Cycling in Spain

Eat Sleep Cycle Chapter3 Launch

In Photos: A Busy Weekend at Eat Sleep Cycle!

By | Cycling, Cycling in Spain, ESC Explore, Girona, Lifestyle, News | 2 Comments

What a weekend!! Girona was buzzing with the launch of Chpt3 in the Eat Sleep Cycle Hub on Friday night, followed by the celebration of Eat Sleep Cycle’s anniversary with beautiful rides and a delicious cake on Saturday. Here’s our pick of our favourite photos from the event.

A huge thank you goes out to everyone who’s supported us over the last couple of years – it’s been one hell of a ride!

CHPT3 Launch, 9th November 2019

The fun began on Friday with the launch of CHPT3 in our Girona store; an innovative brand created in Girona by ex-professional cyclist David Millar. With a new collection inspired by the city itself we’re proud to work with Chpt3  and join together in showcasing the best of Girona’s culture and cycling.

Our very own Brian Canty & David Millar welcomed our guests, plied them with cava & beers and together we toasted to the partnership.

Thanks to photographer Phil Dawson for capturing the event:

Anniversary Ride, 10th November 2019

Saturday marked the celebration of our two year anniversary and we celebrated in the only way we know how: a big old bike ride!

One headed to our traditional destination of Mare de Deu del Mont on a gorgeous route totalling 120 km and 2,000 m. For those cyclists needing a little respite a gorgeous route 80 km to Esponella & La Mota was on offer, ably guided by the Godfather of Girona, Peter Gaskill.

The rides were finished off with cake (exquisitely baked by Silvia) and cava glugged from Eat Sleep Cycle bidons back at the Hub.

A huge thank you to those who came out to support the ride, to our volunteer guides, cake baker & to all sending their words of support on social media. May the terrible two’s commence!

Photos by: Phil Dawson & Marco Heemskerk

Thanks for reading, see you out on the road!

P.S. Join our Eat Sleep Cycle Club to get exclusive access to Club Member rides and rewards such as discounts on brands such as Assos and MAAP in The Hub!

Chapter 3 Girona Eat Sleep Cycle

CHPT3 x Eat Sleep Cycle

By | Cycling, Cycling in Spain, Girona, Lifestyle, News | No Comments

Partnerships are a major part of what we do at Eat Sleep Cycle and from the day we opened the doors of our first shop we’ve been linking arms and joining forces with some of the world’s best brands.

Cycling is booming and new brands appear every month. There’s no shortage of them and as retailers and distributors we’re spoilt for choice.

To use a pro cycling analogy, consider a World Tour manager looking for riders: there is an ocean of talent but you don’t pick the ones you want based solely on talent. You consider the package. You consider what that rider will do for you.

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team were asked by journalists in late 2015, ´why did you pick Lawson Craddock for your team next year´? I’m sure those journalists got their answer in July this year because his was the story of the Tour de France.

He put the spotlight on EF Education First-Drapac in a way 21 stage wins couldn’t have.

Back to branding and though we are spoilt for choice, how on earth do we decide who to pick or who to have in our store?

People ask us, why Ridley bikes? Why MAAP? Why Tactic? Why Rocacorba? Why Oakley? Why Factor?

The answer, broadly, goes like, “we want to work with brands who want to work with us”.

Brands who want to work with us obviously believe in us or else they wouldn’t bother. We say ´yes´ to those who share our Eat Sleep Cycle values of attitude, belief and commitment.

So back to bike racing and imagine we’re in a 200-rider peloton with everyone trying to get to the front for exposure.

The sport – and marketing – is built on that, remember. Get yourself seen and use others to leverage that.

EF Education First-Drapac made the least money from the Tour de France in prize-money this year. They made €14,420. Team Sky, in comparison, made €726,630.

Aside from naming the winner, most will struggle to say who finished second and third.

But I bet they all know who finished last? Yes, Craddock.

So anyway, we’re in the bike race, Eat Sleep Cycle, jostling with the others to show what we can do.

We’re relatively new to this game, so we’re up there sussing out who’s who, who’s doing what.

We feel so good and fresh that we want to get away, get up the road and show ourselves off to the world. But we need help to get away.

We’re looking for help, someone who’ll work with us and to get in the breakaway. We need others like us with attitude, commitment and belief. Those who believe in the power of working together.

When Ridley came to us last year with a genuine love for what we do, it was a no-brainer that we would work with them. When the guys from MAAP flew to Girona from Australia to get in our store, it made the decision very easy as well.

The same goes for the others. And tonight that list will grow a little longer when we hang CHPT3 on our rails and hold the official launch of their clothing in our store.

They’re keen to get into the break and we’re keen to have them work with us.

And here’s why. The CHPT3 brand is Girona. It’s cool, it’s quirky, it’s classy and it works for us.

Girona doesn’t work for everyone and CHPT3 definitely doesn’t work for everyone but it works for us and those who share our values.

It’s a city you’ll especially love if you love cycling, but you might get bored of it after a while. The same applies for CHPT3. You need to feel it.

Take the Backyard Base Layer with very subtle writings on it like TDM, SP and MMYA… Tossa de Mar, Santa Pelaia, Madremanya. Anyone who comes to Girona will fall for these places like we have. Another person might say it’s daft. That’s fine!

Creator of such a not-so-abstract concept is of course David Millar who recognises Girona is almost its own brand, and he did more than most to shape it into the place it is today.

“I came here 12 years ago because it was the perfect training base, we’ve since chosen to live here as a family and start a new life in this amazing place; it’s CHPT3 in more ways than one for us!

“I’ve witnessed Girona grow into the cycling capital of the world, so many people have arrived and businesses started in the past few years – Eat Sleep Cycle represent this new wave of enthusiasm, passion and professionalism better than anybody, and we’re over the moon they want to work with us and that together we have the same vision to help shape Girona and the Costa Brava into the world’s best cycling destination.

“It’s a journey we want to share together, and with anybody else who fancies joining us on the ride.”

We’re excited to see where this takes us at Eat Sleep Cycle! Come join us for the official launch tonight from 5pm at the Eat Sleep Cycle Hub.

All photos by CHPT3.

A Different Side of Catalunya - The Pirinexus 360 - Cycle Tour

The Pirinexus 360 – A Different Side of Catalunya

By | Cycling, Cycling in Spain, Intermediate Tours, Leisure Tours, Pyrenees | No Comments

Catalunya is well known for its road cycling pedigree by now, the droves of riders that frequent the roads around Girona are testament to that. But if you’re after a different way to explore the region then look no further than the Pirinexus 360. As the name suggests the route is a circular 360 km loop. From Girona, it heads north to Olot, Camprodon & France via the Pyrenees Mountains, before heading south and downhill to the Costa Brava, and looping back around to Girona. The route can be completed in either one monster chunk for the epic riders out there, or in smaller more leisurely rides taking in the beautiful towns and villages along the way.

The Pirinexus 360 Cycle Route

The Pirinexus route is divided into 7 stretches of distances between 22 and 73km and is designed to be completed in small segments in order to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and tranquillity of the off-road riding. The well-signposted route crosses through some of the most beautiful landscapes and charming villages Catalunya has to offer including the coastline of the Costa Brava and charming towns in the south of France.

Starting from Girona the route is best completed at a leisurely pace over 5 – 8 days to take full advantage of the varied and richly cultured towns and villages interposed throughout. So let’s break down the Pirinexus 360 route!

Girona – Olot

The first section is a 57 km stretch that sees you head north-west from Girona to the town of Olot, passing through three ‘comarcas’ and 12 towns and taking in the valleys of the Rivers Fluvià, Brugent and Ter. The first ‘comarca’ is Girones, heading out of the city towards the industrial towns of Salt and Bescanó and Bonmatí to the town of Anglès, which is home to a walled medieval town. The medieval town of Amer is the final town in the Girones comarca before the route enters the ‘Zona Volcanica de la Garrotxa’ of which Olot is the capital, an area of astonishing natural beauty and geological interest. As you pass through Sant Feliu de Pallerols you will be able to spot volcanic rocks parallel to the route. From here both the natural and man-made spectacles are in abundance, from a 9th century castle, to natural springs and gorges, sprawling valleys and beautiful churches.

Stay in:
– La Rectoria de Sant Miquel de Pineda, Sant Feliu de Pallerols
– Mas Rubio, Joanetes

Eat at:
– Les Cols, Olot
– La Rectoría offers a fabulous menu.

The Pirinexus 360 Cycle Tour - Girona - Olot

Olot – Camprodon

The shortness of this section of the Pirinexus 360 belies its difficulty, it is the hilliest section of the route with 900m of elevation but it is possibly the most beautiful.

From Olot the climbing begins straight away with the Coll de Coubet, a steady climb of around 9km, at the top the road plateaus to reveal fantastic views of the Pyrenees. From there the route takes a right along the rolling road to the Coll de Santigosa and beautiful comarca of El Ripollès. The route follows the road until the 12th Century Romanesque Church of Sant Pol and then crosses the Gothic bridge into Sant Joan Les Abadeses. From St Joan the tranquil lanes traverse the valley until Camprodon, a picture-postcard town populated mainly by the moneyed Barcelona second home owners and the 12th century Pont Nou bridge. Also home to the Birba biscuit factory, whose produce can be found in most shops in the area.

Stay in:
– Alberg Rural Ruta del Ferro, Sant Joan de les Abadesses
– Hotelet del Bac, Camprodon

Eat at:
– Mitic Restauraunt, Camprodon
– Ca ‘Enric Sant Joan

The Pirinexus 360 Biking Route - Olot - Camprodon

Camprodon – Ceret

It is on this section of the route that you will enter France for the first time. Leaving Camprodon, the juxtaposition of the contrasting cultures of medieval Catalunya and the low Pyrenees become apparent. The area is steeped in history with and a wealth of cultures and cuisines to sample. The views from the Coll d’Ares, which marks the border between Spain and France, are breath-taking and stopping to savour them before crossing into France is essential.

Ceret itself is known as the cherry capital and is also widely considered the home of the Cubism art movement so for art lovers a visit to the Museum of Modern art is a must.

Stay in:
– Hôtel Vidal, Céret

Eat at:
– L’Atelier de Fred Ceret

The Pirinexus 360 Cycling Tour - Camprodon - Ceret

Ceret – The Costa Brava

From Ceret the next point of interest is the communce of Le Boulou, where various remains of the old part of the village can be seen including an magnificent 832kg bell-tower, the ornately decorated Eglise Sainte-Marie and the statue ‘du petit tambour’ or little drummer boy which depicts the child mortally wounded in battle. Indeed this entire section of the route is peppered with plenty of historical interest and medieval, historical remains. The area is also known for having been at the forefront of the cork industry throughout the 20th century. Crossing the Coll de Panissars and back into Spain through La Jonquera, a town of dual interest as both a commercial and cultural centre the route eventually reaches Capmany – an integral location within the wine-making trade home to an array of cellars producing D.O Empordà wine.

Tasting Empordà wine is a must in this area, there are plenty of producers, many of whom offer tours of their vineyards and cellars with tastings. Following the river Llobregat from Capmany comes the town of Peralada which is steeped in history home to the ancient walled settlement of Ibers as well as a castle museum. A short detour from the route on this section of Pirinexus is Figueres a town perhaps most famous for being home to the Salvador Dalí museum dedicated to the surrealist painter who resided in the down. Those interested in nature will enjoy the Aiguamolls Natural Park which is home to an array of local bird life. Crossing the wooden bridge over the River Muga you will reach the coast and Empuriabrava, the largest residential marina in Europe. Following the coast down you will then reach the fishing town of L’Escala famous for its anchovies. Stop just north of the town for a luxurious evening by the Mediterranean.

Stay in:
– Hotel Spa Vilamint Garriguella,
– Hostal Empuries, L’Escala

Eat at:
– Hostal Empuries

Pirinexus 360 Bike Route - Ceret - Costa Brava

L’Escala – Girona

A large section of this segment runs parallel with the coast taking in the many towns of the Baix or ‘low’ Empordà region including Pals, where yet more medieval remains can be seen. Following on from Torrent is the area of the Gavarres Massif bordered by Palafrugell, a picturesque town characterised by an unfinished bell tower and the Modernist Tower of Can Mario, an old factory which has been converted into the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture. The coastal section comes to an end at the fishng town of Sant Feliu de Guixols, the route then heads north-west and is scattered with towns containing myriad medieval structures and remains before finally re-entering the Girones commarca. Through the corkwood forest comes the town of Lllagostera before crossing the fault lines which created the hot springs that are dotted in the area into Casa de la Selva. From the cork region comes the ceramic region and the town of Quart where a pottery museum can be accessed straight from the Via Verde before heading back to Girona.

Stay in:
– Hotel Alga****, Calella de Palafrugell
– Hotel Sant Pol, Sant Feliu de Guixols
– Hotel Ultonia, Girona
– Hotel Peninsula, Girona

Eat at:
– Calau, Palafrugell
– Massana, Girona

Pirinexus 360 Cycling Vacation - L'Escala - Girona

Tailored Pirinexus 360 Cycle Route

The Pirinexus route provides a fantastic vehicle by which to view an area rich in culture and history from the tranquillity of cycling-specific infrastructure free from traffic. Cycling the Pirinexus allows for a thorough exploration of the area which the road does not always provide and the accessibility of the roads and trails means that it can be enjoyed by riders of all abilities.

There are a myriad of ways to tailor your cycling tour of the Pirinexus like:

  • Luxury Leisure – Take as many days as you possibly can, stay in the best luxury hotels, enjoy gourmet food experiences. Enjoy the company of a private guide & the back up of a personal support vehicle.
  • Self-Guided Simplicity –Find your way along the trail at your perfect pace. Enjoy the freedom of a light bike and the luxury of luggage transfers – your bags will be waiting for you at your final destination.
  • Bikepacking Cycling Adventure – Go it alone with a GPS (or map and compass for a true adventure), and bike-pack your way to happiness. If you’re time-pressed, pack your tour into 3 or 4 days and up the pace on a lightweight bike, elegantly packed with all your gear.
  • Endurance Challenge – Did you know every year cyclists attempt to ride the whole 360 km loop in under 24 hours? Fancy it? Let us know and we’ll gladly support your valient attempt.

Tailored Pirinexus 360 Bike Route - Eat Sleep Cycle

Pirinexus 360 Cycle Tour

If you think that riding the Pirinexus route sounds like something you would like to take on then make sure to give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online for more info! We’re now accepting bookings for next season so make sure you secure your saddle now!

See more information about our Pirinexus Cycle Tour packages.

P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to receive notifications every time we post and get regular updates on our latest tours!

Gran Canaria Cycle Routes - A Cyclist's Paradise - Eat Sleep Cycle

Gran Canaria Cycle Routes – A Cyclist’s Paradise

By | Advanced Tours, Cycling, Cycling in Spain, Gran Canaria, Intermediate Tours | No Comments

Gran Canaria is truly a cyclist’s paradise. The largest of the Canary Islands looks like it was designed by road cyclists for road cyclists with its smooth tarmac, quiet roads, minimal rainfall and temperatures in the mid twenties year-round. The island is only 100km West of Morrocco and on the same latitude as the Sahara, but while there are sandy beaches in the South it’s no desert, Gran Canaria’s landscape is extremely diverse, from volcanic and barren to green vegetation depending on where you are on the island. It may not be home to the biggest, hardest or most iconic climbs but Gran Canaria has a lot to offer and certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to riding uphill (a compact is essential).

So why should your next European cycling holiday be in Gran Canaria? Take a look at our highlights and Gran Canaria cycle routes and see for yourself!

The Valley of the Tears

The most revered climb on the island is colloquially known as The Valley of the Tears, and you would be forgiven for turning on the waterworks after one glance at the stats: The climb is 11.8km long with an average gradient of 8% (bear in mind that this includes sections of descent), the maximum gradient is 25% and it’s likely to take the average punter at least one hour to complete. VOTT starts tough, with 25% gradients; so don’t attack the bottom too hard – you will need that power later on!

Gran Canaria Cycle Routes - The Valley of Tears

Puerto de Mogán

After you’ve wiped away the tears take a visit to the Porto de Mogan, known as the “little Venice of Gran Canaria”. The fishing Port is home to many hotels and restaurants and of course, the beach! Take some well-deserved post-ride recovery time on the beach followed by dinner with a sea view.

Pico de Las Nieves

The highest point on Gran Canaria and most commonly attacked from the town of Maspalomas, the climb up to Pico de las Nieves is a long one: 40km to be precise with an average gradient of 4.7%. The trick to getting through it is to break it up; the road lends itself to this as there are short descents interspersed throughout. With 11km to go after joining the GC600 comes the hardest part of the climb, the gradients steepen drastically. At this point you will have the top and the Roque Nublo (rock in the clouds),an ancient sacred monument, in sight.

A Perfect Winter Cycling Destination

Gran Canaria offers so many hidden gems and is simply somewhere that you must experience for yourself to believe. Deep winter is the perfect time to visit, when Northern Europe freezes dig out the summer bib shorts and basque in the wall-to-wall sun and perfect temperatures! Check out some top European winter cycling destinations here!

Gran Canaria Cycle Routes - Winter Cycling Destination - Eat Sleep Cycle

Gran Canaraia Cycling Vacation

If Gran Canaria sounds like your next European cycling vacation then take a look at our Gran Canaria ride camp tour – brand new for 2019! Give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online to find out more about a cycling tour to Gran Canaria!

P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to receive notifications every time we post and get regular updates on our latest tours!

Top European Winter Cycling Destinations To Avoid The Cold - Eat Sleep Cycle

Top European Winter Cycling Destinations To Avoid The Cold!

By | Advanced Tours, Cycling, Cycling in Spain, Epic Tours, Girona, Gran Canaria, Intermediate Tours, Leisure Tours, South Spain | No Comments

Winter is coming… but imagine you could avoid donning those woolly overshoes and rain jacket and chase the summer around the world, where would you go? Here are some of the top European winter cycling destinations for some winter sun in 2018/19!

Autumn/Early Spring Cycling Destinations

The first cycling destinations that we’re going to look at are the ones which are most suitable for Autumn or Early Spring. They are still perfectly acceptable destinations for deep winter, but you might need a few extra layers!

Best European Winter Cycling Destinations

Girona – The Pros’ Home

Maybe we’re biased but we think that Girona provides an amazing base for year-round riding. Autumn and early spring are key times of year as Northern Europe is under a chill but Girona’s climate remains temperate with very little rain. September – November is the perfect time to extend late summer by taking a cycling trip to the Catalan city and explore the place that so many pros call home. Girona also enjoys warmer weather from as early as February and March making it a perfect European winter cycling destination for when winter feels never-ending at home.

The golden combination of city, coast and mountains in Girona means that you can explore a plethora of terrain in one single ride. In addition, unlike many tourist locations it doesn’t completely shut up shop during winter as there are many locals and students living there. Take the perfect post-ride stroll through the old town to see the stunning Cathedral or visit one of the many excellent restaurants and cafes on offer. Access to Girona is also incredibly easy with the nearest airport a mere 12km away and the next closest, in Barcelona, is an hour’s train ride away.

Where to stay: in the old town, Hotel Ultonia, Hotel Historic.

Mallorca – The Original Cycling Mecca

The original cycling mecca, Mallorca has long seen sun-seeking cyclists making a pilgrimage to the island. Like Girona the best time to make a winter-sun getaway is September-November and February-March. In line with it’s Catalan counterpart Mallorca boasts a combination between coast and mountains meaning that the landscape is varied. Few riders will find the Mallorcan roads too challenging, there is a combination of flat and mountainous terrain alike meaning that riders of all abilities can enjoy what the largest of the Balearic islands has to offer.

One of the most popular rides on the island is to the Cap de Fortmentor lighthouse – the most northern point of the island, for nothing else if not a photo opportunity.  An ascent of the sinewy climb of Sa Colabra, by far the most famous climb on the island and one of the most well-known in the world is also essential. Off the bike there is plenty to see and do including visiting the capital, Palma.

Where to stay: Sóller, Pollença

Southern Portugal – The Same But Different

It’s no surprise that Portugal is growing in popularity as a location for cyclists considering the warm climate, rich history and excellent riding, not dissimilar to the already well-established Spanish locations in terms of climate, culture and cuisine. Those who are looking for something the same but different will love what Portugal has to offer.

In the past year the country has been awarded numerous tourism accolades and has firmly established itself as a European holiday destination. For cycling over the winter months the southern part of the island is the place to travel to for the warmer weather. Head to the Algarve coast in the south-west for a combination of flat coastal riding and in-land mountains. Away from the riding Portugal has many ancient medieval villages to explore as well as a rich variety of wine and seafood to taste.

Where to stay: Alentejo, Algarve

All Winter Cycling Destinations

The following destinations are ready to be explored all throughout the winter months without a leg-warmer in sight! The go-to locations for a mid-winter getaway or epic training camp these are the fail-safe, tried and tested all-winter cycling destinations.

Gran Canaria – Cycling Heaven

More than just a beach holiday destination, a visit to Gran Canaria by bike will leave you wondering if the island was actually designed by cyclists. Year-round temperatures of between 22 and 25 degrees, a mere 148mm of rainfall on average over 12 months, plenty of climbing and some of the smoothest tarmac you’ll ever ride on make it a cycling haven.

Likely due to this winning combination Gran Canaria cycle routes are a winter camp favourite of many a pro team in recent years. The landscape of Gran Canaria is uniquely stunning and diverse ranging from sparse and volcanic to lively and green. The climbs here can be steeper than the neighbouring Canary Islands meaning the riding is somewhat more challenging and varied – perfect training terrain. Those who aren’t all about pushing their limits on a cycling getaway can take advantage of recovery time on the many beautiful beaches the island has to offer.

Where to stay: Maspalomas, Cruz de Tejeda, central locations.

Southern Spain/Calpe – Sun & Smooth Tarmac

The Southern regions of Spain are a long-held favourite location of leisure cyclists and World-Tour teams alike. It’s no surprise that so many fly south for winter; Andalucía enjoys more than 320 days of sunshine a year and only 40 days of rain on average. Calpe and the surrounding area boasts a similarly temperate climate and is swarming with cyclists engaging in some winter training during the colder months.

The cycling in Southern Spain is like most good training locations – the area is very hilly, several climbs over 2,000m, good road surfaces and sparse traffic. The Calpe/Alicante area is known in summer as a haven for those seeking sun-soaked partying but in winter it attracts a very different kind of clientele who mix with the stalwart mahogany ex-pats. Cyclists flock to the region in search of sun and smooth tarmac, which they receive in abundance. As with the rest of Spain the draw is not only the fantastic riding but also the laid-back lifestyle and delicious food and drink on offer, re-fuelling with some delicious tapas and a cerveza is a must. Check here to see what cycling kit you’ll need for winter cycling in Southern Spain!

Where to stay: Mojacar, Calpe, Almería

European Winter Cycling Locations from Eat Sleep Cycle

Inspiring Winter Cycling Spots

Inspired? Each of the 5 winter cycling spots above give you the ability to indulge in a cycling tour or training session when it should be too cold to be enjoyable! Take a look at our winter camps to see how you can enjoy some cycling in the sun this winter. For more information or to find out about how we can tailor a winter trip to your needs email us on or contact us online!

P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to receive notifications every time we post and get regular updates on our latest tours!

Summit of Rocacorba

Classic Climbs of Girona #5: Rocacorba

By | Advanced Tours, Cycling in Spain, Epic Tours, Girona | No Comments

20 km from Girona on a nondescript road in the outskirts of the town of Banyoles, overlooking the sparkling blue lake is the mountain of Puigsou, also known as the climb of Rocacorba. Once a well-kept secret amongst those in the know and only fully paved in 2006 it is now arguably one of the most infamous climbs in the Girona area and one of the first places people head to when visiting the city on two wheels.

Like many of the climbs in Girona the popularity of Rocacorba comes not from its association with huge grand tours and TV coverage but from a slowly built up reputation amongst the professionals who live and have lived here, perhaps none quite so much as David Millar, who founded the Velo Club Rocacorba. As the number of riders in Girona both amateur and professional continues to expand the so-called ‘secrets’ of the area become less so and Rocacorba is no exception.

The fact that the proverbial cat is well and truly out of the bag with regards to Rocacorba is no surprise, the location itself carries enough of an appeal. Banyoles is worth riding to in itself, simply to soak in the beauty of the lake and surrounding area. In addition to its location, part of Rocacorba’s appeal is the challenge of the climb itself, there are few climbs in the area that begin to match it for the gradient and length. When you take the full 14 km into account the average gradient of 5.6% is laughably deceptive and hides the brutal reality of slopes of up to 15% for long periods. However, take the climb as 10 km, starting from the stone bridge over the Matamors river, cutting out the flatter bottom section and the average gradient is a far less forgiving 7%.

How to get a quick time up Rocacorba

But it’s not all just one big wall, the key to climbing Rocacorba in a quick time is to hit the gas on the few interspersed flat sections against your legs’ better wishes. Once the red and white radio masts come into view you can be reassured that the top is near, but don’t get too comfortable, as some of the hardest slopes are within the final few kilometres.

Don’t miss: Rocacorba Food Truck

But, not all of Rocacorba is pain and suffering – alright, most of it is – but the addition in June 2017 of the Rocacorba Food Truck situated 1.5 km from the summit and open every weekend means that the effort required to reach it can be rewarded by delicious local food and drinks. The Food Truck was founded on the concept of passion for mountain sports and local produce and it’s well worth making sure you plan your visit to Rocacorba to be at the weekend to make sure you catch it. Before stopping for a well-earned snack, however, climb the remaining kms to see the stunning views from the top and sit with your legs dangling off the hang gliding ramp feeling on top of the world. There’s only one way up and down so you’ll be going past on the descent anyway.

Want to take on Rocacorba yourself?

No cycling trip to Girona is complete without an ascent of Rocacorba. To experience the challenge of Rocacorba yourself why not sign up to our Girona Experience tour or simply visit The Hub to rent one of our Ridley Bikes and book a local guide to show you the way.

For more information Rocacorba Food Truck visit their Facebook or follow them on, Instagram and don’t forget to check out their jersey’s and tee’s in our Eat Sleep Cycle Girona Hub.

Thanks to Bike Office Espana, Tomas Montes @arriere_du_peleton, Rocacorba Food Truck & Sergi Mas de Xaxars @de_xaxars for the fabulous photos.

Vuelta vs Tour de France

Is the Vuelta better than the Tour? Here’s 6 Reasons Why We Think It Is

By | Cycling in Spain, Tour de France, World Tour | 2 Comments

It’s late summer in Europe, the season is drawing to a close, the classics are a distant memory, the excitement of the Giro and the Tour are behind us and something needs to fill the void: step forward La Vuelta a España. However, La Vuelta is more than just the poor relation to the other grand tours; Spain provides a fantastic landscape for cycling. Here’s why we think La Vuelta is better than it’s Gallic counterpart:

1. It’s Unpredictable:

A mix of those for whom luck or form wasn’t on their side at the Tour and are seeking that missing win, those searching form for the world championships and young guns itching to show off their ability makes for explosive racing. There have been 8 different winners of La Vuelta in the past 10 years, which is a testament to the variety of the racing.

2. The Parcours:

There’s no such thing as a siesta in La Vuelta! The Vuelta is known for being the preferred parcours of the climbers for good reason: shorter, punchier stages make for aggressive and exciting racing. Those who cured their insomnia during the 200 km+ formulaic sprint stages of the Tour can expect no such rest from it’s Spanish counterpart. Only one stage of the 2018 Vuelta is over 200 km in length and there are also 9 summit finishes to look forward to. Stage 20, up to the Coll de la Gallina in Andorra, looks to be the deciding stage with 4,000 metres of ascent in just 105.8 km.

3. Crazy new climbs:

Of the aforementioned 9 summit finishes in this year’s race 3 are brand new, the first is on Stage Four in the form of the 16 km long La Alfaguara climb in the Sierra de Huétor Natural Park. Next comes Les Praeres de Nava on Stage 14: 4.7 km at a grueling 13.5% average which is sure to get the pure climbers out of the saddle off the front. Lastly, the conclusion of Stage 17 will feature the debut of Balcon de Bizkaia after 166.5 km through the Basque Country.

4. Riders are more accessible:

La Vuelta’s marginally lower profile coupled with Spain’s rather more chilled attitude to life means that riders are not fielded around in such a tightly controlled environment compared to the Tour, which is good news for media and spectators alike as it makes contact with riders at the start and finish areas more accessible meaning chatting to riders and getting the obligatory selfie is easier…

5. The weather!

The Spanish late summer weather is perfect for both racing and spectating. The oppressive heat of mid-summer has dissipated but autumn cold is yet to draw in. If the Giro is known for adverse weather affecting the outcome and the Tour for its scorching July heat then the weather at the Vuelta is barely newsworthy when it comes to the race as you can expect middle-ground temperatures and sunshine. That being said look out for any Pyrenean and Basque stages where weather is never dependable!

6. Emerging riders

Younger riders who have performed well throughout the season are generally given a chance to prove themselves over three weeks at the Vuelta meaning we get to see the potential future stars in action. These riders also generally light up the race as they are keen to ride aggressively and justify their place on the roster.

Like the sound of the Vuelta climbs? Here’s how to ride them with Eat Sleep Cycle:

  • La Gallina, Andorra – get up close and personal with the riders on our Vuelta Tour this September
  • Les Praeres – a feature in our Trans-Asturias epic.
  • The Balcon of Bizkaia – check out our soon to be released Tour of the Basque Country

Liked this blog? Subscribe to receive weekly updates & don’t miss our Vuelta Series coming at you from the end of August.

Cycling in Spain Top Destinations

Top 10 Must Ride Cycling Destinations in Spain

By | Advanced Tours, Cycling, Cycling in Spain, Epic Tours, ESC Explore, Girona, Gran Canaria, Intermediate Tours, Leisure Tours, Picos de Europa, Pyrenees, South Spain | No Comments

There’s much more to cycling in mainland Spain than sunshine and smooth roads. From the highest paved road in Europe (Pico de Veleta in the Sierra Nevadas) to the green countryside of the País Vasco, Spain’s vast and diverse landscape will have you begging for new adventures. Be sure to tick off these cycling destinations from your bucket list.

1. Girona

There is no doubt that Girona is the cycling capital of Europe. Home to hundreds of professionals, the old town has a charm that is hard to not fall in love with. Riding is the perfect mix of flat, rolling countryside and some challenging climbs in the foothills of the Pyrenees. If you want character, culture and good food alongside high-quality cycling, look no further than Girona.

2. Andalucia

South Spaniards are very laid back (and who can blame them in the roasting temperatures of the Summer). But visit Andalucia from October through to May and you’ll have a spring in your pedal stroke. The rustic towns of Antequera & Ronda both provide a great base to ride from and are easily accessed from Málaga airport.

3. ‎Picos de Europa

Hugely underrated, the Picos de Europa or “Peaks of Europe” were named by Columbus for being the first mountains he saw on his return from America. They are beautiful rock formations comparable to the Dolomites. Don’t miss Lagos de Covadonga, a stunning series of lakes over 1,000 m up in the sky. Puerto de San Gloria is a hidden gem of a climb that will leave you wanting to find more “off the radar” climbs and there are plenty of those in the area.

4. ‎Cantabria

Los Machucos was the climb which sparked rider protests in the 2017 Vuelta España. It’s brutal kicks are rewarded by stunning rural views all the way up. Cantabria is home to many other feature climbs of the Vuelta such as the Peña de Carbaga and Puertos Alisas & Ason. There’s no wonder that when the Vuelta reaches Cantabria things get exciting.  Close proximity to Santander & Bilbao is helpful for logistics but you are better off avoiding the big cities and staying out in the lovely countryside.

5. ‎Sierra Nevada’s

You are just as likely to see a skier in the Sierra Nevadas as you are a cyclist. Often used for altitude training by professional cyclists, you’ll need your climbing legs on because it’s up or down with not much flat! There are plenty of authenticly Spanish places to choose to stay in the region, from the cultural hub of Granada to tiny villages in the mountains.

6. ‎Asturias

Oviedo is a bustling city with all the culture of Asturias and its wonderful food, friendly people and interesting architecture. Ride for just 5 km south and you meet what can only be described as a theme park for cyclists. Scores of short steep climbs scattered over several valleys, the Big One being the Angliru. Often stated as the hardest climb in cycling its something every cyclist should do, but just once.

7. ‎Basque country

With its own language and Spanish-Basque and French-Basque regions, the Basque country is a mixing pot of cultures which creates the best food in the world. Rolling green hills line the distance with characteristic white and red chalets. It’s a treat on the eyes and lushness that of course warrants some occasional rainfall, typical of the north Spain area. Whilst the climbs are not long, some are steep so you can easily rack up plenty of climbing metres over a days ride.

8. Costa Brava

The Costa Brava runs from France down to Blanes (a town just northeast of Barcelona). It’s one of the most unspoilt coastlines in Spain, with no billboards or high rises to distract from the jaw-dropping views. Easily accessible from Girona and coastal towns like Begur and the more popular Tossa de Mar, the winding and hilly road that hugs the coastline provides hours of sun-kissed enjoyment. Whilst traffic is never that bad, in the winter you’ll be lucky to stumble across other cyclists, let alone cars.

9. ‎Calpe

Whilst Calpe is not the most charismatic cycling location in Spain, it makes it onto the top ten list due to its popularity for training camps with professional teams. Miles in the sun on smooth roads are sometimes all people look for and this is a good place for that, with affordable hotels plentiful. Test your legs on the likes of the Cumbre del Sol and the Col de Rates.

10. Andorra

In at number 10 (because it’s technically its own country and not actually in Spain) the tax haven of Andorra is packed with slopes to delight the most hardened of cyclists. Every year Andorra hosts La Purito, the toughest sportive in Europe, and thousands flock to attempt 5,200 meters of elevation in one painful ride. Andorra is best enjoyed over 2 or 3 days (or 1 if you’re feeling sadistic). Must ride climbs are La Gallina, Collada de Beixalis, Col D’Ordino, La Rabassa and Els Cortals D’Encamp.

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