The Calçotada is an annual event in Catalunya where friends and family get together to eat barbecued calçots (large spring onion like vegetables) dipped in a delicious tomato sauce, known as Romesco sauce. Legend has it the calçotada originated in Valls, a small Catalan town 100 km south of Barcelona.
Brian had a vision of an Eat Sleep Cycle crew feasting on calçots from a bbq in Valls and set out to make that happen. There is little that can stop this man when he has an idea; We were to sleep a night near Barcelona, enjoy the festival and somehow find our way back from Valls to Girona, all in a weekend. True Eat Sleep Cycle style.
In the end, bad weather (yes, it very occasionally rains here) and people’s schedules forced us to shorten it to one day. But that wouldn’t dampen Brian’s spirits for “a grand day” (that’s Irish for a great day). So he found another traditional restaurant in a faraway place that we could, just about, reach from Girona in one day, by bike.
On Sunday the group gathered outside the Eat Sleep Cycle HQ and the excitement built for the day’s proceedings. With anticipation of the ride ahead and hunger already building, we rolled out of town together and split into 2 groups below the sun-soaked sky. I took the faster group over St Hilari, a stunning local climb, 22km in length. Louise led the other group up a more manageable 5km ascent to Osor.
There, the fun really began. We hopped off our bikes and into a 4×4 jeep which transported us up a waterlogged dirt track into the sky. Hugging the edge of the trail we wound up out of the forest and a magnificent building came into view as if heaven itself!
To our surprise, the restaurant was filled with smiling families all tucking into their calçots. When the flood of food came there was complete silence, until it was all gone.
Meanwhile, closer to sea level, Brian was helping 3 of our guests find their way back to Girona for a rapidly-approaching flight home! They too had a feast made possible by the amazing people of Osor.
As the sun lowered it was time for the Dakar rally ride back down the hill and to get back on the bike for a TT home, with the sun dipping behind us.
We rode 100Km with 1200m climbing, took an off-road jeep ride, ate a spectacular 3-course Catalan lunch and had a laugh the entire day.
Brian had driven many kiolometres, solved problems ranging from a cross-threaded crank to over-charging rally driver and still had the enthusiasm to go around personally delivering people’s ride bags late into the evening.
It was a truly epic and magnificent Eat Sleep Cycle Big Day Out made possible by one very special man.