Words by Mike Hadgkiss | photos by Niels Schnadt ‘T was the month of June in 2019, 8 friends travelled to check out the Girona cycling scene. To celebrate Mark’s big 40th year; With bike rides, banter and plenty of beer. With routes still undecided and only a few weeks to go;Niels and Mike got creative in Casa veloccino. With the promise of hills, smooth roads and one or two lakes. Bike hire was opted for from the awesome Bike Breaks. With plans in place, the destination was set. A few checks of the forecast in the hope we wouldn’t get wet. But were the plans all set? The late night messages would suggest not. With no time for breakfast, it was half a slice of toast and that’s your lot. With Jeremy driving though, confidence was high, Of arriving at Stansted in good time to fly. With the main group boarded via the priority queue,And luggage all on board there was little else to do…. Except wait on the runway, for much more than a bit.To wait for someone’s luggage to be taken away….what a tit. Arriving in sunny Girona, the accommodation was really smart. Though after 4 days of male occupation, there was certainly to be a strong odour of fart. The first ride was amazing, smooth roads and faces a beam;And there must be a special mention for the delightful tangerine dream. La Fabrica was the destination the following day. Not a town but a café and well, what can I say. With food choices beyond your normal desires,To kick start a bike ride, adding fuel to your fires. The coast was the destination but not before climbing St Grau, Which certainly left your legs spinning and needing to mop your brow. With hairpins and switchbacks and gravel abound. It was squeaky bum time and hoping no one would hit the ground. Safely arriving for lunch, in Tossa de Mar;Question was though would Mark skip lunch and just head for the bar? Lunch was opted for though, in the form of a light bite. Mark’s large plate though suggested his tummy was in for a fright. The following day, a decision was needed. 100 miles or not, in the end we conceded. Rocacorba was our chosen destination. I was certain of a feeling of some trepidation. The lunch stop beforehand was a beauty, a corker. The fuel stop was needed ahead of Rocacorba. The climbing was brutal, a test for us all. The legs kept spinning to avoid any stall. The summit was reached, Wes leading then Mike. There were claims in the camp of the use of an e-bike. Rocacorba was done, now home, please I beg. With dual carriageways and off road and a dog seeking Mark’s leg! The following day, the weather drew in. Would the riding plans simply end up in the bin? The brave 5 headed out for one last ride, The weather was shit, I could have cried. To the top of Els Angels, to see the finish of the time trial event. Some wished they were doing it, their legs not yet quite spent. So thank you Girona for opening up your secrets to us, An amazing time spent here with hardly a fuss. We will be back? I’m sure, this time next year. With bicycles and banter….and more alcohol-free beer!