By Laura Fletcher and Jon Street
8/9 hours or 2 days
Take it easy then enjoy the descent
It’s then north across the plains via Pubol (location of one of Dali’s houses and retreat Brugera de Pubol) to the base of the Serra de Rodes. The first big climb of Serra de Rodes is from the town of Vilajuïga to the viewpoint just before the Monastery de Sant Pere de Rodes. 7.6km at 6%, so not easy! You are then chasing down stunning views of the Mediterranean on the run into El Port de la Selva. The second climb is more forgiving on the way to Cadaques, another 7.6km but only 3% average gradient. Now in Cadaques, you can choose to call it an overnighter or refuel and head back. The return starts with the climb out of Cadaques, 4.6km at 4.9%, followed by an 8km descent back onto the plains. Big climbs out of the way the return to Girona can be flat if you divert through Celra, or stick with the route and climb Els Angels one more time…
A thorough warm up
The ride begins with a familiar start for anyone who has ridden our Els Angels route from Girona. For the first climb, it’s into the tree-lined roads of the Gavarres mountains. Winding your way to the summit and the Santuari dels Àngels (Salvador Dali married here). Pace yourself up the 10km climb and enjoy the stunning scenery. It’s an average gradient of just over 3% and you have a big ride ahead of you! Enjoy the descent and save your legs.
Pubol pit stop
A short distance across the plains from the descent, and roughly 25km into the ride, is the village of Pubol. This may seem a little early for a stop but being the location of both one of Dali’s houses and La Bruguera de Pubol it’s worth the diversion. La Bruguera is an eco-retreat run by cyclists for cyclists and is currently the winter training base for women’s UCI ProTeam Massi – Tactic.
Sightseeing done, it’s time to sit in and settle into your rhythm. You have 50km to cover across the plain before hitting the big climbs of the day.
Ready to climb
Having traversed to the base of the Serra de Rodes, it’s time for the big tests of the ride – 3 climbs over 40km with a total elevation gain of over 975m. The climbing starts just after the town of Vilajuïga and with a few bars and restaurants, this is the ideal place to refuel before the main event.
Ready to climb? The first of the three is the toughest (7.6km long, 460m gain, 6% ave.) and climbs to the imposing Monasterio de Sant Pere de Rodes. It’s well worth the little detour to take in the viewpoint from the Monastery, the panorama of the Med is breathtaking. Now enjoy your descent to El Port de la Selva, with plenty of switchbacks and views to remember it’s a real treat.
Down at sea level... Twice!
Enjoy the small respite as you cruise along in the sea breeze of the Med. It’s a short stint along the beachfront before you head up the second climb to Cadaques. This climb is considerably easier on you than the previous so it’s a good way to gently empty the legs before taking a break. The 7.6k of pedalling rises by just under 250m with an average gradient of 3%. It’s an open winding 5km descent that slowly reveals the beachfront town of Cadaques. Find a beach bar and refuel, you’ve earned it! This is also your opportunity to turn this ride into an overnight excursion, with many hotels to choose from. Cadaques has plenty to offer and more Dali than you can shake a paintbrush at. Enjoy!
Refreshed and ready to ride you leave Cadaques on the same road you arrived on, the third of the three climbs. It’s a gentle 4.6km with 230m of gain at 5% average elevation. Winding up and over the Cap de Creus hills, you are rewarded with a sweeping descent on smooth tarmac. Grab your drops and have some fun!
Getting home is simply retracing your tracks across the plains. So settle into your rhythm and enjoy the spin. You have the option to take it easy via Celra or rack up some more metres and head over Els Angels. Either way, you’ve just completed one of the regions most stunning, and arduous, rides. Well done!
Coming over the top of Cap de Creus we were rewarded with the stunning view of the Med, a beacon for the end of the days journey
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