Olot to Ripoll - Dreaming On - Over the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 17, 2022

Olot to Ripoll

After more rain overnight, we woke to the sun breaking through the clouds and promising a good day of riding.  We headed out of the quiet, Saturday morning town, skirting the volcano and soon were on a long, steady uphill.  The N260A was quite busy with cyclists, mostly roadies, and a few mountain bikers aiming for one of the many dirt tracks signposted in the region, as well as groups of motor bikers out for a Saturday ride.  We made good time and were feeling energetic after 12km when we came to the decision point.  We chose the slightly longer and higher route and turned on to the quiet GI521.  This road was also narrower with overhanging trees providing shade, more twisty and a much calmer atmosphere - maybe fewer motorbikes?  
It was a delightful ride all the was up to the Coll de Santigosa, and then we had the unbridled joy of zooming down a mountain road with a manageable pitch, smooth pavement, plenty of turns, fabulous views and little traffic.  Elated and a bit sad it was done, we pulled into the lovely little town of Sant Joan de les Abadesses where we looked for restaurants.  We were tempted but thinking that it would be our big meal of the day, it seemed more sensible to finish the last 10km, gently down to Ripoll and eat there.  For this section we chose the bike trail, which was slower and a bit rougher than the road, but so much more relaxed to be away from the cars and trucks.  
In the old centre of Ripoll we found a 'mas autentico' restaurant with red chequered tablecloths, middle-aged stout waitresses and a reasonable menu del dia.  For a starter, Steven ordered the Catalan beans, imagining a plate of long, green beans with a light sauce, but instead got a large bowl of fava beans swimming in a thick gravy with chunks of beef.  Not what was expected, but tasty and very hearty.  For the main course, we shared the most delicious and huge paella and plenty of white wine.  Good thing we only had a couple hundred metres to the hotel.
In the evening we wandered the town, which had come alive with the cars and fans of a rally race that may have been held on our route as we saw signs that the road was closed in the afternoon for a special event.  I imagine it would be a fun road to drive, but am glad we cycled it.  

Looks like it’s going to be a great day for cycling. The view from our window in Olot.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Starting up the long incline.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Still cloudy but nice views down to the Valley below.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 6 Comment 1
David MathersJust follow the white line!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Heart 2 Comment 0
The first pass of the day.
Heart 7 Comment 0
Turning onto the GI 521 at 11am we appreciated a much quieter and more shaded road.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The high point of today’s ride
Heart 7 Comment 0
And down the other side. It was so cool that Ann dug out her long Gore-Tex coat. Are we missing last week’s heat on the Costa Brava? Our first glimpse of real mountains ahead.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Rich FrasierIt seems to us like the weather has turned to fall here - not very far north of where you are. We’ve broken out the jackets, too.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
ann and steve maher-wearyYes, still nice during the day but cool in the morning and evening.

It is looking like we may not make it to Carcassonne and your way until we are back in the spring. We think we will leave our bikes in Toulouse.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Coming into Sant Joan de les Abadesses
Heart 4 Comment 0
Zoom in on the left to read the quote.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 9 Comment 1
David MathersThat does look like a very good paella 🥘
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Some lovely buildings in Ripoll
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 1
Jacquie GaudetLooks like a fairy-tale witch's habitation! Except for the cross on top, of course.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
A man on the street told us this house was built by a disciple of Gaudi in 1900 and is owned by a local doctor.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Rally cars from today's race were buzzing around town and then parked in front of the church and town hall. Glad our hotel is on the other side of the river, it may be a loud night!
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 37 km (23 miles)
Total: 354 km (220 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Patrick O'HaraReally enjoying the journal and you rekindling some old memories for us on our way through here in 2018. Good luck in the Pyrenees!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
ann and steve maher-wearyThanks Patrick
I see your 2018 blog on the other site. We are planning on going to Laruns too, so will reread your blog when we are closer. Thanks for following.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago