185km on 31st August
95km on 24 August
5255 so far.
Today is the hardest day of my trip so far. Not because of the cycling but because I am leaving Paola. Travelling with someone gives you time to really get to know each other. We know we are very happy together, in a tent, a hotel, or on a friend’s sofa. (I never tested whether she would be ok sleeping at a bus stop). I have to continue but I will miss her terribly. We will talk as often as possible and just try our best to deal with the situation. And at some point on this journey we will be together again. I love her very much and so I just have to find a way.
I’m only cycling 20km from Figueres to Roses to find a campsite this evening.
I have already cycled to Figueres with friends so today is just about getting back there by train to continue the trip.
I cycled on Saturday with my triathlon pals from Vistaprint, Oliver Jackson (OJ) and Mauricio Rodriguez who still live in Barcelona. We trained together all the time when i lived in barcelona and did a lot of triathlons, including the ironman in Ampolla. The challenge this time was to do 200km in a day. I made it harder for myself by going out the night before to a poker night and drinking too much. I woke up at 7.45 when I should have been at OJ’s at 7.20. I got there as quick as I could and apologized. My head was throbbing. I put my pedals on one of OJ’s bikes (an aliminium tricross bike) and rode that instead of Silver as I would hold them back if I tried to ride her. She just doesn’t go as fast as their nice shiny carbon road bikes. Even without bags. And the route up the N-II from Barcelona is flat and fast. We rode up the coast via Badalona, Mataro, and Calella, where we stopped for a drink. Calella is about 50km from Barcelona and we used go ride to there and go back to Barcelona. But then we headed onwards to Tossa de Mar, 80km from Barcelona. There were a couple of hills on the way. It was very easy on OJ’s bike, and we were doing well so we decided to push on (I have been there before- it has an amazing beach with a castle on one side-beautiful) and the climbing got tougher but also the views were stunning. We passed a cracking campsite called Camping Pola where we had been a week earlier (I will tell you about that trip later).
We stopped for lunch in the very pleasant town of Sant Feliu de Guixols. Mauricio ordered us some food and chatted with the guy serving us in his typical very friendly way (he also befriended an old lady on the way home later). After lunch we were a bit sluggish and my headache was getting worse. Of the three of us, Mauricio was in the best state. After Palomas, we headed towards Roses, but after about 140km OJ was feeling tired and my headache was just getting worse. I agreed to head to Figueres and get the train back but we headed west and straight into a massive headwind. I was flagging behind and OJ was slowing down. Mauricio kept plugging away and seemed ok though. We reached Figueres to take the train back satisfied that 185km was enough. We had a smoothie and a beer to celebrate. And OJ bought us all food for the way back. I also thanked the boys for picking up the bill all day. Very kind of them.
So what else happened in Barcelona?
Well the beard has gone. But it will be back in no time in what will be named “return of the Yeti”.
We went to the Fiesta de Gracia. -a street party that runs for a week where the locals decorate the streets.
We went to the Sagrada familia, Gaudi’s unfinished Cathedral and quite amazing. It is expensive at 19 euros if you want to go up a tower but it’s a must see. There is really no other cathedral in the world like this one.
Of course we went to the beach a few times. And caught up with friends in the Born and Poblenou. I had a great time chatting to my friends Mike and Yan who both let me and Paola stay in their flats. We took a day trip to Sitges too which has a great beach but the men staring at me rather than Paola was a bit wierd!
And I also went to a camping Pola with OJ, Mau and another friend Jon. We took a train to Blanes and cycled 20km from Blanes to the campsite. I couldn’t sleep that night as it was ridiculously hot and Jon snores like a Hoover so I set up a mosquito net and slept under the stars. In the morning we swam 4km in the sea, going along the coast from beach to beach, and then cycled 95km to get back to Barcelona.
And finally, last night was the Fiesta de Sant Andreu. Beers, mojitos, music and dancing salsa in the street. Not a bad way for Paola and I to finish our tour of Spain.
10.20pm … I am now in my little tent at a campsite in Roses. The cycle from Figueres was less than 20km and very easy. It feels very lonely having been with Paola and with so many friends but I am sure I will get used to it again very quickly. And I only have 3 weeks of cycling to get to Vienna and see my family.