GironaGranFondo Day 2: Getting back to fondo-mentals

Concerns have been piling up lately. This is the destiny of the adult. Work things, fam-friends relationshit, multiple fragmenting histories, action accountability, geopolitics,  interior design, epistemological dilemmas, impending ecosystem and climatic melt down, privilege, the Astana question, homesickness, millenials, nutritional clinical interventions, the French football league, Richie Porte's winnebago, isolationist tendencies, robotics, home ownership, wine selection, China, Japan, the Borg, Russia, Qatar, FIFA, Tony Abbott, Astana, the USA, Astana, kitedeath, the UCI, Old School publishing models, power meters, game of thrones, the buddha, the Astana question...after awhile it's just...arrrrrhhhh!!! Fuck! Arrgggh!...fuck. How to place one's molecules in all this?...

So I'm glad to be here in Girona for the 2nd #gironagranfondo. 2nd year looks about twice as big as last year and it's good to see some faces from a year back and meet some new bike folks. Like Dutch John who has a porcelain plate to prove he has ridden every Northern classic, Anne & Dave from Melbourne (paediatricians, tough bike riders & pro-probiotics in certain situations), Massachusetts Jeff an inventor and girona regular, Team Mulebar TT winner Natalie (sorry I called you Lisa), Halo Mike (awesome El Angels TT & women's cycling project dude), legendary local rider Josep, Ian Stannard who rides hard, loves massages and does NOT ride for Team RupDawg & the Skybots... and of course Dave & Saskia, owners of Gironabikebreaks and the legends that do all the hard work to make a week long event with 300 bike riders from around the world work so well. Chapeau and many other salutations to those guys.

It's one of the good things about riding, riding events like this - it demands your full attention. Concerns slip away. Can't go deep on some of the prosaic elements of life? Screw it. Go deep on the awesome roads around Girona...bury yeself if you so choose. Most do.

Els Angels time trial
After a gentle shop-organised ride yesterday that included Garmin-Cannondale pro Ted King for those on the #gironagranfondo Gold package, today was the Els Angels 10.4k uphill time trial. It is rumoured Hunter S Thompson wrote part of his bikie book Hell's Angels on this hill, although this is disputed by all but the eastern Catalan school of Thompsonologists. One to follow for all you Greensboro Review of Literature subscribers out there. Get your hands up people! We don't see any Harley Davidsons today though as it's closed roads for our event. Sweet.

An English lad named Lee Comerford won it by a way (about 30 seconds in 22:39) from Neil Martin, dad of Dan who is another Garmin-Cannondale pro who won Il Lombardia last year after an injury bashed season. Neil won last year's 125k fondo we will ride on Saturday. Former Olympian, still a demon on the bike at 50+.

Aforementioned Natalie (Creswick) came 5th overall (24:15) to win the women's and a nice TagHeuer watch, just like Lee. Kudos to Halo Mike for a fine 6th. Loads of other cool swag, as Ted King described it, was handed out to various winners at the Els Angels summit before we chowed down on some pasta washed down with some local rosé.

I went from 40-50 years winner last year to 8th in the category which I was fine with as the field had grown a lot (as has the whole event) and I had actually ridden a faster time (28:11). But I had the frustrating feeling I hadn't gone quite deep enough so it was good that after Natalisa, a Californian family & myself did the next hill over (apparently known as 'the hincapie loop'), to leave something more on the Santa Pellaia climb, gentle as it is, with the storm clouds arriving from the north.

That's what's cool about a fondo...the nice blend between formal-informal, the many different levels. But everyone's keen to ride a lot, find their fondo-level. I know I am...

When I got back to casa Lila where I am staying near the cathedral, Lila's arthritic black cat Negredo approached like it had been slurping tequila all day and crashed into my shin before rolling onto its feet and collapsing again.
'Nice one Negredo,' I mumble, moving into the kitchen to make a banana whey milk shake.
The rain was coming down now but the forecast tomorrow is hot. Might be time to get up the Rocacorba...


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