Bang, here it is, first report popping out of a bowl of sugary breakfast donuts (actually a real Spanish thing) from the massive #AT40 tour. A tad delayed as we’ve been getting busy being as Euro as fuck and generally riding bikes, and riding them a whole shit load more than even I anticipated. Also turns out that Spain is producing more awesome material than a hacked e-mail server, so bear with me as I attempt to cough it all up.

But that’s all to cum soon, first, we need to start at the absolute start here, as an early player in this Spanish game has been a silent intruder. An unseen enemy waiting to finger any semi-PRO rider daring enough to escape the shackles of the roads/trails around their house and venture further afield:

Jetlag

And let’s be realistic, after 35 hours from Wellington to Auckland, then Auckland to Houston (yes, in fucking Texas, Murica, Fuck yeah) and then Houston to Frankfurt (Gott en Himmel) and then Frankfurt to Barcelona, if any motherfucker had a business case for a good dose of feeling like you’re drunk and concussed at the same time in the middle of the day, its this man:

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You’d be smiling like that too if your bike bag made the most insane connections possible

There is no real scientific way to deal with this shit, so I resorted to the Dirty 7 step process to try and ride it out, let’s see how effective we were with beating the lag and commencing the Spanish Maximisation (and yes, I am trying to avoid like fuck the use of the cliche ‘inquisition’ every time I type ‘Spanish’).

Step 1 – Feed them at La Fabrica

And generally be a tourist cunt, which as a critical first step means stopping in preferably narrow streets randomly to have your photo taken in what may or most likely isn’t a spot of historical significance.

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“Wait, this isn’t Courtenay place? Where the FUCK am I?”

Once you’ve done that 6-15 times and your balls are now clammy as fuck because you’re still in your plane clothes (Thanks SQ for making it 6 degs overnight on the flight) and its 460 degrees of raw Spanish heat in Girona at 2pm, find La Fabrica, the artisanal as absolute fuck cycling cafe and indulge in a menu of stuff that you had never considered putting together in a dish. This place is indeed so artisanal it puts French bakers to shame:

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After 5 minutes of confusion, I had to let AT know it was written in Spanish. And that he was sitting on a treasure chest

Ideally make sure your jLag victim has enough coffee that its now hard to tell if they’re shaking due to caffeine overdose or sleep deprivation. Its fun as it keeps everyone guessing.

Step 2 – Unleash overly palatial accommodation onto them 

For best results, pick a place that no one has ever heard of, in the middle of nowhere. This may also coincide with it being in the one spot of the valley thats 400 degs temperature wise, just to ramp up that scrotum sweat which is now peaking out after the 1 hour 40 minute drive from Barca.

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The Rapha travel HQ secret is out

Step 3 – Dress up in Lycra, get a PRO stiffy and watch La Vuelta live on TV

And in fucken Spanish as well, which means you have no fucking idea what’s going on and you then actually have to watch it instead of checking your phone every 24 seconds like a junkie with an anti-social media OCD. We felt sad about this, but it did make us sort of concentrate on people riding bikes in a way we never can… #PROasfuck

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#whatdoesitsayontheback #whataretheysayingonTV

By now, the froth factor and body odour should be off the charts… Ensure your crew don’t collapse backwards into a coma and instead, use questionable judgement to suggest its time to head outdoors.

Step 4 – Shake it like a polaroid picture 

Ah yes, finally some actual cycling – Time to head out and hit those sweet Spanish backroads you scoped out like porn on Google maps street view. Find quickly they’re even better in person.

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They even have castles and old shit

This step also coincides with all the following posts to come where I only take photos from behind, matched by similar Go PRO footage. Its not a fetish, its convenience… But it became clear that these mint Spanish roads could quickly become a fetish on their own:

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34 degs at 6pm…

There was even a lake and trees and shit. I skilfully managed to nail the trees in shot, not so much the lake…

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Ticking off the Banyoles lake tour

This was a shake down spin of the highest quality, even if AT had forgotten how to speak English. He was smiling and only dribbling occasionally, so on to Step 5.

Step 5 – Smash Gelato like a skinny BOSS

After initially resisting this step, I assume through Jetlag drunkenness, I finally convinced the delirious man child that Lemon Gelato was indeed a critical part of his recovery and the path to righteousness. He agreed to massacre the punnet as long as I didn’t put pics of it on the internet. Deal.

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The rain man smile and dead zombie eyes – Someone needs a nap

Step 6 – Pick a fight with a bike shop mechanic who is helping you on the spot

Importantly for this point, you only speak English and they only speak Spanish – Allowing significant scope for wild hand gestures and gesticulations. Stand back and watch as the world’s most jet lagged person tries to explain the intricacies of the BMC steerer insert whilst wondering in the back of their punch drunk mind why the fuck he’s taking the fork out to replace a brake cable outer.

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I helped by taking photos – This was a confusion rich environment

Find amusement in the workshop anarchy as a 5 min job becomes 45 minutes… Then find it less amusing as you realise sun light is departing rapidly.

Step 7 – Trust google maps ‘cycling routes’ and say “Cunt” a lot through gritted teeth

Step 6 put us squarely in the “we must hurry home” club, which links to the critical ingredient here: Its essential to not only take a different route home, but to do so while you’re losing daylight. Ideally there is the real threat of sundown whilst you suddenly find yourselves trapped in a random forest where sodomy and pig squealing is actively encouraged.

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When you’re that tired, zero fucks are given about anything – Even the fact there’s no longer a road

For best results, the road you’re on should turn into a mountain bike trail at precisely the point where its too late to pull out (you know it, we’ve all been there… That’s a gender agnostic comment as well gang #promiseIwont #itwillbesweet) before sunset, thus making you committed to riding your new road bike/panzerwagon down a trail which essentially hates road bikes. Oddly, I was suddenly concerned that we weren’t going to make the dinner reservation… Priorities.

As ride leader and person on map detail, you need to say “Fuck this cunt” a lot through gritted teeth and then fight your organisational OCD’s as much as you can to “Embrace the adventure and funny side of this experience.” When not cursing through gritted teeth, try to remember how to build a shelter in a foreign forest.

Then, after this off road fun cuntery goes on for 15 minutes longer than your comfort zone allows for, garnish this cunt up with you guessed it, the one thing that’s been in your head for the last 14 minutes:

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I assisted while AT punched out the world’s fastest and most tired front tube change

I know I said I wanted a Stigmata, but this off roading on road bike business can absolutely go fuck itself. You could smell the relief and bewilderment when we finally finished the Grinduro action and got back on track with just enough illumination to get back to HQ.

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“Can I please sleep for 18 hours now?”

Finish the day off with beers and a giant cooked meat snack which your body can’t manage to process at all, allowing you to surrender to unconsciousness while cured meats attack your intestines.

And that folks is the scene setter on Day 1 of the #AT40 tour, as a sneak peak Day 2 and 3 have just gone mega next level on the riding front, so stay tuned for all the Spanish goodness cuming direct from Girona and its banger back roads.

One Response

  1. Nic

    The perfect novella aka blog post…. starts well, a few adventures, a villain, a struggle, anticipation of whether the hero will survive or not laced with humour to give the reader hope and then a delightful disney ending of happily ever after. You could publish that shit. 😉

    Reply

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