I’ve been in Girona for 5 whole days now. I’m acclimatising.
Life has been a warm sticky blend of bike rides, too much time staring at the wall opposite the loo, romantic dinners, ice-cream, cleaning, pro-cyclist spotting, embarrassed exchanges in Spanish and more bike rides.
I’m sat in our freshly cleaned apartment (I’ve just had a marathon cleaning session to cuban salsa music), there’s a lovely warm breeze blowing in through the balcony (yes, balcony!) doors and my legs are resting from their 332 kilometers of pedalling done so far.
This is 332 km despite a nice dose of arrival diarrea (note the Spanish pronunciation there – I learnt how to say diarrea in front of lots of people at the local pharmacy) which knocked me out for 24 hours pretty much the day after I arrived. Lovely. Before that I managed to fit in a ride with the local Bike Breaks group – a healthy blast around some smaller climbs in the sunshine (quite pleasant sun at this point) and a nice coffee stop.
The day after was spent crashed out on the sofa and/or staring aimlessly at the toilet wall.
The day after that Lee set off on an epic 200 km ride to the Pyrenees and back. I settled for an exceptionally gentle spin to a town called Banyoles, which has a lovely lake with a bar next to it. I sat on the jetty and ordered a cafe con leche (ooh more Spanish!) To my horror a nice Spanish man who worked there started talking to me. I managed a token response in Spanish before he happily switched to English. He was moving hundreds of chairs around after he had moved them all the night before for a concert which was duly cancelled because of the rain. Sucks to be him! Although he looked pretty happy about the situation.
Both feeling pretty pooped from our respective experiences, the next day we opted for a lovely relaxing spin to the beach. 40km out, 40km back. Flat. It should have been perfect but for the ridiculous wind. I glued myself to Lee’s back wheel, stuck my head down and tried not to whinge (not very successful by the end!) This was not what I had signed up for! The beach was in full tourist-holiday-packed glory. We lasted a couple of hours, went for a dip in the sea and hung out with the lovely Dave and Saskia who run Girona Bike Breaks (take a peak at their website, they’re awesome!)
We were so ruined by the sun and wind that when we made it home we decided to have a lovely relaxing meal on the roof terrace and watch the sun go down:
The next morning I thought I’d attempt my first ever proper Girona training ride. Lee had made me a lovely looking 90km loop with a climb halfway called San Marti. I started off easy knowing it was going to be a hot one, although at the start it was a pretty pleasant 25 degrees. As I pedalled it got hotter and hotter and as I hit the climb my garmin was showing 35 degrees. 35 DEGREES. It was evil! My whole body was limp and I crawled up at what felt like slower than walking pace.
At the top there was a toilet, a closed bar and some recycling bins. Lovely. Oh, and the splendid view. I stuck my head under the tap in the loo and tried to cool down. Water bottles empty it was time to descend back the way I had come (the road seems to stop at the top too, see pic) Halfway down there was a lovely water fountain by the side of the road. So picturesque, and so full of water!! Joy!! Alas! The fountain was swarming with bees! Not wanting to get stung as well as borderline heat stroke I clambered back on the bike and headed away.
The sun hadn’t done it’s worst yet. I filled up with water at a supermarket in the town and glugged a can of coke (I never drink coke, it really was hot!) With the climb done I was over halfway on my loop. 40 km to go! I put as much effort through the pedals as I thought I could sustain and watched the temperature inch up. The highest it registered was 40 degrees. 40 DEGREES!!!
I made it back to Girona, promptly got lost trying to find the flat during a garmin-white-out (always happens when you don’t know where you are) but finally made it back. Epic. I couldn’t speak much when Lee came back from work and did my best impression of a Zombie-Girlfriend.
That brings me up to today, filled so far with a lovely cool morning ride, pro-spotting (1 Orica-Green-Edge, 2 pro-looking women in blue..) and the cleaning mission. Soon to be filled with an evening stroll along the old town wall..
Adios chicos y chicas!