Cycling in Northern Spain
The historic city of Girona lies in the Catalan region of Northern Spain. Fans of Game of Thrones may recognise its old town, which has been used as a set for the hit TV series. But even those who haven’t discovered the show will be drawn in by the cobbled streets, ancient courtyards and stone facades that lie within the city walls.
Triathletes might wonder what the city has to offer them other than for a spot of down time. Well Jan Frodeno, 2008 Olympic Gold Medallist and 2015 World Ironman champion, calls the place home, so it must have something going for it.
Fifty or so professional cyclists and two pro teams are also based in the city.
The cycling opportunities are perhaps the chief attraction as a training destination, with dozens of routes around the city, taking in rolling countryside, more mountainous roads heading towards the Pyrenees and some glorious roads along the Costa Brava coastline. You can rent high-specification bikes locally, if you wish, and the city even has a cycling festival – http://gironagranfondo.com/
Greenways, along the routes of former rail lines, and miles of dirt road in and around the city make for pleasant and forgiving terrain for running. There is scope for open water training in local lakes and 30 minutes by road away there are the beach resorts of the Mediterranean, but Frondeno has been spotted at the indoor/outdoor swimming pool and gym facilities at Santa Ponsa.
As well as its historic centre, the city also boasts great dining, with dozens of lovely restaurants and cafes; not sure they do ‘carb-loading’ however at El Celler de Can Roca, the three Michelin Starred ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ according to Restaurant magazine.
This area of Spain also enjoys a delightfully sunny and mild climate, making it a good place to visit and train year-round; perhaps why so many pros have chosen to make the place home.
Girona Cycle Centre is in city’s old town and offers high specification bike rental, as well as advice on training and routes, along with guided bike tours of the region. https://www.gironacyclecentre.com/