Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday July 30th: We don't know we're we heading, but we're not lost (day 7 of biking)

Saturday July 30th: We don't know we're we heading, but we're not lost (day 7 of biking) 

Albert and I stayed up late last night planning a route for today. We took the advice of the bike shop owner, Dave, and entered in the route to the Mediterrania and back into Albert's Garmin computer. Albert's computer reported about 101 Km.

We headed out about 9:15 or so. Seven riders in to the overcast cool morning. The computer on my rental bike is set up to report Kilo Meters and all the roadside signs report temperature in degrees C, so after a while you forget about converting to the English system, but anyway, the temperature was about 20 degrees C at the start, 20 degrees is about room temperature, 68 degrees F. 

We were so lucky, for most of the day the clouds followed us, keeping us from getting tool warm as we climbed mountain range on the way to the sea. The group was got divided at the start of the climb when we took a wrong turn, bearing right at an intersection instead of left. Albert and Shahla was quite a bit of the rest of the group when a car came zipping up to us with the driver clearly indicating that we were going in the wrong directions.  After consulting our maps, Jim and I headed out to stop Albert and Shahla and turn them around, but after a couple of climbs we still did not have them in sight and so we reluctantly turned around and got on the correct route and started the climb.

Dave, the bike shop owner, had mentioned that parts of this route were on the Tour de France a couple of years ago. I need to check with Jim because he has the cycle computer that records the altitude gain and the road angle, but I would guess that angle max'd out at 10 or 11 percent with an attitude gain of maybe 1,500 to 2,000 feet. 

As we started rounding the top of the climb we could see names on the road in white paint of the tour's riders. Painting names is a tradition to encourage the fans favorite riders. As we started to drop, we encountered signs indicating 14% grades. So the tour's riders were racing up 14% grade to the top. Quite a feat indeed!! However, it was our 14% downhill!! A high point of the ride for us ending up at an overlook to with the sea 400 feet below us. Much to our surprise, Albert and Shahla caught up to us at this point. They had reached the end of the wrong road and turned around and raced to catch up with us. We figured that they added 8 KM to the ride and many feet of climbing.

At the sea we turned left and headed northeast in the same direction as we did on Thursday, but the roads were much more quiet and the views were even more spectacular (I wish that the interconnection that I'm using was faster so that I could upload the photos, but I've tried that before and almost choked the connection). We stopped in Sant Feliu de Guixols for lunch and today I made sure that I had enough fuel to get back home, and yes we did stop for Ice Cream before leaving the town.

As we left the town, we could see dark storm clouds hanging over the mountain range where we were to ride. The ride back to the villa was on some different back country roads but not without some stopping to figure out where we were. As we rode we kept an eye on the storm clouds. I guess we were lucky, because though the roads were wet, except for an occasional rain drop, we kept dry. 

For the third time we went through the town of Llagostera and this time we had pretty much routed our way through without getting lost. The distance from Llagostera was a pretty quick 20Km.  The altitude gain for the day was about 4400 ft (1341 meters). 

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