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by Scott Penzarella on August 06, 2012
To wake in Catalunya, in the Spanish countryside with coffee brewing and your breakfast being whipped up by a professional chef, is to have arrived--in my estimation. After breakfast we were off on a twenty minute jaunt to start our ride start in the countryside. While the 9 women on the ride were rearing to go, Colin was fluttering around looking for this, looking for that--hairbrush, mascara, foundation--and we ladies had fun harassing him.
Most of the menfolk had been tasked with dropping a van at the ride destination in Roses for the benefit of beaching and beers post ride. Colin, Steve, Marni, Rachael, Petra, Sandy, Mo, Nina, Deanna, Jasmine and Sarah set off at a very civilized pace through some beautiful back country roads. The landscape was open and wild, and was very reminiscent of the hinterlands of Mexico. Given the similarities, the Spanish must have felt right at home when conquering the Americas. Despite thousands of years of civilization, it is heartening to know that such truly wild (except for us riding through on a finely paved road) expanses still exist.
As Colin and Scott had warned, the creamy dreamy pavement of Spain gave way instantaneously to a bone rattling, kidney disheveling descent just about the moment we crossed the border into France--similar to the way that the pavement disintegrates on Sir Francis Drake the moment you cross into Samuel P. Taylor State Park. After the not insignificant climb, we felt we deserved better. My brakes were howling like a tortured hyena. It had gone from bad to worse by the time we got to the bottom where we regrouped at the old fashioned water pump conveniently placed in the middle of precisely nowhere. This clearly used to be “somewhere”, for a critical (and beautiful) piece of infrastructure such as this was surely an important crossroads in days of old.
While waiting, the antique roadie who had crested the climb with us flew by in a rather precarious state. He was covered in blood, fairly pouring from his helmet, down his face and front. Petra attempted assistance with a hearty “Hey!! Are you okay??” but to no avail. He rode off into France, never to be seen again.
We hooked up with the rest of the crew at a cafe in a beachside town in France, and began another big climb, reunited once again. The pace had inexplicably picked up again now that the men were back...alas, these were gorgeous climbs and one was always assured of having inspiration to try harder, or a friend to endure with should the legs fail to respond. Lunch back in Spain was fabulous, though too large for the ensuing--you guessed it--CLIMB. This climb was accompanied by a fierce, hot, hellish headwind that made me want my mommy. Fortunately, Ron was there and offered his wheel to Nina and I for the entire suffering duration until at last we were in Roses where Ritchie and beers and the beach and my bikini awaited.
Again, “Esta es La Vida”. This is the life.
Tomorrow: Last day :( we ride Roca Corba outside Banyoles. Apparently the local Spanish and French pros train here. Maybe I’ll be at the cafe....