Summer’s here! A Tribute to the Tour of Flanders

By April 4, 2016 No Comments

On the same day that Lizzie and Peter were smashing it in Flanders and winning Lee and I were also battling cross winds (they were pretty strong!) and cobbled climbs (well, one) on our epic (well, fun) ride to Tossa de Mar.

Today was a day of rest and recuperation. Lee had smashed his training the day before and his legs needed a rest. I’m recovering from hitting my seatbone on my crossbar last week (yep, I was trying to beat my Dad in the sprint for the Newchurch village sign and it went a bit wrong) The only positive of not being able to race the GP Dottingnies is that Lee and I got to spend a day together in the sunshine.

We decided on a leisurely start and after a few coffees and a browse of the Cyclist mag we set off under an overcast sky. The wind felt ominously strong just winding our way out of old town. Soon we had pedalled up and out of Girona and were spinning comfortably along to Fornells de la Selva. I say comfortably, I soon unashamedly tucked in behind Lee and hid from the wind. This was all part of my coccyx rehabilitation after all.

The clouds were speeding fast above us and, joy of joys, we could see blue sky near the coast. We calculated that by the time we got to Tossa de Mar and had eaten a sandwich and had a coffee, the sun would be on us.

The ride to the seaside winds through some quiet country lanes, past rural restaurants and the occasional field of donkeys. Crossing the main road there was traffic backed up around the roundabout – a sure sign that summer tourist traffic was beginning. But our road was blissfully traffic free and populated only by the occasional group of cyclists.

At Llagostera we noticed we were following a route for a sportive and  we soon found ourselves mopping up the back markers of the event. It was a bit awkward and there were guys on a moped filming them with a go pro. I tried not to look to pleased with myself that I could finally pedal past people on a climb again (even if they were at the back-end of an epic ride)

Finally – Tossa de Mar! We hit the seaside, found a bench in the sun and pulled a baguette out of our jersey pockets. Yum. We pedalled up a little cobbled climb that leads up to the castle, a bar, and the most spectacular view of the med I’ve yet to find. Pure unadulterated sea spread out below us as we sipped a hugely overpriced coffee (it was just about worth it for the view).

Coffee digested, we bumped back down the cobbles and to the ‘secret’ beach tucked away at the back of the old town. It was nice and quiet. It was just about sheltered from the wind and the sun had come out as planned. With no excuses left to give each other, we took our swimwear out of our jersey pockets and did a quick change (I think we got away with it, it was a bit exposed, I hope nobody was looking…) Time for the first dip of the year!

The sea was deliciously cold. We made a large amount of unnecessary noise trying to get in. Then a deep breath and our heads were under! Then just as hyperventilation-from-cold was kicking in we got out. I guess it was a 30 second dip, but my god it felt so good!

One ice-cream later (strawberry, brownie, pistachio flavour) and we were riding up and out of Tossa, heading for the beautiful coast road and the climb to Sant Grau. The road actually smells like a sauna, it’s a suntrap where the trees smell all sweet and hot. Gorgeous.

Lee managed to hold my exceptionally slow cramp-defying pace up to Sant Grau and only made one minor irritating comment about just how low his heart rate was. Coming down the descent back to Llagostera we realised we were in for one hell of a treat of a tail wind. After the battle out to Tossa we were rewarded with a free ride home. It was so nice we even took our arm warmers off.

We stopped for a picture at the stone bridge and were grinning from ear to ear. Not only had we had the best day ever but the fun was set to continue with a recovery roast dinner and the Tour of Flanders on catch up. Perfection.


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