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Realizing Dreams El Salvador Edition

Posted May 6, 2013 by Lorraine Blancher . Filed under Coaching, Trips, Cool Happenings
This February I was able to make one of my dream trips happen.  

During the last decade of being a professional coach, it's been a dream to find a winter Shangri'la where you can bring a great group of people, explore and ride quality trails, coach, get a mid winter tan by the ocean (surf !) and love the entire travel and riding experience.

Following a quick surf trip to El Salvador this November, I realized I had found the place to make that dream...
The trip started with a a morning yoga / core session on shores of the warm pacific ocean conveniently located below our home.  As the last of the bikes were being unpacked and built, the crew went down to the beach and warm up in anticipation for the week of riding to come.

Sunni, El Salvador National Surf Team Fitness Trainer guides us through our morning routineSunni, El Salvador National Surf Team Fitness Trainer guided us through our first morning routine.

Sunni is amazing!  Having a local, qualified and diverse professional be apart of a trip like this is key.  An after riding massage or an evening candlelight Yin Class were welcome as the week went on.

Our home base was Punte Elephant.  The newly opened ocean side guesthouse, owned by Herbert Baiza and his family was a dream.   Herbert has a HUGE passion for riding bikes, loves what he does and it shows.  Morning coffee from their families coffee plantain and daily house ceviche took the experience to a level above and beyond.  I couldn't have imagine a better local host or setting for the girls and I to come home to.  Thank you Herbert and ceviche master Herbert Senior !!!

Breakfast at Punte Elephant !  Loving life...The breakfast nook at Punte Elephant ! The crew loving life...

Our bike program consisted of a mix of natural volcano and coffee field trails and established shuttle runs at the San Salvador Eco Park.  The girls and I were too busy riding and learning to take our own action shots so we brought Mitch Cheek of Solos Productions along to complete the task.  Look for his edit dropping later this summer.

Mitch capturing the girls after an Eco Park dropMitch capturing Mallory and Gen after an Eco Park Jump !

The trail below has special meaning...  It's a zone near El Tunco that I was taken to by Guillermo from Moto Tours on my first 'surf' trip to El Salvador in November.  Over my last two days, Guillermo and I scoped out the area on his 250F then Trails motor bikes once we found the technical trails I could shuttle to the top of and descend to the bottom.  If I was going to bring a crew to a destination, it had to be RADass!  It was a new way of looking at the terrain for the former Moto Enduro National Champ but what we found provided a solid start in making the dream reality.  Many thanks !!!  

Eureka ! The first time I rode this I was in awe... Still blows me away.Eureka ! The first time I rode this on my mountain bike the feeling was overwhelming.  I was in awe... it still blows me away. Thanks for the shot Mitch.  

Another thing that made me smile about this trip was the crew of girls and I were able to give back to the local communities living at the bottom of or on the 'non traditional' mountain bike trails picked for the commercial trip.  (Like the one pictured above.)  Part of our trip proceeds went to the land owners for permission and payment for the locals living in the area to sweep and clear their trail gems.  Thank you Herbert and Guillermo for helping me make that happen.  There's more to our giving back but for another time...

What I found on one of my last days of Recon before the Girls arrived !What I found on one of my last days of Recon before the Girls arrived !

Another huge piece was Pro Bikes in San Salvador. Knowing the Country you're taking a crew has a valid bike shop eases the ultimate trip product stress. The first time I entered the shop a Carbon Sworks Demo, Carbon Demo II and a Carbon Santa Cruz V10 - all 2013 - were filling the 3 working stands.  Unreal.  The road bikes, pedal bikes... everything was quality. I don't think I have even been in a better stocked bike shop.... EVER!   Many thanks to Pro Bikes for the suspension talk venue !  

Anyone taking a private lesson or working with me at a camp knows, bike set up is huge in my coaching world. I can teach someone the best bio mechanics and how to stay centered through all types of terrain BUT they'll never look right or get the ultimate effortless feel if their bike suspension isn't set up.   

Suspension set up at Pro Bikes.  Getting Karey equal and dialed in her ride...Explaining how to get Karey equal and dialed in her ride.

Back to Punta Elephant for a sunset massage with Suni.  Highly recommend the experienceI can't think of a better way to end a riding day.  Back to Punta Elephant for a sunset massage with Suni.  Highly recommend the experience, definite dream.

There is so much more to the story.  Solos Productions is working on our edit and more complete story will hopefully go to print.  

More importantly, I look forward to sharing the experience again with another fine crew this Fall. 

See ya soon Punta Elephant !See ya soon Punta Elephant !