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Sometimes things don’t work out like you plan – they work out better!

Some of you know that Michigan Mountain Mayhem is fast approaching on June 17th.  I know that some of you are planning to do this ride, and I was planning to be there as well.  However a couple of weeks ago I learned that I would need to travel for business from June 12 through June 22 - knocking MMM right off my schedule.

You can imagine my disappointment!  This is a ride that usually sells out in a few days in January so you must plan ahead to be in the ride, which leads to months of anticipating the ride and its challenges.  I did MMM for the first time last year, and I was looking forward to doing this ride again.  But before long my disappointment turned to a little bit of relief.  I am a bit behind in my training this spring, and as I reflected on not being able to ride MMM I realized that I probably would not really miss tackling The Wall along with all of the other hills.  However, a quirk in my travel schedule occurred that presented a new opportunity that could more than replace riding MMM.

My travel is to be first in the area of Barcelona Spain (I am actually posting this from a hotel room outside of Barcelona), followed by time in the area of Turin Italy.  It just happens that there is a holiday in parts of Europe this Thursday, which takes Thursday and Friday out of the structured business agenda for my trip.  It does not make sense for me to travel home from Spain on Thursday only to travel to Turin on Sunday, so I will end up staying in Europe with a fairly flexible schedule for Thursday through Monday.  I can of course still work from my hotel room, but with schedule flexibility I can do other things as well.  As I considered what I might do besides just working, it occurred to me:  Barcelona is in Catalonia - the foothills of the Pyrenees!  Turin is in the Piedmont - the foothills of the Alps!  Certainly there is a cycling opportunity to be had!

Some quick research confirmed my intuition, and my greatest challenge became deciding between riding in Catalonia and riding in the Piedmont.  In the end, Catalonia won out - at least this time.  I had no idea how great the cycling is said to be in the Girona area northeast of Barcelona - apparently this is a hotbed training area for many pro cyclists who choose to live in the area during the off season due the combination of good lightly traveled roads, great weather and all the climbing one could want in the Pyrenees.  I won't be venturing into anything as challenging as real mountains, but I expect I will get close enough to see them while I am riding some hills that will be mountain-like for me.  Combine this with staying in a small town on the Mediterranean (my hotel will be right on the beach), and it seemed to be too good a combination to let pass me by.  I may not be as trained and fit as I would like, but I will give it a go and see if I am up to the challenge - after all, I still have sunny days at the beach to mix in if I need a break from cycling (and from work).  

I will post again after some riding to let you know how this works out.


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