by Scott Penzarella on August 01, 2012 Comments (0)
Today we started our ride in Bisbol, about 30 minutes from the villa. A quick cortado at the cafe across the street and we were off. Ritchie led us out as Colin had “forgotten” his helmet and shoes...
Busy city streets quickly gave way to charming farm roads, and then to a gentle yet mature climb winding through the forest of the old country. Scott, Eli, Ron, Mark, Bill and Mike had ridden directly from the house and were due to catch us at any minute. I looked over my shoulder and saw someone coming at me as if he were descending versus climbing this hill. I said “Hola!” as he flew past, he smiled, and I thought “I wonder if that’s a Spanish pro rider--they train out here”. As the blur faded, I realized it was Scott.
We descended into the first of several beach towns which were reminiscent of Venice Beach and other Southern California beach town mob scenes. Progress was slow but amusing--dodging pedestrians, locals, tourists, kids, parallel parkers, car doors, backer-uppers, roundabouts, etc., etc., etc. Roundabouts can be a bit hair-raising for the uninitiated. And that’s when you’re in a car. On a bike it is a sort of white-knuckle affair where you take a quick look, try to recall the “rules” that apply for this yawning 400-yard radius of intentional chaos, and gas it into the breach while mentally crossing yourself in the hope of some late-breaking divine intervention.
We were miraculously spit out the other side unscathed and arrived at the best beach town where we had lunch watching the locals and the beautiful blue Mediterranean. Some of us swam before getting back in the saddle for the second half of our day. Every inch away from the coast saw a tiny tick upward in the mercury, but as the views seemed to be competing with one another, our attention was elsewhere. Around each corner the new view handily outdid the last one every time.
To this point, the fun rollers and the scenery had combined to create a delicious harmony. Only now did Scott inform us of the 8K climb we were about to face. And it would be steep. And it would be hot. And there would be no shade. It would still be beautiful, I just wasn’t mentally prepared for it. It went up and up and up, and as Jasmine so accurately described it later that evening, “...and then there was the boat ramp”. Just when you thought it was over, a wall of pavement materialized in front of you, resembling--well--a boat ramp. A couple of swear words under the (heavy) breath, and we all huffed it over the top to a long descent into Llagosterra.
We reconvened at a glorious fountain in town, some of us (me) opting to take the van back, and more than half of the crew opting to ride the rest of the way back to Bisbol. It was fun watching the hammerheads sprint for the town line from the comfort of the air-conditioned van.
Back at the villa, pool and beverages were once again enjoyed by all. Chef Ritchie/Chris prepared his best dinner yet, in my estimation. Sole, roasted carrots with onion, garlic (balsamic?), braised rabbit, pasta fabuloso, and bread. Ritchie showed us how to expertly bone a fish, and since there were extras on the table, well, we just had to keep trying it over and over and over. And since waste is sinful, we had to eat it all as well. Dessert was a peach over a Greek yogurt panna cotta that was muy deliciosa.
Tomorrow: Options--beach day or ride up the really steep hot mountain to the monastery.
50% chose to ride, 50% chose beach.
I’ll be the one under the umbrella with a parasol in my drink.