A Bicycle Proposal – Climbing Mare de Due del Mont

By August 12, 2015Lifestyle

Once upon a fine Girona Saturday Lee and I decided to go for a bike ride.

We put on our matching Lycra and piled on the sun-cream. We were heading to Mare de Due del Mont – a lovely long climb around 50 km from the city. The route was beautiful and we swept along quiet smooth roads under a huge overcast sky. It was refreshingly cool, clouds covered the sun and there was very little wind –  it was the perfect day for a bike ride.

The route we had planned tried to send us onto gravel tracks (o for a mountain bike!) which we were keen to avoid. However after a large detour through Banyoles we decided a few hundred meters off road would be fun and necessary to get to where we needed to be. We attempted to pedal up a stony track but when it turned downhill I gave up and opted for walking. Lee was waiting at the bottom as I slid down in my carbon soles (not the ideal footwear!)

Gravel

Gravel

Back on the road we swept down a lovely descent nodding (with big grins on our faces) at cyclists plodding their way up on the other side of the road. 18 km from the summit of our mountain goal Lee could hold back no longer and sped off up the road in pursuit of the KOM (King of the Mountain for the non-Strava initiated) I settled into a nice rhythm and the road angled upwards. The road was like a little Kentish country lane, only with a better surface,no traffic, more Spanish-looking shrubbery and a mountain in the distance. I felt like I was climbing to the middle of nowhere; all I could hear was the sound of my wheels on tarmac and occasional chirping from the bushes. Beautiful!

The gorgeous thing about the climbs here are that they seem to exist purely for the sake of it and don’t ever really go anywhere – you ride up just to come back down the way you came. This climb was no exception. The name of the mountain, Mare de Due del Mont, translates as ‘Mother of God of the Mountain’, and it’s known (on Wikipedia anyway) as the ‘Gate of the Pyrenees’.

The mountain slowly ramps up so that the nearer the top you climb the steeper it gets until you’re out the saddle, sweating onto your top tube (attractive), pushing the granny gear and hauling the bike from side to side in an effort to keep going. It’s quite nice in these situations when you have no clue how much longer the road goes up. I thought I must be getting there, rounded a corner and boom. The top!! Except the top was still a good few kilometers with steep hairpins away. I thought of Lee, no doubt up there enjoying the view, and plodded on.

Finally… the last hairpin! The road clung to the side of the mountain, all of Spain seemed spread out beneath it. I spotted Lee in the distance. I lifted a hand to wave and mustered the last of my energy to push to the summit. Lee was on one knee and as I pedaled closer I saw he was holding a small black box and grinning from ear to ear. In the box was a beautiful engagement ring with three diamonds set on a white gold band. It was all so beautiful and crazy and surreal!

I couldn’t really talk – a mix of the affects of the mountain + marriage proposal = mess!

Engaged!!

Engaged!!

We drank coffee on the terrace of a lovely bar/chapel/restaurant, we took pictures – see my lovely Lee below:

Lover boy on Mare de Deu del Mont

Lover boy on Mare de Deu del Mont

And then we rode home grinning via beautiful Catalan towns like this:

Feeling like a lyrca-princess at Besalu

Feeling like a lyrca-princess at Besalu

So that’s me for now – I’m all loved up in Girona, sporting some splendid new jewelry and planning a wonderful sunshiny future with a very speedy, handsome man of my dreams. Life is very good indeed!

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