A dual Swiss and Italian citizen, Vanessa Drigo grew up in Switzerland in the French-speaking region of La Tour-de-Peilz, spending her vacations in her father’s homeland of Italy. As a young adult, she moved to California, where she lived for 17 years while also spending several months at a time during the summers racing mountain bikes in northern Italy. Most recently, she moved to Colombia, where she lives in a coffee-growing region, among vibrant green hills and mountains – incredible biking country for those who like climbing!
Vanessa says she has been biking “forever” – first for commuting (she used to “race” to the train station on her bike to catch the train to work) and later for fun and for travel. She caught the racing bug from her father, who started racing mountain bikes in Italy in his 60s. Cycling quickly became Vanessa’s chief passion. “Mountain bike or road, it doesn’t matter as long as I have fun on trails, traveling, or racing,” she says. Traveling by bike with her father remains one of Vanessa’s favorite things to do when not guiding, along with bike racing and hiking in the Andes with friends. She returns to the US in every spring to complete in criterium racing all over the country.
Although new to Ciclismo in 2013, Vanessa spent seven years working for a California-based cycling tour company, guiding groups in California, France, Italy, and Switzerland, and managing tour logistics and guides. She particularly enjoys helping her guests gain a better understanding of and appreciation for other cultures. Her favorite places to cycle incude the Dolomites, the road around Lake Geneva from Montreux to Lausanne, and the mountains near the city of Armenia in Colombia. Given her international tastes and background, perhaps it’s not surprising that she once had a job working for a spy for the Swiss government!