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Friday, May 24, 2019

April 21st: Costa Brava Loop

Costa Brava was strictly speaking a lollipop. There's the initial run from Girona to Llagosterra, and then from there, you'd do a loop out to the coast and back and then ride the same way back to Girona.  As usual, we reversed the loop figuring that would give us a tailwind on the coast. In practice, this wasn't a factor as the rugged coastline prevented the wind from being a huge issue.
To my delight, the ride out of Girona was yet another route that I hadn't discovered before. This was my fourth day in Girona and I had yet to repeat an exit from the city! "This place is growing on me," I told Mike, "By my 4th day at Port de Soller, I'd done every exit from the place, some twice or three times!" The road had nobody that early in the morning, and we pretty much had it to ourselves.

In Llagostera, we stopped for a quick coffee, and then rode on up towards Sant Grau, the grade was very easy, and the top was non-descript. The weather looked very unsettled and the wind built up, but once over the top we got nice grand views.
The Costa Brava coast was definitely dramatic, with switch-backing corners and the kind of swooping turns as you approached the inlets where a stream had cut through, very similar to Big Sur. What was different was that the resort towns were huge and very built up. I was very shocked at how little time the ride spent on the coast, as we were soon in Tossa de Mar, where Mike discovered he had a flat tire.
While he fixed his flat, I went into the supermarket across the street (what a great place to have a flat!) and bought lunch, eating it. We resumed climbing out of Tossa de Mar, and the climb back into Llagosterra was in an isolated wind environment, so I hoped that the forecast might be wrong and we wouldn't have to fight a headwind back.

In Llagostera the headwind came back. I'd noted that there was a train station nearby so we didn't have to ride back if the wind was bothersome, but Mike decided the ride was worth it, and it didn't look like it was going to rain soon, so I assented.

Back in Girona, we bought lunch at the local cafe, and then I had time to walk around Girona proper, noting that I hadn't probably explored the city. I visited the Cathedral, walked around the city wall, which was surprisingly intact, and found another bike shop that had the cute name of "Eat Sleep Cycle".
What blew me away though were the tour prices offered. These were expensive bike tours, and I always thought that over-paying for bike tours was something that only Americans did! They were charging Euro 2500 a head for a 7 day trip in the alps, which I guess compared favorably with the Trek Tour for $4000/head.

Dinner was at the Argentinian BBQ beef place. For a change I had no complaints about the portion size. The food was plentiful (I did have a couple of empanadas to bookend the meal), and it was very good. Mike said he didn't want come back, because the food was just meat that was grilled, but I would have been happy to eat there a second time to try the different cuts of beef.

The weather forecast had shifted again, as the forecasted rain was moved to the next day. I noted that the rain would start around noon, so if we got out early we could get in the St. Hiliari climb, which looked attractive and could be knocked out in just a few hours if we started early.

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