Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the ideal weekend for a cyclist. It would be set in a stunning location, with plenty of scenic roads to explore. And, for those moments in between rides, there would be plentiful food and wine from the best chefs and wineries in the world. Well, you don’t need to imagine because you get all that and more at CampoVelo.
Words & Images by William Tracy
Set in Northern California wine country, CampoVelo is, at its core, a perfectly curated adult summer camp for cyclists. The brainchild of an experienced event planner and a renowned chef, both of whom love cycling, CampoVelo comes from the heart. It’s made by cyclists for cyclists—but can be enjoyed just as much by non-cyclist significant others.
“It’s unlike anything else out there,” says CampoVelo co-founder Rebecca Kotch, who has spent her career in marketing roles for companies like Nike and Microsoft and who is a prominent event planner in Napa Valley. Joining her in running the show is celebrity chef, restaurateur and cyclist Chris Cosentino. “Our backgrounds coming together is a one plus one equals three situation,” says Rebecca.
“We take care of everybody,” says Chris. “It’s ultimate hospitality on the bike.” That’s a high standard from a man who has made his name and career in a hospitality-based industry. So what do those 48 hours look like?
While every weekend is different, there are some constants. Rides of varying distances and paces leave throughout each morning after coffee and an exercise-friendly light breakfast like a parfait or eggs. Chris carefully selects leaders for each ride to ensure everyone enjoys themselves on the wine-country roads while rolling past vineyards and up the seldom-traveled mountain roads bookending the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Past ride leaders have included former WorldTour pros Lauren Hall, Pete Stetina and Phil Gaimon, as well as UNBOUND Gravel winner Yuri Hauswald among many other engaging, welcoming personalities.
Perfectly stocked aid stations, with fruits and pastries complementing a diverse selection of ride foods, dot each route, always emerging around a corner at seemingly the right moment. And with professional neutral service support cars on hand—just like in a pro race—you don’t need to worry about flats. The mechanics can change a wheel in no time (trust us, we have firsthand experience) and get you back on your way.
Post ride, recover with lunch and refreshments from local breweries and wineries while watching cooking demonstrations by Chris. Frequent Peloton contributor Brett Horton is often on hand to show off selections from his world class memorabilia collection—which, if you’re lucky, may result in Chris wearing a race-used Mario Cipollini skinsuit from the Giro d’Italia.
Afterward, explore Napa Valley on your own, or head to the hotel pool to relax. Each weekend’s activities are based out of a different hotel in Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley, like Dr. Wilkinson’s, a hotel and spa tucked into the edge of Calistoga whose laidback atmosphere perfectly matches the feel of CampoVelo.
Then, get ready to do it all again the next day—or you can choose to come for just one day, however you want to enjoy CampoVelo.
While core elements remain every time, Each weekend has a distinct flavor. CampoVelo is always trying new things, whether it’s changing up the cycling disciplines to offer a mountain bike or gravel route, or running a women-only event later this year. There’s a reason some guests have returned every year, says Chris.
CampoVelo is serious about its guests having a good time, so every partner, sponsor and ride leader is carefully selected. “We look for sponsors that have the ability to so speak to our guests,” says Rebecca. “We’re bringing them guests who care about all these things—cycling, food and wine—and who also want to give back.” Event tire sponsor Schwalbe aligns perfectly with what CampoVelo is all about: riding in beautiful places with good company and enjoying yourself on and off the bike. It’s the same idea behind the brand’s PARI SOUPLESSE CLUB which is all about social, casual rides. Schwalbe is on site all weekend to help with any tire-related needs, allowing cyclists to get the most out of their weekend. Whether it’s just topping off air, or setting up a brand new set of tubeless tires, Schwalbe has everyone at CampoVelo covered.
And while CampoVelo is about having a good time, it’s about giving back, too. Each weekend supports a different charity that creates a massive, direct impact on individual lives through seemingly small things. World Bicycle Relief donates bikes to people in developing regions, giving them the mobility to go to school, work and more. Another charity, No Kid Hungry, ensures that kids in the U.S. go to school with full stomachs, ready to learn—just $1 feeds 10 kids a good, well-rounded meal. Another, the Napa Valley Vine Trail, a bike path that will stretch 47 miles through Napa Valley creating a safe option for locals to ride their bikes, provides a direct benefit to the community where CampoVelo takes place. Chris wears his heart on his sleeve, and it’s not uncommon to see him get choked up when describing the tangible impact that these charities have.
At the end of the weekend, guests leave with the satisfaction of contributing to one of these amazing causes, and the memories of a weekend where fun comes first and everything is taken care of. Simply put, “CampoVelo allows you to be a kid,” says Chris.