I spent months trying to figure out if my first Epic Sardinia would have been too challenging and if would have turned into an unpleasant or even a nightmare trip. I've spent the tour watching riders to see if they were suffering too much and cursing me on the climbs. At the end of the trip the big smiles made me feel like the rockstar of tour design!
And yes, they were actually cursing me!
"Hi Giovanni, can you organize some nice and challenging rides for me and my friends in late September?"
This is the message I got from our English friend James many years ago and that started Epic Sardinia. At that time all the bike tours sold in Sardinia - including some of ours - were leisure or mid-level. We had no convenance - in our minds - to work to an hard selling product. But we had an already formed group and therefore no need to sell it. That gave me the freedom to design the tour I would do myself.
We ran the trip, had a great time, stayed overnight in the same accommodations we would have chosen ourselves, and stopped at the same bars along the way we'd stop by.
The experience was so much fun that we decided to put the tour on the website. After all - we thought - the work had been done, plus we had taken some great pictures for the website.
The surprise was that the tour, designed without any regard for commercial outcome, began to gather interest and registrations since the very first official edition in 2014. After 2014 we still enjoy redesigning the trip every two years, and we look forward to leading it. And we still get asked - on the last day of the EPic week - "when will the next Epic be and where will it start?"
This experience taught us a lesson that is still our inspiration: design the tours you would never get tired of. Afterwards, you will find the best logistics to make them work.
Following this rule, after each Epic (and not only), we had no more clients, only friends. Epic created an incredible number of friends from all over the world, with stable connections and a cultural exchange that made our lives so much more exciting.
We don't really want to throw away a successful itinerary, for this reason from 2022 forward we'll make the past Epic editions available as self guided tour, private or supported. While we keep only the new itinerary as an annual - full assisted - event.