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Thursday, May 23, 2019

April 20th: Olot Loop

When examining the route the day before, we decided that going through Banyoles first was the right thing to do, since the final descent into Girona would alleviate any pain from the expected wind from the North and East.
The initial ride out looked like a reversal of yesterday's entry into Girona, but our GPS kept telling us that we were going the wrong way. We finally realized that we were reversing the loop given to us by the bike shop. I didn't know about the Fenix's "Reverse Route" feature, so I just kept my Fenix 5X on the map screen so I could see the turns that were coming up. What I didn't know was that this actually drains the 5X's battery super-fast, as it keeps computing how far you were from the next checkpoint on the GPX file, and trying to restart the route from then. Fortunately, the 5X has such a big battery that it was still enough to get us home with a bit to spare.

Once out of the initial area, the loop took us alongside beautiful fields of mustard until we got to Bayoles, where we took pictures with the lake, scullers in the background.
Past Banyoles, the road took on a very rural aesthetic. We weren't seeing too many cyclists at this point, though two women were riding behind us but never got close enough for us to even identify them (we heard their voices), before they turned off on a different ride.
The descent into Olot was gorgeous, with turnouts for glorious views of the Pyrenees, with its snow covered peaks. The day was warming up, but never got hot, and we were very pleased by what we discovered. The roads designated by the GPS routes were scenic and never had too much traffic.

At the turnaround, we found ourselves riding now with a headwind, but fortunately there were hills. Even better, the biggest hill had a bike path side-route that eliminated all the traffic and noise, enabling us to climb in peace and then descend using that pavement. It was quite clear that the area near Canet d'Adri was famous for its beauty as many tourists (with cars) were parked along the road and hiking, cycling, or just taking pictures.
Then between Sant Feliu and les Planes d'Hostoles the route took us on a perfect tiny little road of such beauty and perfection and flow that Mike said "It sent shivers up my spine with pleasure." It was so good and required such attention to bike handling that we did nothing but ride, ride and ride. It was one of those roads that you wished would go on forever. We had found cycling heaven, and I never would have thought in a million years to have to discover it in Spain!

The last several miles into Girona was into a stiff headwind, but during the final approach we started climbing a few hills which made the descent down into town very easy and pretty. I was delighted. For a change we had arrived back in Girona early enough to eat lunch, which was a burger place. I then realized that I didn't have to live with not having a map in the Fenix 5X, since I could just download and install it using the hotel's lobby computer! That same computer could be used to help upload Mike's photos from his Ricoh GR2.

So after showers and laundry we did all this computer stuff. The forecast was for rain the next day, but I noted that the rain was not scheduled to fall until later in the afternoon. Mike was all psych'd out to do the Costa Brava ride, and I agreed that it looked great.

Dinner was at the Mexican place John Mitchell recommended. Unfortunately, it suffered from a comparison to L'Aglica: it felt overpriced and there was nowhere near enough food. We got dessert elsewhere, and I bought some fruits.

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