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Wednesday
Jun282017

Catalonia - Part 2

I am back from my Europe travels, and I did have opportunity to ride in the Catalonia area.  The short summary is – it was great!  Everything was better than I imagined it would be:  the weather was great with not a cloud in the sky, and the riding was great with plenty of challenge, good roads and scenic views.  After riding I could relax on a Mediterranean beach (which was literally in front of the hotel), take a nap and then have a wonderful dinner at a beachfront restaurant.  I can hardly imagine a better extended weekend!   

The area I was in is known as Costa Brava (Brave Coast), and the first day riding revealed why the area would have such a name.  The riding was challenging with a lot more climbing that the typical rides at home, but the views of the rugged coastline were spectacular! 

The Costa Brava coastal road


Tossa de Mar - 1st day lunch destination along Costa Brava

 

Much of the other riding was through Las Gavarras Nature Reserve, which included the Gavarras Mountains and a cork oak forest that is the last remnant of forests that supported the cork industry that for centuries was the foundation of the local economy.  While the Gavarras mountains are considered to be just a minor coastal range, it was my first time riding in mountains and I got to climb my first mountain passes, doing Coll de la Ganga twice.  You have probably never heard of this climb; it is ranked on climbbybike.com as the 12,262nd most difficult climb in their global ranking of 13,464 climbs.  Nonetheless, it is considered to be a mountain pass and I am counting it as my first mountain climbs.

The road leading to the Gavarras mountains and Coll de la Ganga

A view of the cork forest from the top of the climb

 

I also got to ride through a series of medieval villages that were within view of the Pyrenees Mountains.  This was lovely riding, both for the scenic nature of the towns, and for being about the only flat riding area in the region.

The medieval village of Palau-Sator (still occupied)

Looking north to the Pyrenees (30 miles away and visible on the horizon if you look hard!)

 

And as I mentioned before, when the riding got hard I could always remind myself of the relaxation waiting for me at the end of the ride…

The Mediterranean beach – steps from the hotel door

 

I am home now and glad to be home, but I am already dreaming of an opportunity to go back!

 

Marty Score

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