Zander Ault and Heidi Rentz are proficient in adventure.
Whether biking, trail running or swimming in alpine lakes, they celebrate an active lifestyle. And as co-founders of The Cyclist's Menu, they use this proficiency to bring people together in beautiful places.
Heidi's professional cycling career and Zander's background in agriculture serve as the catalyst for The Cyclist's Menu. Based in Tucson, Arizona, with camps in the United States and abroad, their business connects people to unique locations by exploring shared experiences.
"For the most part, we just follow our heart and read the signs on country roads."
What has exploring different landscapes taught you about yourself and your creative and professional process?
I feel like what we do at The Cyclist’s Menu is more like an open canvas than anything else. Our team are artists, we are athletes who believe in sharing the beauty of a life well lived versus a certain style or way of doing things.
How is the cyclist’s menu different than your typical destination experience?
We are a destination experience for people looking to ride long miles and eat really well. As a result, many go home with a massive ‘training’ block under their belt. However, The Cyclist’s Menu exists to share a placed based perspective of Southern Arizona with our guests. Anyone can ride their bike in this world. However, it’s rare to really get to know a place through food and those who work, each day, to make it their home.
"We go with as many locally sourced, seasonally specific and regionally produced products as possible."
Can you share a favorite moment from one of your biking adventures?
Recently, we had a group of riders join us from New York City. Imagine a group of New Yorker’s landing in Tucson, AZ, jumping in a van and heading even farther south to a small town called, Patagonia, AZ. 26 miles from the border of Mexico. Needless to say, they were a little out of their element.
On day 3, during a quiet moment in the San Rafael Valley, one of our guests turned and stated how incredibly thankful he was for the opportunity to be at Gravel Camp. The silence, solitude and no frills of it all, impacted him so greatly he began to cry. It was a moment we will never forget and will remind us that what we do is life changing, each and every day.
Where do you source your ingredients for cooking while on the road?
We have a process of looking for certain foods while on the road and in new places. Many towns have co-op style markets that source as locally as possible. If this is the case in an area we’re operating in, we look there first. But, for the most part, we just follow our heart and read the signs on country roads.
How do you decide what to cook for your rides? Do you have a particular ingredient you are exploring at the moment?
We go with as many locally sourced, seasonally specific and regionally produced products as possible. We have stopped purchasing much of anything in a typical grocery store setting. When it comes down to it, we serve what we can find.
What advice or training tips would you give to someone who is new to the cycling experience?
Never buy a bike without riding it for a few days. One thing that’s great about a cycling camp, is you can typically demo a bicycle that’s set for that experience. We host Gravel Camps, so our demo fleet is meant to be ridden on gravel and dirt roads and they’re some of the best on the market for that specific purpose. Also, forget about those around you and ride your bike the way you want to ride. This will help you gain confidence in yourself and provide the time for you to find the right group to learn from. Once you have found that group of friends, challenge yourself amongst them on your different adventures and ask questions.
Words – Kieley Kimmel
Photos – Will Freihofer