Monday August 1st: (8th day of riding)
As I was heading off to bed last night (Sunday), I saw several of the riders huddled over a set of road maps discussing the ride they took to the town of Olot, a distance of 120Km and about 6 hours of cycling. There were many comments of "you gotta watch out for.." and "don't miss the turn at..." and "if you take the turn at...you will end up in a tunnel". So I went over to listen to the discussion when Jim turned to me and said; "sounds good, wanna do it tomorrow?".
It was going to be a long day. The five of us headed out about 9ish traveling in a counter-clockwise circle first through Girona heading north. It was good that Gary spent some time with us explaining the route in detail, because with out his advice, it would have taken the group much longer to find the correct route.
The route started to climb shortly after leaving Girona. If you think of a clock, Girona was at the 3 O'clock position with us heading northeast after leaving Girona. The first stop for coffee was to be in the town of Banyoles, but several miles before we spied a field of beautiful sunflowers and just had to stop for photos. We spent maybe 20 or 25 minutes taking pictures of sunflowers, pictures of us with the sun flowers and pictures of us taking pictures of sun flowers.
Thinking about our route and a clock face, Banyoles would at about 1pm position. We stopped in the city center for coffee, rolls and would you believe it, a Snickers bar? We had done some climbing to get to Banyoles, but we about about another 20Km of climbing would be required to get to our lunch stop in Olot.
We arrived in Olot close to 2pm and found our way to the city center where the outdoor market was just closing. All the vendors were busily packing up their wares into vehicles. We found a place called "cafe sport" and discovered the 2 hour lunch. By the time we ordered, the food was served and we paid, it was 2 hours, 4pm.
We had approximately 60 more kilometers to the end of the ride. Gary had promised that the rest of the ride was "down hill". After 13km we had started to doubt his word. Then the downhill began, and went on and on and on. It wasn't until Angles that the downhill flattened out. By that point we had about 15km to the villa along GI-540, which has some significant climbing, but has become a favorite with the group. By time we arrived, we had gone 122km taking almost 6 hours and climbing 3800 feet (1158 meters). A great day!!