Fitting in any sort of structured training schedule around a full time job is tough, couple that with the British weather and the thought of training some days can really test your resilience. Don’t worry, all of us here at G!RO sympathise. Summer is getting closer, we’ve nearly made it! Pat on the back and all that for such resilience!! But, hey, what if I told you could give your resilience a rest; How!? I hear you ask…
The answer, Girona. What has become the worst kept secret to anyone exposed to cycling culture. If you’ve pedalled a bike, pulled on lycra and done laps of Richmond park, you’ve probably already heard of Girona. A mecca for amateurs and pros alike, top of the list if you want to get some winter sun and rack up those early season miles.
Seasoned winter sun chaser, or complete newbie to the winter sun concept, Girona should be top of your list. Below freezing temps and rain, albeit not impossible in Girona, do not happen repeatedly and depressingly frequently. Girona is also home to beautiful landscapes, mountains, a cultural city and incredibly laid-back locals, both on the open mountain roads and in the city historical streets. It’s the haven all you regular bike riders so desire in these gloomy winter months.
Still not sold? Girona offers something that not many other training bases can, variety. Variety is an incredibly important tool for successful training on the bike and Girona has variety by the boatload. Variety in scenery, variety in company and variety in exertion. You get unrivalled access to all of this and more. One day you can be cruising to the beautiful lake at Banyoles, sitting at the base of the iconic Rocacorba climb, the next day you may find yourself attacking your mates and giving your race tactics a good test along the undulating coast road, or testing yourself solo up one of the many longer, testing climbs with a multitude of gradients like the steep aforementioned Rocacorba, the stunningly scenic Sant Grau or the famous pro test climb Amer, one frequented by Lance in the 90’s among many others (Strava links below). You soon understand why many of the worlds best and some the worlds biggest upcoming talents base themselves here, not just throughout the winter but for the entirety of the year.
A solid weeks training load, with little variety and a ton of kilometres can become a bit tiresome, in Girona its easy to rack up a record number of kilometres in a week and push yourself further than you thought possible. This will soon tell when you’re back and smashing it up the climbs on your local group ride, maybe even one of our Sunday shop rides. Yet you never feel quite like you would pushing record kilometres in the UK, it still feels like holiday. Bring your bike, soak up the culture, relax, enjoy and suddenly you’ll check strava and think to yourself ‘600kms in less than a week!!!!’. The beautiful city eases any fatigue, the stresses of life will leave you and in the spirit of the local culture, post ride chilling is completely acceptable and necessary. Book yourself a few extra days to ensure you experience all the wonders; tapas, red wine, architecture, history and impressive vistas (see below) as well as the most important of off the bike activities, coffee time. Need your coffee fix? Do not fear, La Fabrica and Espresso Mafia will help quash those G!RO cravings abroad, whilst you explore this European cycling paradise. Riding will never seem like a chore. Disclaimer: You will feel it at somepoint. But enjoy your bodies ignorance to it until then.
Craving some longer days in the saddle and that feeling of a truly rewarding, varied and epic ride then look no further than Girona. Drum up some support on your bunch ride whatsapp group, book the flights, find an air bnb and go. If you’ve made it this far through my waffle I imagine you must be fairly into the idea of exploring Girona, so we include a few handy links to friends of G!RO and other sites we all enjoy and have used ourselves for further inspiration, to further whet the appetite incase you needed that. As soon as you arrive, life will slow down, stress will vanish into crisp mountain air, you’ll relax and soon find yourself asking “does it get any better than this?!”. The locals will soon answer, ‘yes, in Spring, Summer and Autumn!!’ but regardless, it beats British winter riding. It’s not like Britain doesn’t have beauty and the freedom to explore, you can get anywhere. However, ditching the gloves and oversocks in February, now that’s a bit harder. It’s these little things that make exploring and enjoying your riding much easier. Chase that winter sun, give your resilience a well earnt rest from suffering those 6am alarms and sleet ruined café runs. For a few days, or weeks… Whatever you can. It will help you appreciate the simplicity and pleasure of riding your bike and you will certainly be stronger for it. Get motivated early this year and make 2018 your best year on the bike yet. See you on the road.
- Head to Sommet CC for the best Girona Escape!
- For some really good tips for routes & food recommendations if you go solo head to Our Girona!
- By all means come into the coffee shop & have a chat with our staff who will be happy to point you in the right direction!
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Here at G!RO we continue to share our ways of beating the global pandemic and keeping morale high! Jamie tells us how his year sampling a new style of riding on his Downrock has been a godsend in this unprecedented year!
Wow! It’s been nearly a year since that giant box, containing my new favourite bike arrived! It was March 2020, things were starting to head south globally and the UK was a few short days away from Lockdown 1.0, but spirits were high as me and head mechanic Danny tore into the box containing all the parts, and the beautiful Downrock frame Curve had just shipped us. Days were getting longer, weather was getting warmer, riding was getting easier and ignoring the global pandemic things were looking up… Except, how can you ignore a global pandemic... That’s right, you can’t!!!