists. We saw the Tour of California last year–sat around for a couple of hours, then whoosh, 15 seconds of blur and it was over for the spectators!

      Like y’all, we have a new Winnebago (2016 ERA 70X), occasionally cycle (but mostly run) and are blogging away at Our home base is Dallas, but jobs will have us deployed to the West Coast for a few months. We’ve visited Zion, Bryce, Moab, Monument Valley and Arches, so our plans are to traverse the Sierras and Nevada over to northern Utah this fall (consider us the anti-Donner Party-maybe if they had Good Sam back then…). Anyway, perhaps our paths will cross somewhere in the top side of the state. Cheers!

      1. Stefany - Post author

        So cool, Mike! Let’s keep in touch and try to meet up when your travels bring you this way again! Would love to see your ERA…I’m about to post a pic to our Facebook of the super cool 4×4 ERA Winnebago brought to the Outdoor Retailer show event we were at today! Definitely check it out:

    6. Mark

      Congrats tot you both for becoming Winnebagolife contributers !!! Awesome for you guys and all Travato lovers !! (me)… 😉

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Thanks, Mark! We really enjoy the whole WGO team and are SO happy we chose to go with a Travato. WGO is doing some great stuff by focusing some of their attention on the active outdoorsy RVer, and we’re thrilled. You’ll have to check out our Facebook and see their spiffy new 4×4 ERA!

    7. David Lee

      James, in a past life (i.e. 50 lbs. ago) I rode in amongst a pro pack, and it was terrifying to make sure I wasn’t part of the story of the day. Most of those pros were so small, yet their bodies looked like road maps (blue veins) because of their low body fat. That’s to say nothing of their bike-handling skills. They’re a whole ‘nother level above us mere mortals.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        LOL, David! It definitely was surprising to see how small they are in person, wow. And, yeah, not being part of “the story of the day” was quite a relief for James and me!

    8. Andy & Kim

      So Stefany,
      I know it’s too early for a detailed analysis of Fridgezilla (or as Kim named it “I Want !!!”). But what are you impressions of it’s general functionality and the kitchen as a whole.

      Andy & Kim

      PS – Did any garments actually make it into the crisper bins ?!?!?!?

      1. Stefany - Post author

        LOL, Andy! I CAN tell you that Fridgezilla has only stored food products thus far. And not a whole lot, actually. Try as I may, the old fridge has me so conditioned to pack light, I can’t seem to fill the new one! Briefly, I’m loving the kitchen as a whole. The huge deep pantry to the right of the fridge holds so much, we aren’t lacking in space at all. In fact, the smaller cabinet (above the big pantry cabinet) we didn’t really have any need for, at least on that first two and a half week long trip. We’ve repurposed the spice rack to be our cycling water bottle holder, they fit in there nice and snug…and we’re pretty excited about that. Now we want to get cooler looking water bottles since they’re always on display! I’ll do another post with more details on the kitchen; so much I want to tell you!

    9. Eric


      What are you doing for bedding?

      We bought a twin sheet set at Walmart when we first picked up our Travato. The fitted bottom fits almost perfectly and we used the top sheet once but it was a million degrees in NM that night. Other than that, we’ve just been using “down” sleeping bags over the sheet which is there mainly to keep the mattress clean. What other options are there?

      1. Stefany - Post author

        These are great questions, Eric, and hopefully other Travato owners can help. I haven’t worked out the bedding yet, and need advice, too. We have a full sized sheet set we’re using, but they’re slightly too big. I use a small fuzzy throw on top of that on my side, but James just uses the sheets. Good to know a twin fits nicely for the fitted bottom, I’ll definitely replace the full with a twin, thanks for that. We’ll need to work out warmer bedding as the weather changes. I don’t like sleeping bags, because I like when my legs are free. But I do want bedding that lays nicely for folding up the bed and isn’t too big for the tiny space. Will keep you posted…any tips from others would be appreciated!

        1. Eric

          I was thinking to sew the top sheet to the bottom only along the foot and at least that would keep some semblance of order but my wife vetoed that. She thought it would be too confining for her legs, also.

        2. Stefany - Post author

          Ummm, yeah, I second that veto. Sounds like something James would try. James, don’t even think about it.

        3. Bob

          Great to see the “bedroom” is working out; from the mockups I was afraid it would be a bit tight (height-wise).

          Good idea to cut the sheets to match the bed. My wife cut our sheets down to fit the 42″ (!!!) wide beds (upper and lower are same width) in our VW camper. Saved about 30% fabric over the queen size and makes it easier to stow.

          Sleeping bags/comforters? Down is nice but does not like moisture, hollofill and other fibers a bit bulky. Years ago we bought some nice Thinsulate bags from a company called “Woods of Canada”. They made dozens of different types of bags, but these were marketed specifically to bicyclists! Good down to 40F, keep warm when wet, dry quickly, pack up to minimal size. Ours are rectangular, extra long (I am 6-2) and zipped together. Now we usually take only one and use it like a comforter. Again, packs up to nothing (IMHO) ;~) Look for Thinsulate (sometimes with the works LiteLoft) and check it out

        4. Stefany - Post author

          Thanks for the feedback, Bob, definitely gives me somewhere to start on the warmer bedding…and yeah, custom cutting the sheets to fit; great idea. I’ve got a seamstress I use for things like that (hi, mom), so I’ll get her to work on that. We still haven’t worked out a ladder system for the high bed, but instead have gotten used to climbing on the kitchen counter to get up there. James has such a long list of fun mods he wants to do (he can’t resist tinkering), it’s pretty far down our project list. 🙂

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