Friday, March 29, 2013

La Calçotada

Catalan Traditions in Cycling in Girona

This past weekend we partook in a great Catalan tradition: La Calçotada!

A Calçotada is a get together of friends and family for a backyard afternoon calçot feast in late winter or early spring.

Calçots are a special type of green onion originally from the Valls area south of Barcelona. The tradition of the Calçotada has reached nearly all areas of Catalunya. There are restaurants that specialize in them and they usually give you a big bib and gloves, or better yet, make them at home.

La Calçotada in Cycling in Girona

 The calçots are grilled, wrapped in newspaper to stay warm and grow more tender and then traditionally served on curved roofing tiles. While the grill is still warm, you can throw some botifarra on the grill, large sausages, to enjoy at the end of the meal.

Bikecat Catalan Traditions
Bikecat Catalan Traditions

Now, to tell the novices from the experts, no bibs or gloves, time to get good and dirty. You hold the onion with the bulb part down and gently slide the outer layers of the onion down. Then dip the onion in romesco sauce, tilt your head back and eat up the tender parts of the onion. When all the calçots are gone, you can try to stuff yourself with a botifarra or two.

I would have more pictures, but I had to hurry up and eat while there were still calçots left!
At the end, you can only hope someone still has the energy to go make coffee.
Time for a walk around the village.

Bikecat Cycling in Girona

Monday, March 18, 2013

La Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Volta a Catalunya - Stage 1 (with Bikecat)

La Volta a Catalunya is the fourth-oldest cycling stage race in the world. It was held for the first time in 1911, only behind the Tour de France (1903), Tour of Belgium (1908) and the Giro d´Italia (1909).

An early hero of la Volta and a 7 time winner was Mariano Canardo who, when he won his last Volta in 1939 the banner read ¨Year of Victory. Franco Franco Franco¨ of course referring to the winning side of the war and the beginning of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

In the years after the civil war and of WWII, the racers and most people were mainly concerned about earning enough to eat but still their passion for the sport kept the race going.

At La Volta with Joaquim Rodriguez
With Joaquim Rodriguez ¨Purito¨

This is the 93rd edition of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and there is an amazing group of riders: Bradley Wiggins, Joaquim Rodriguez, Christian Vande Velde, Dan Martin, David Zabriskie, Chris Horner, Alejandro Valverde, Ryder Hesjedal, Michele Scarponi and many others.

Today it was certainly exciting to see the start of la Volta in Calella. We have been going to see stages of la Volta for many years and this was the first time it was packed with spectators! There were so many people checking out the cool team cars and trucks, all the new equipment and bikes for the year, walking through and hearing the cyclists yell at their buddies they haven´t seen since last season in many different accents and languages is just thrilling.
Three stages of the Volta come nearby, with Tuesday´s stage starting in Girona. We will be rooting for the local team Garmin, and of course one of the favorites to win Joaquim ¨Purito¨ Rodriguez, a local Catalan.

You can´t help but feel admiration for all of the riders as they show their Incredibly toned racing form, standing next to them can make you feel like a couch potato..or something like that.

Here at Bikecat we wish all of the riders a great race and a wonderful time in Catalonia!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Girona Classics Tour

The Classics are the typical rides the pros do when they train in Girona: Els Angels, Sant Hilari, the Olot Loop, Santa Pellaia (also called the Hincapie Climb),the Costa Brava (amazing ride along the Mediterranean coast), and the challenging Rocacorba and Mare de Deu del Mont climbs.
Mare de Deu del Mont
May 26 - June 2, 2013 Bikecat presents the Girona Classics Tour. A tour everyone can join. You don´t have to be a part of a group, club, etc. to join this tour. We will need at least 6 people to make this tour a go.  Come and see why so many pros choose to live and train in Girona.
We will treat you better than a pro as you have door to door airport transfers, 4 star hotel experience, and support van full of all the goodies. The option to rent a racing bike from the Garmin team, Cervelo or Felt, will make the experience complete.
In the evenings, relax and enjoy little Girona and its many wonderful restaurants and museums.