As February comes to an end, so does my time here in Girona. I may not have gotten off to the best of starts, but the roads, the weather and the laidback pace of life have won me over. The dream of one day being able to live out here permanently is as good a reason as any I need to put in the effort and try and make it as a pro.
That’s not to say that things were rosy all the time – pushing your body to its limits day in day out can break a man. On more than one occasion I found myself thinking that sitting at a desk from 9 to 5 would be a hell of a lot easier than this cycling lark. And I’d actually be earning some money – bonus!
But the next morning I’d head out into another cloudless day – no intervals or efforts, just ride – and remember why I was doing this. When it comes down to it, there’s nothing I’d rather do more. Good job too as I’ve got another 7 months of it!
As a kind of repost to Mat’s excellent post about cycling in northern Italy, the following photo dump is my argument for considering the Girona area for your next cycling getaway.
No trip to Girona would be complete without an ascent of the infamous Rocacorba. Ryder Hesjedal shouldn't be too concerned about me challenging his record time just yet
At the top you'll find a ramp used by paragliders, with views over Banyoles and the plains beyond
To the north you've got the pyrenees...
...and the French border. This ended up being a pretty big day in the saddle!
To the east, the rugged Med coast awaits...
...featuring some purpose built racetracks
There are worse spots for a mid-ride coffee
Ride west and you're into the volcanic national park, including the fearsome Coll de Collfred. Those of you who enjoy your climbs steep and irregular (not seeing too many hands up there) need to check this one out
The view's a cracker, salt encrusted face not withstanding
Endless miles on dirt roads in between
Girona city itself is an easy half hour's ride from where I was staying in Serinya. The coach wouldn't approve, but xurros and hot chocolate (literally melted chocolate) sure hit the spot
I'll be back
I now head back to the UK for a brief stopover which will involve me maniacally rushing around trying to sort my life out, before heading to Belgium for the start of the season this weekend. Much as I’ve loved the training this past month, it’s time now to race.
PLUG ALERT! Prendas is selling a devilishly handsome cotton cap (see below) celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Dave Rayner Fund, with proceeds going to help riders such as myself race abroad. Get yours here.
Thanks to the Dave Rayner Fund (@DaveRaynerFund) for supporting my 2014 season in Belgium with team Terra Safety Shoes. In addition to the blog you can catch my day to day ramblings on twitter: @liamtglen
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.