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Meet Elena Spalenza

Posted on Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Story by: cierra | Travel Writer

Inside the life of a biking, skiing, climbing, kitesurfing, wine-drinking, pasta-loving VBT trip leader.

Elena isn’t in a rush. She sits inside her summer home—a Volkswagen California camper van—on the beach in Tuscany as she prepares to go kitesurfing. Wearing blue jeans and a faded green T-shirt, she radiates positivity as she puts a pair of sunglasses atop her silver-streaked, wind-curled hair. Speaking with an Italian accent that exemplifies her local roots, she recalls her first memory of biking: “I was a little girl, and I just remember grabbing a wrench and taking off my training wheels.” It sums up her life today—as she spends winters in the mountains of France skiing and summers by the sea in Italy biking.

Meet Elena Spalenza


Her shoulder is sore from a shaky landing on a ski jump this winter but she laughs it off and mimics the fall with her hands. “I’m very instinctual, at the moment jumping seemed like the only thing to do.” She explains that the best part of the VBT tours is meeting all the new people.

“I’m very attracted to people who have passion for something. Passion will always take you somewhere.”

When I ask her about her bike, she replies, “Which one?” She currently has five and talks endearingly about each one. “Each has its own purpose. This—[points to her Fuji Supreme road bike] is my therapist—when I go for long-distance rides I work on my mind—it’s in those moments you can just turn off your mind and be free.”

Asked if she has a favorite VBT memory, she laughs, “When you work with new people week to week, every moment is different…I should write a book.” Well, we know we’d read it. 

Book a trip in the Dolomites and meet Elena in Italy.


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