Sep 16, 2010

My Dream Evening

Leaving Barcelona was bitter sweet. Although it was one of the most interesting places I’ve visited, I was excited to get up the coast. Riding into Barcelona was one of the toughest bike rides I had ever been on. I was praying that leaving would be the opposite.

The strong coastal wind that was pounding me from the front (that’s what she said) was now hurling me up the coast at an average speed of 23 mile per hour. As the miles clicked away, I wondered how far I could make it today. My original plan was to finish the 80 mile trip to Girona. However, much before four hours had passed, I was already outside of the city limits. It was a rather hot Thursday afternoon and I started to fantasize about drinking beer on the beach of some amazing seaside town. Riding all day through the dull Spanish countryside deserved some type of reward. Beer and the beach was my destiny. Remembering all of the small beach towns I passed near the French border, I hammered along the flat highway with a dream.

Chasing me from the southwest were some nasty looking storm clouds. I hadn’t seen rain in a week so I quickly dismissed the idea of getting caught in a storm. My dream evening was far too perfect and I wouldn’t be happy settling down anywhere else. The sound of the waves crashing onto the beach, the feeling of sand on my battered feet, the taste of cold beer flowing into my slightly dehydrated body… It all sounded too perfect to pass on. Storm or not, I was going to make it.

My Garmin had just clicked past 90 miles when the clouds settled in above me. The winds started to howl and the temperatures immediately dropped 10 degrees. I knew I was getting close to the coast, but continuing on was a serious gamble. In the outskirts of Figures, I headed into a small town in search of some directions. The sun was still barely peaking through the black sky. I found a small, seemingly cozy hotel that would have been perfect for one night. It had one hitch… it was 19 miles from the coast. I forged on into the dark afternoon.

Feeling an imaginary parachute attached to my back, I dragged myself through the brutal headwind. I was only 7 miles away from Llanca, a small Spanish beach town, when the storms hit. At this point, I didn’t even know if I would be able to find shelter in Llanca. But, it was the first town near the sea, and my dream evening was much too important to me after 101 miles of riding under the scorching Spanish sun.

Llanca was indeed a beautiful and small coastal village. My dreams would have been a reality… if the rain would have ever stopped. After carrying 40lbs of gear 108 miles in less than 6 hours, I was greeted by a rain drenched beach. Luckily, I found a nice, inexpensive hotel across from the beach. After a shower, I headed across the street to a small bar for that cold beer “on the beach.” I guess only some dreams can become a reality.

The next evening I was back in Perpignan for a fairly exhilarating two days involving some attempted cliff diving, some mountain running, and one terrifying evening from the back of a scooter. These few days were unlike my last stay in Perpignan in that I now had a plan. Beziers was 90 miles away and I was going to make it there for their biggest street party of the year, La Feria!

Cheers from Llanca!

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