What is The Girona cycling Festival all about?
The Girona Cycling Festival is fast approaching for 2019 and rumour has it, it’s going to be one to remember! This year marks the 6th edition.
The Festival is shaped around three key events ; The Els Àngels Hill Climb, The Nocturn Barri Vell criterium and the spectacle event that rounds out the week superbly – The Girona Gran Fondo with Rocacorba Challenge.
The Els Àngels Hill Climb, featuring Girona’s most renowned local ascent ‘Els Àngels’ is a true battle against the clock. At 10.4km in distance, it may sound a little daunting. However, with a relatively low average gradient many parts of the climb can be tackled at speed and finishing times in past editions have been nothing short of fast. This is the perfect way to kick start the week, dust the cobwebs out of the legs and meet competitors. Following efforts, a well earned ‘pasta party’ takes place a top to replenish the engines for a big week ahead and enjoy a toast or two with new friends of the peloton.
The Nocturn Barri Vell criterium up next is a truly unique ‘crit-like’ event around the old town cobbled streets of Girona. Setting off at 8.30pm, riders line up ready for action with lights buzzing, a bundle of nerves in knowing the pain they are about to experience is just around the corner. Participants will have 1 hour to produce their five best laps (average) and ultimate best lap. The timed section is a gruelling cobbled climb right alongside the incredible Girona cathedral – often providing the perfect moment for spectators and supporters to capture the odd ‘pain face’ and be right up close to all the action.
In past editions it’s been won not only with strength and power but tactic and prowess – from organised lead outs into the climb, to picking and choosing laps within the hour to lay it all on the line and taking the remainder of the lap to enjoy the crowds, recover and reset for the next effort.
Not just one for the riders, this event is a true spectacle to watch and only gets bigger and better every year as locals, visitors and the cycling community line the streets together to cheer on participants. The beauty of this event and in fact all GCF events is that all levels can compete and ride together, yet still be challenged individually and ranked separately. This provides that extra camaraderie out on the bike and only strengthens the social aspect of the Festival as a whole.
For the future cyclists of the family there is an open kids race starting at 20:00h.
To round out the evening a post crit barbecue and prize giving will take place in the Festival ‘Race Village’ handily located just behind the cathedral and offering the perfect chance to wind down over a burger and a beer.
Last, yet certainly not least is the ever popular Girona Gran Fondo Sportive. Since its inception, the course has been a stunning 125km rolling loop from Girona out to Olot and via the Garroxta Volcanic region. Challenging, yet manageable and mostly along quiet, rolling back roads will make for an enjoyable day out on the bike.
In 2016, participants asked for more of a challenge and that is exactly what they got with the optional addition of the ‘Rocacorba challenge’ to the current Gran Fondo route. Early into the event, Rocacorba goers will veer off course and tackle the climb, while regular route riders will continue on. The Rocacorba challenge’s timing will commence at the base and finish at the top of the relentless 10km climb.
Rocacorba is famously known within the cycling world as one of Girona’s best, yet toughest climbs. Used as a key form tester by many professional road riders living in the area; its steep, unforgiving nature is not one to tread on lightly. Safe to say, it is expected and advised that challengers train up to the event appropriately. The challenge extends the total Gran Fondo distance to a lengthy 142km and judging by the faces of relief on completion in 2018 -a challenge it was.
A big bonus and differential to your everyday Gran Fondo are the ever impressive feed zones throughout the course supported and run by local Girona businesses. Word on the street is that for the 2019 edition, no one will be wanting to leave the feed zone with the Rocacorba Food Truck and Local Market taking on the challenge. Following last years Federal Cafe quinoa salad and Sleep & Stay’s fruit frenzy, they are sure to be bringing their A games – the anticipation has begun!
To complete the week on a high, a post Gran Fondo Botifarrada (Catalan BBQ) will take place in the Race Village following a tough yet memorable day out on the bike. Always a social occasion with great banter, beers, food and an overall prize giving – not jut for the category winners but the overall raffle which in the past has included Cannondale bikes and a list of other must-haves.
To add to the competitive side of things, in 2017 an ‘overall’ prize category was added to the equation – ‘The Omnium’. The Omnium is a points based competition and the perfect opportunity to recognise the ‘all rounders’ and consistent performers. For each of the three events the first 100 riders are offered points, with first place receiving 100 and 10th place -1 point. Concluding the three events, the rider (male/female) with the most points will be the overall Omnium winner and for 2019 we hear the prize is set to be a Cannondale bike. Worth the effort? Yes!
The week isn’t all about riding bikes and from day one to conclusion there is always something going on; from daily group ‘coffee’ rides rolling out from Bike Breaks Shop every morning and caffeine fuelled by the Broomwagon, to Festival dinners at some of Girona’s best local hot spots, pre/post event parties or just general ‘hang out’s’ at the central meeting point, the Festival Race Village; providing the perfect mix of chill and social.
This Festival is just as much or even more all for the social aspect of cycling and less so on the serious-competitive side. The constant activity throughout the week certainly creates a pretty special atmosphere for Festival goers and over the years life long friendships have been developed and countless memories retained. Over the years the Festival has drawn travellers and cyclists from across the globe.
CHECK OUT SOME EXTRA ACTIVITIES WE DID IN 2018!
Tuesday 12th of June at 19:00h
One of the perks of being a gold pack member is you get to experience some unique activities in and around Girona. And this is one of them. Specially for the Girona Cycling Festival, Girona Food Tours has designed the ´gira d'aliments daurats´- the Golden Food Tour. This exclusively tour will take you past local vendors and have you tasting some great, local produce. Learn all about the world of ham, taste some typical Gironès dishes and enjoy local cava & wines. Not only great fun, but you´ll also learn more about Girona, its local food, local stories and local people. A great experience! For more information about Girona Food Tours you can visit their website.
Live jewellery-making session at Jordi Rosich's workshop.
The secret workshop of Jordi Rosich where the best diamonds in the city sleep.
Beneath one of Girona's most emblematic streets, Rambla de la Llibertat, lies the secret workshop of Jordi Rosich.
This is where Rosich designs and traditionally creates all his haute joaillerie collections, nestling below his boutique: ROOSIK&CO.
Not only will he be supplying our fabulous watches given as prizes in the Hill Climb, he will also be doing an exclusive tour of his private workshop and demonstration of his creative jewelry making process.
Exclusive for Gold Pack members.
As always there will be a daily shop ride from Bike Breaks or the race village during the festival week.
One of our fantastic hosts for this Girona Cycling Festival edition is:
MASIA CAN PORTELL:
COLORFUL MUSIC & CHILL STOP
Our second hosts are the lovely owners of the Masia Can Portell, an original farmhouse from 1689 transformed into a large wonderful space.
With a 2.5 acre garden with cosy seating areas, secret places and hammocks, deffinitely a gorgeous plot with a vast terrace, a salt water pool and shady meadows.
Riders will be welcomed into the colorful musical haven for a drink in the gradens and the option to enjoy their fantastic pool.
Following on from the success of last year's kids race we will again be giving the little cyclists a crack at the nocturn course before the big cyclists go.
Please, send us an e-mail if you like to register your little cyclist. Entry is free, numbers are limited!
- Age group 1: from 5 to 8
- Age group 2: from 9 to 12
There will be goodie bags, race numbers and medals.
Friday 15th of June at 10:00h from the Race VillageOur friends over at Gravet Sèries, organisers of fantastic local gravel ride adventures have put together a 70km gravel ride specially for the Girona Cycling Festival. We have 25 places available for Gold and Silver Pack entries only, don't miss out, join in! Pre-registration required. Gold and Silver pack only.