Hello to spring time in the California Wine Country! We finally got some rain over the last couple of months and now everything is blooming – from apples to poppies to the vines that yield the great wines of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys!
Earlier this year, we shared that Kristen Gentilucci, one of our California Guides was taking her bike and her guiding skills to join the 2012 Bike & Build effort. They will travel across the country – diagonally – from Maine to Santa Barbara to raise awareness for affordable housing and help build houses in some communities. Now that is a powerful way to pedal!
This month, we introduce you to Ross Battersby, the other Brit in our crew (the first being our fearless founder, Tony).
Ross was born and raised in southern England, just south of London. He started riding and racing his bike at 13 and baffled his parents with his commitment to training and racing. In the early 1980’s Ross went to university to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne where he found a new outlook on life. During and after university, there were so many things to do and experience: rugby, marksmanship, a commission in the British Army, and not to mention the studies in Estate Management (that’s agricultural estate!) As if that wasn’t enough adventure, Ross followed that with a job running expedition style trips worldwide in 4×4 trucks for an unorthodox company. His first venture was to East Africa where after 6 weeks of training he was running safaris. This was followed by several Trans-Africa expeditions and several trouble shooting trips that really were very testing. All this excitement translated into several years as a safari guide in Tanzania for a US outfitter. Quite conveniently, he met his wife on one such expedition. After many more adventures Ross and his wife landed in California’s Bay Area where he ran the operations department for a worldwide adventure travel company. After 3 years in a cubicle, the sand in his shoes began to itch and he and his wife decided to realize a dream and set off on a two year trip across the US and Canada and through Europe and Africa in their own Ford F250 4×4 – with no tourists! It was the trip of a lifetime – straight out of an Indiana Jones storyline. They reached the Cape of Good Hope in October 1993, amidst the first multi ethnic elections in South Africa. They later returned to California and moved to Sonoma County’s wine country, where Ross used his rough and ready skills to become a winemaker. He worked for a large corporation and then as the winemaker for a small estate vineyard, making 12 different wines from vines as old as 110 years. The small vineyard struggled financially, so 15 years later and with the world economy on the brink Ross was released into a new world.
Experienced and travelled but without direction, he followed his legs on a bike again, (after 22 years of no steady cycling) and began guiding trips in Sonoma and Napa for LifeCycle Adventures. Ross enjoys showing visitors the delights of our magnificent area and the stunning vineyards and exquisite wines we have to offer. Ross loves riding his bike and his wife and son (adopted from Vietnam) join him on tandems rides. They travel through the forests and local trials and participate in the local Gran Fondos and centuries in our area. Ross and his wife have marshaled for Levi’s Gran Fondo on their tandem for the last couple of years. Whatever the weather, Ross loves to ride, long or short trips, and there is always a challenge, a delight, or something new to enjoy…maybe an espresso and a sticky bun at the end….if the work has been hard enough!
When you join us on a tour, Ross is definitely a good source for the wines and for tackling some of our more fun and challenging hills, and he just might teach you a word or two in Setswana.
Cheers from California!