Updated: Oct 10, 2019
For years I have heard people say that Girona is the capital of cycling in Spain. This is normally said by people who have heard about your amazing trip to Mallorca and immediately dismiss it as not being as good as Girona. Then they usually bang on about the fact it's where all the pros live and the fact you can practically ride every day with one of them and it's the home of great coffee blah blah. Honestly, this has put me off going, but recently enough sensible people have told me I would love it, to persuade me to go. I mentioned it randomly to a mate from Lanterne Rouge, Trevor, who immediately said: "I'm in". The fact that I had no details of when, how or how much didn’t seem to bother him. Nor the fact that he had no holiday time left this year. Anyway to skip forward a month and miss out the sad details of losing our Thomas Cook flights.....off we went We arrived at 8pm and went straight to a bar called Hors Category recommended by a friend from back home. He was in the bar with friends. FFS. We flew all the way to Girona to have a beer with two blokes from RLSCC, a cycling club two miles away from our own. In all seriousness, it was good to see them and get tips on our plans for the weekend.
Day One proper started with an excellent breakfast at Federal, followed by hassle free collection of hire bikes from Eat, Sleep, Cycle and Girona Cycle Centre. Within no time at all we off and meandering around the city trying to find the way out. I enjoyed this because it was Trevor's Garmin on the fritz not mine and he was leading. While he was getting annoyed I wanted to remind him of his frequently quoted mantra of 'Lead, Follow or Fuck Off', but I thought better of taking the piss out of the bloke who owned the back wheel I needed for the day. Our route was taking us south to the coast. It was a pleasant 25 degrees and 35km of virtually traffic free roads to Tossa del Mar, where we stopped for an early and entirely undeserved lunch. We clearly stopped for too long though as my legs felt like lead when we restarted and immediately hit hills to get out of town. This was just the precursor to a 5km climb that averaged 6% but rose to 14% just before the top. Having been warned in advance to leave me alone, Trevor duly rode next to me in silence all the way up, while I retreated to my own hurt box and tried to keep pedalling. Part of me was grateful for the company, part said he was taking the piss by making it look so easy. But he's not the kind of bloke, so I accepted his support and the fact he didn't try to encourage me with bullshit on the way up. He said nothing except to whisper (literally) "this is nearly the top" with 200m to go. Once over the top, we had a steady ride back, except when my ego got the better of me and we pushed very hard to drop some American wheelsuckers* near to home. A quick beer in Hors Category again was followed by a 90 minute tour of the old city with a local guide for a little bit of culture. Beer. Pizza. Bed. Tomorrow will be much tougher as we will climb the pros favourite local mountain, Mare de Deu del Mont. *cheeky f*ckers. Get on the front and do your turn. Don't sneak up behind and sit in silence.
Guest blog from Trevor
This is my first Blog - so apologies for it not being as polished as Paul’s Riding again in Spain - oh sorry Catalonia - reconfirms how cars and bikes should co-exist in harmony - you wave to say thanks for waiting behind - they wave back - as they pass you slowly and widely to say thanks for waving - mutual respect. I love riding by the sea and today was simply stunning - stopping for tapas and a “small” beer with a sea view - simply magic On the return, we passed a group of Americans from the same hire shop I got my wheels from and as we passed I said “look same bikes - snap” now I don’t know if that was misinterpreted, but we soon had 2 of the Sherman Tanks in tow - wheel sucking - so I said to Paul - “is it hammer time - chow chow” We were pushing along at 45kmph (whatever that means) when one of the Sherman’s tyres went pissshhhh - yeh, we can now have a more relaxed spin back to town. Arriving in town with 58.5 miles done - shall we go find the remaining 1.5 miles or find a beer - “BEER” - I hear Paul shout - that didn’t take much persuading. Overall a great day out. Thought of the day - “this is what we go to work for” Observation of the day - apparently they have locked up the people who were responsible for (a referendum) trying to get Independence for Catalonia - uuummmmmm now there’s an idea.