Friday, May 15, 2015

I know I'm giving away the plot but... the unvarnished truth is that I failed again! It took me nearly twelve and a half hours to finish the "tour". A ride that started well and ended miserably...
To be sincere it did not start that well; I slept poorly that night due to the inconsiderate social behaviour of my immature (and not fully educated) neighbours. So it was a quarter to six on Sunday when a slightly red-eyed randonneur (that's me) silently slipped into the town's deserted streets. It was pleasantly cool, just cool enough to don arm warmers; a heat wave was announced, something rather unusual for this time of the year so I dressed up as lightly as possible.
Threaded my way to the (already familiar) road to La Roca through lonely streets taking full advantage of the situation while ignoring red traffic lights and one-direction lanes. I was the master of the world! In fact, it took nearly an hour to meet the first car.
When day broke (see photo below) the sky was clear, alarmingly clear...

By now I was making good progress, found next to no cyclists, so I was on  my own (unable to hang onto any other's wheel...). Arrived in Hostalrich (this time, I also made the climb in my granny's) and had a snack on the same spot than in the previous ride (that's the view from there)

... and after dodging some "expansive" youngsters playing football among the parked cars I resumed my way towards Les Mallorquines. By now I was riding just the same route with one minor difference... my arm warmers were already bothering me (so early into the ride? Mmmh...)

Turned left on the C-63 heading for Santa Coloma de Farners. Arriving in Riudarenes (a nice small town with picturesque coloured buildings) I made three unsuccessful attempts to find a tiny lane that parallels the main road. I know I lost some time there, but I'm a sort of a romantic ciclotourist...

Arrived at Santa Coloma and turned north towards Vilobí d'Onyar and, on even tinier lanes, to Sant Dalmai. By now I was already some eighty kilometers into the ride and to my left a dark silhouette was menacingly looming: Les Guilleries

By now it was hot and I was running short of water. I was carrying just one bottle (some 750cc) but was fully confident on finding refilling stations. Thinking back now, it was here, in mid-route, where things started to go wrong. So early in the season my body was not already used to high temperatures and, by now, I was not aware of my present state of dehydration.  Leaving Anglès found the foreseen refilling spot (a gas station) closed. Don't worry -I thought- you are entering a forested area and the climb to Mines d'Osor is not that long. I knew a small restaurant there (the only one, in fact) from a brevet some years ago, so things were not going serious, or so I thought...
Entering the Massís de les Guilleries is like riding into fairy land. Thick forests with lots of brooks and springs. The murmur of running water pervades the air through most of the twenty five kilometer long climb to Sant Hilari.

By now I was feeling strangely tired and was not enjoying the ride anymore. Arriving in Mines d'Osor I found the restaurant closed! What now? Ride on to Osor boy!  My memories of this climb from the aforementioned brevet were fairly good but now it was boiling hot and I was clearly bogging down.
By the time I arrived in Osor (see picture below) my brain was not working properly, I found no store open in the main street and instead of stopping and meandering the streets for water I foolishly pressed on (just the thing an experience randonneur is not expected to do!)

Climbed the remaining fifteen kilometres in agony, stopping here and there to rest (and to take the last pic). To make things worse I needed to face the dirty job of removing the rear wheel to fix a persistent and irritating noise (something was half-stuck between tire and fender)

Arriving in Sant Hilari I was clearly behind schedule but felt too tired and too frustrated to take the trouble of working out the exact amount of lost time.
I was still obsessed with finding a gas station to refill my bottle (and body) so I stopped at a bar and asked some guys (that looked like regulars) if the gas station exiting the town was open. One of them approached me with a tipsy gait, stared at me and my bike and said pointing ma petite reine "It burns petrol?"  I was not in the mood for a joke so I replied sternly "No. It's for me"   "Do you drink petrol?"  This was becoming too much and I was getting exasperated  "No" I replied. "I want to get something to drink there!".  "And why don't you have it here in the bar?" he reasoned.  This time my brain picked up, yes... a bar, a place where people go to drink, yes...
After refueling at the bar and eating a sandwich I started the descend towards Arbúcies and Hostalrich. Something was not going well, I was still feeling clumsy, not braking in time before the curves, my seat was aching, I was in a bad mood... I had all the unequivocal signs and symptoms of a bonk!
Despite this I refused the easy ride all downhill to Hostalrich and arriving at Sant Feliu de Buixalleu turned right to climb the short Coll de N'orri just on the feet of Montsoriu castle. Why? Well, it's a personal homage to somebody (no comments, sorry)
The return leg was... dull. I have no real memories of it. Managed to cycle home in zombie-mode. Stopped once more at a gas-station in La Roca to refill again and crawled home while seriously considering my ability to endure a "Diagonal" in a couple of months or so...  Two hundred and nine kilometres, lots of climbing and even more lots of ... sweating in a boiling hot day to forget.

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