Catalonia: Donkey Week

$7,450

Varied terrain, a warm climate, and an airport. These are the reasons that Girona tops the list of any professional cyclist looking for a home. But the city, and the region of Catalonia in general, has so much more to offer riders – especially if your list of priorities puts food and fun times a little higher than race-winning fitness.

This part of Spain isn’t just a mecca for bike riders, either. There might be more tourists in Barcelona, but the Catalonian capital’s sister city is preferred by more experienced travelers who know that Girona is second-to-none when it comes to serious cuisine and culture. From Roman ruins to the hippest bars and eateries, it has something for everyone.

Ted King is a veteran of the pro peloton and a friend of inGamba, and using his first-hand experience of living and training in the area he has designed an unforgettable week to add some Spanish heat to our calendar. From to the foothills of the Pyrenees to the picturesque Costa Brava beaches, we’ll show you one of the world’s very best cycling destinations like it’s never been seen before.

Our Donkey Week trips are for riders seeking a challenge! They involve more mileage and more climbing than other packages. 

Included With Trip:

All lodging*

    • All food and beverages**
    • Pinarello Dogma F10 Disk with SRAM RED eTap AXS
    • Daily Bike Wash
    • One Giordana FRc custom inGamba cycling kit
    • Daily post-ride massage from a professional soigneur
    • Laundry service for cycling clothing

    *Pre/post-trip lodging is not included

    **Beverages ordered by guests beyond normal amounts and away from group activities will incur additional charges

Trip at a Glance

Start Location :

Barcelona

Finish Location:

Barcelona

Days Riding:

7

Group Size:

8-12

Total Distance:

701km

Total Elevation:

8,880m

Longest Day:

Day 6. Port de la Selva 178km

Biggest Climbing Day :

Day 6. Port de la Selva 2014m

...

Day by Day Breakdown

1

Caldes de Malavella

¡Bienvenido a España! This short loop should give you an introduction to the area and whet your appetite for the week to come. We’ll begin by leaving the Hotel Camiral and heading north, passing through the quaint village of Brunyola, where there will be a short, gentle climb to help shake the cobwebs out after your flight. We’ll then head south as far as Sils, through an area that was mostly underwater before being drained in the 19th century. Your bike should be perfectly set up, but if there’s an issue, now is the best time to speak to your mechanic and get it dialled in.
2

Els Angels

Today’s ride brings us north through Girona before heading west into the foothills of the Pyrenees and towards the Santuari dels Àngels. This area is full of lush woodlands and quiet, and on a clear day the views are wonderful. After turning south at the charming village of Monells, there’s a modest climb to the medieval church at Santa Pellaia, followed by a fun descent and a flat run home to the PGA Catalunya.
3

Sant Hilari Sacalm

This is a long one, but all of the climbing is in the first half, so don’t let the distance intimidate you. We will first ascend to Sant Hilari Sacalm, before climbing deeper into the lush green valleys of the Guilleries Massif, where our highest point will be the Santuari del Coll. It’s a popular climb amongst the locals, and some stretches touch on 16% gradients, but don’t worry, as ever you’ll be well-supported by our expert guides.
4

Tossa de Mar

With around 1,175m of elevation gain, this ride is hardly flat, but there are no major climbs to worry about today as we cruise the shoreline on some wonderfully curvaceous and undulating coastal roads. The day begins uphill as far as Llagostera, after which we’ll descend through woodland towards the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean. After passing through Tossa del Mar, it’s time to head north and take in the full beauty of the Costa Brava as we roll through beautiful towns like Sant Feliu de Guíxols on our way to our new home in Empúries, famed for its Greco-Roman ruins and its unspoilt beaches.
5

Santa Pellaia

This is going to be a long day in the saddle, but it promises to be a fun one too as we tackle more of the the Massís de l’Ardenya (aka Massís de Cadiretes) mountains, with three sizeable climbs to test your legs. Starting out south, there will be stunning views, and an opportunity to roll through La Bisbal d’Empordà, an ancient town that will give you some idea of Catalonia’s rich history and culture. The two biggest climbs will come in the second half of the ride, after we pass Sant Feliu de Guíxols and ascend to Sant Grau on a winding, 7km climb that averages 5.5 % but has sections touching on 14%. After that, there’s still the 6km climb to Santa Pellaia, so keep something in the tank.
6

Port de la Selva

With 178km of riding and more than 2,000m in elevation, this ride is not for the faint of heart. That said, the payoff is huge. We begin by heading north, passing the little fishing town of Roses and over our first climb of the day, through vineyards, complete with sea views, on our way to El Port de la Selva. Continuing up the coastline, we’ll cross the border and head as far as the ancient town of Collioure, where we’ll turn west into the Massif des Albères for some more climbing over the Col du Perthus, where Hannibal and his armies crossed the Pyrenees on their way to invade Italy. From there, we still have 50km to go, but it’s an easy and enjoyable descent back into Catalonia and home to Empúries.
7

Sant Mori

Our Sant Mori is always a pleasure, rolling through historic Empúries and on out into the rolling landscape to explore the little villages like Vilaür and Sant Miquel de Fluvià that dot the Catalan countryside. With only one easy hill in the middle to contend with, there should be plenty of time to chat and enjoy the surroundings with your fellow guests.

YOUR Guides

Manuel Cardoso

The Quiet Crusher

Manuel Cardoso is no longer sitting on the front of the pack, pulling everyone along at what some would describe as a “brisk” pace and what others are unable to describe at all, because they're too busy gasping for breath and holding onto the wheel in front of them for dear life. Manuel is now sitting just slightly off the back of the pack. As I look back, I realize he has that look on his face. The look which struck fear in the hearts of the Pro Peleton for many years. The look which is part grin, part mischievous child and all business. He is about to start some shenanigans. Sure enough, just a few kilometers later and Manuel has picked one lucky contestant out of the pack and they are sitting-in, waiting, like predators, for the perfect moment. For Manuel, just like when he raced pro, this is when the road turns slightly up, a spot in the road where it gets tough for everyone. And he accelerates with his breakaway “partner” in tow. It is something to see. He ramps it up to a speed with which no one can latch onto the back and with such precision you have to question whether or not you actually want to try and close the gap he has created. And you can’t see it, but you just know, he is grinning from ear-to-ear.

André Cardoso

The Zealous One

When he was but a wee-tot André fell in love with the majesty of cycling. The racers used to come to his hometown once a year and he would set his alarm clock to wake him in the wee-hours of the morning, so he could run to town and take in all the majesty of the days races. It wasn’t too much longer he started bugging his father for a bicycle of his own. His father thought it was a fad, his father told him he loved everything and his father thought this love affair would pass like so many young men's dreams. But his father finally caved to young André’s drive to ride the bike and bought him a bright and shiny race machine from the local shop. André went on to finish on the podium in his local race, then pile up a huge list of professional palameres and, luckily for us, his love of bicycling has never faltered.

BIKE OPTION

PINARELLO DOGMA F10 DISK

FRAMESET:

Pinarello Dogma F10 Disk

COCKPIT:

ZIPP Service Course SL

GRUPPO:

SRAM RED eTap AXS

PEDALS:

Speedplay (or your own)

SADDLE:

Selle Italia

WHEELSET:

Zipp 302 Carbon Clinchers

TIRES:

Vittoria Corsa CX

BOTTLE CAGES:

Elite Custom Race

BIDON:

Elite Corsa Team

COMPUTER:

Garmin Edge 820