Recently, Team MPI athlete, Triston Arisawa embarked on an epic European cycling adventure! Coach Mark Sortino interviewed Triston about his experiences.
What was the basic cycling plan for this trip to Europe and who did you go with?
We flew in to Zurich Switzerland. The plan was to get to the mountains within the first couple of days. Then, cross over to Italy since the cost of everything in Italy is much cheaper. My riding partner, Sean Kendal, first started about 15 years ago so he is well-versed on the places to go and the best way to navigate this type of trip.
How did you get from one ride to the next? What were the logistics? Basically the logistics were to rid from one town to the next. In the case of rain, we either got to the nearest town and stayed or waited it out, or took a train somewhere where it wasn’t raining. In Switzerland and Italy, the towns are numerous. Stopping and refueling is pretty easy.
As far as water is concerned there are fountains everywhere, so we both only brought 1 water bottle. For lodging, we only had one reservation in a mountain village called Grimelwald. The village is only accessible by gondola and no motor vehicles are allowed except for agriculture use.
The rest of the trip we used Booking.com and tried to get “Half Board” which includes breakfast and dinner. In Switzerland, this usually was around $150 a night and Italy as low as $50. We also used Airbnb, which was nice because we could shop and cook using local ingredient’s.
From a cycling perspective, what was your best memory? It’s hard to choose a specific memory because it was all so exciting. One day I think we did 3 mountain passes and were pretty beat, but there is nothing like cycling up endless switchbacks and observing the massive views as you near the top. In addition to that, thinking about how much older the infrastructure is, and how long people have been traveling here brings about a different perspective
From a traveling in Europe perspective, what surprised you the most (good or bad)? I think it was the use of the train system, It was really easy to jump on a train and get somewhere, I learned that you can even have luggage transported by train waiting for you. We didn’t use this, but it would be nice in the future.
What was your “craziest” experience or thing that you saw?
I think the top of Stelvio was pretty crazy, there were just so many people, motorcyclists, sports cars, ect.. It is a major tourist spot. That being said, I’m glad we did it because of the massive views.
What was your total millage and elevation that you biked?
I believe our total was around 700 miles and elevation was over 30k
Would you recommend this kind of trip to others? Would you do anything different next time if you went again?
I would highly recommend a trip like this, it was very immersive and you get to see things that you wouldn’t on guided bike tours. I think next time I would pack even less, I didn’t bring much, but I found it pretty easy to wash my clothes on a daily basis. It is intimidating, but once you are on your way it’s not that hard.
One thing is to bring your best chamois, I brought two pair and ended up ditching one because it was causing issues. Last thing, life is short so do the things you love and step out of your boundaries. Don't be afraid to try new things.