- WHAT'S HOT
- MILL VALLEY SHOP
- OUR FIT STUDIO
- TRIPS, BLOGS, PIX
by Scott Penzarella on July 24, 2012
The day dawned thankfully hazy and not too hot. Chef Ritchie had whipped up eggs, potatoes, homemade muslei, fresh fruit and yogurt for the morning feast. Five alpha males set off at 8:30 to get some extra miles in before our planned meet up spot in Olot. The balance of us prepared for the ride in a leisurely fashion and hopped into the vans at around 9:45. In a masterful piece of choreography, the alphas arrived mere minutes after we had suited up and rolled into the square, having already clocked an impressive 35 miles.
Our group of 17 riders was an energetic force wheeling out of town for our first climb that began after about a .003 mile warm up. The road turned upward--as did the heat--though to be sure, I was once again thanking whomever controls the weather (Scott? Colin?) that it wasn’t 105 or any other obscene three-digit number that the first week was cursed with.
The grade was relatively gentle--4% to 6%. And the roads? The roads need a full poetic praise-filled paragraph all their own. As any half-cognizant person is likely aware, Spain, like her erstwhile Greek cousin, has found herself in a bit of a financial bind of late. She can’t pay the rent, the phone company is gonna cut the line, and the German landlord is knocking with increasing fervor. Unemployment is rampant, street protests flare and swirl, accusations fly. But the roads? They are perfect. Like butter. A pothole is a most unusual creature, and I imagine that should one appear on a Spanish thoroughfare, the locals might gather around stroking their chins in a thoughtful pose considering the aberration before them. These people know how to prioritize their spending. No job? Go for a ride--the roads are great!
The landscape was reminiscent of Southern California (the good parts--Santa Barbara, etc.), but with the occasional thousand-year-old castle thrown in just to keep you on your toes. Ron, Rachael, Petra, Deanna, Scott and I crested the climb together and there was much rejoicing. We picked up James on the descent, and oh-what-a-descent. Again, the roads smooth as silk, the only potential hazard the ill-placed cow splatter which I assume would be rather slippery at 40+ mph.
A bit of a hand-gesture misunderstanding at the bottom of the descent led half of us to head for the town square and wait for the others, while the others were wondering why we were so god-forsaken slow, and where the heck were we anyway? They say that 90% of human communication is non-verbal (or maybe its 56%, but in any case, “they” say it’s a lot...). While this is probably true, a nod, a wink, and a point “that-a-way” from Colin as he rides in the 100% percent opposite direction might have dictated an actual verbal exchange in this particular case.
In any event, we soldiered on and after another beautiful-if-challenging climb, and another grin-inducing descent, we found our troops assembled at a delightful long table in town brimming with water, beer, pizzas, salads, and a plethora of happy SV patrons. Except Mike. He was still “out there” somewhere. He was eventually retrieved and brought back into the lunch-fold. After lunch, half of the crew jumped into the van, and half needed yet more pedaling so rode home with full bellies and cramping legs. These people are made of steel. I enjoyed the steel of the van that carried me back to the pool.
Tomorrow: To the coast!