Rocacorba: GCN’s Epic Cycling Climbs

Rocacorba: GCN’s Epic Cycling Climbs


(metallic whooshing) (rustic flamenco music) – I moved to Girona because I’ve heard it was
a great place for riding but I could never imagine
how incredible it was. It’s cyclists everywhere,
the roads are amazing, the food is incredible, and the weather. Okay, I’m going to stop here because I think I’m getting you jealous and I don’t want that. Today we’re here because I’m going to show
you my favorite ride. It’s called Rocacorba. It’s just up here. And I’m lucky enough because I’m
going to be joined by Heather, our own GTN presenter, and she’s
going to tell us all about it. Let’s come and see. Where is Heather? I told her to meet me here 15 minutes ago. We’re going to be late! – Maya! Hey!
– Really, Heather? Come on, I told you we
were going up Rocacorba! You need all the energy you can get. We’re going up there! – Really? – Oh my god, you’re crazy. – (sighing) I couldn’t resist. I mean, I’ve seen so many pictures of triathletes on Instagram. It’s as beautiful as it looks. (sighing) Give me a second. (lively flamenco music) – You may recognize this road. It’s a cycling paradise for all the riders that live around Girona. Rocacorba is hands-down the most famous and challenging climb in Girona. Pro riders love it but so do amateurs and I think I’ve seen a couple
of triathletes around, too. It is nearly 10 kilometers long, with an average gradient of seven percent. It’s fairly similar to
Sa Calobra in Mallorca. The only thing it does not
have is that many switchbacks. And the good thing here
is that first you go up and then it’s an easy, relaxing downhill straight to the cafe. We set off on the short ride
to the outskirts of Girona to the start of Rocacorba. Heather, you’re really lucky you’re doing this climb with me today because getting to
Rocacorba is not that easy. Even though it’s only 20
kilometers from Girona, once you get to Banyoles, it’s just tricky to get to the start. (rustic flamenco music) We’ve just passed kilometer one, Heather. What do you think? – Well, I think I’m feeling
quite comfortable at this pace, but I’ve still got a lot of gears left and it’s quite deceptive from the camera but this is quite flat at the moment. But I’m concerned by some of
these lumps in front of us. They’re quite intimidating. – That’s what I thought
the first time I did it. I’m like oh, this is easy, especially because the
road is pretty nice, but once you get up there, woo hoo! – [Heather] Can’t wait! – After a short ride, we
were into the first climb. Now this four or five percent we start to see in the
next few kilometers. As you can see, the
pavement is not that smooth. – But still okay. I can cope with this. – Oh yeah, you’re from Britain. (laughing) – Okay.
– I agree. This is not that good for Spanish. What I love about this climb is that every kilometer,
you get a sign like this. It says which kilometer you’re at, the altitude, the percentage,
and then what you’re missing. So we still have 8.8 kilometers to go to the top of Rocacorba. That is 970 meters. It’s a good thing to have. You can just put it like
I’ll get to the next one and next one and get some
information on the road. I was not lying. Gone were the smooth roads. We were onto the true Rocacorba tarmac. – (panting) I thought
you were making it up, with the nice, smooth start. What’s going on here? – No, this is what I talked
about at the beginning. The easy part is just when you start because the tarmac is perfect, but just after that little downhill, you start coming up and
the tarmac is just like if you were riding cobbles. (chuckling) – Yeah, I’ll have to watch out for that on the descent, I think. At least it’s dry today. – Oh yeah, I have a funny
story of the descent. I have a Rocacorba tattoo in my hand. I was coming down and
there was some gravel in one of the switchbacks and I just flew. I think you can still see my skin. I’ll show you. – Okay, great, I look forward to that. (panting) That’s it, I’m now out of gears. That is my bottom gear and Maya, sneakily, has got a compact, so not
only is she stronger than me, she’s got more gears, that witch. I think it’s a little unfair. (uplifting rock music) Oh, there’s a sign, Maya! Are we here, is that it? – Oh, we still have some to go. We’re going to stop because
this is a Spanish thing to do. We always get the photo with the signs. – Well, Maya, you pointed a sign out and I thought, you know, any excuse for just a little
breather to taking a seat. How far have we got to go? – Oh, we still have 400 meters to go. – So we have 1.5 kilometers
left or something, no? – Yeah, but that’s the beauty about Rocacorba, its brutality. You have to suffer it to just enjoy it. – Well, it’s a nice place to stop because behind you right
now, the view is incredible and at least it shows that
we have climbed something. – Yeah, I love the Pyrenees. (uplifting rock music) – Well, this is a teeny respite but we’ve only got a couple of K to go. That’s what Maya said. We’ve got about as much climbing to go as we’ve done in the last 8K,
which concerns me slightly, and this might be the last
time that I have enough oxygen to talk to you guys. (speaking Spanish) – We just had one climb
to go, a tough one, but it will be worth it. – Oh my gosh, yes! This is the top! – We did it, we made it! – Oh, my legs feel a little bit like jelly but I can’t wait for this view
you’ve told me about, Maya. – Oh, it’s amazing, so you’ll see. (panting) – Oh, wow. Now I can see why my legs feel tired. (chuckling) – [Maya] I told you it was worth it. – It’s crazy to think that’s
where we started this morning. – Yeah, that’s where you
were swimming this morning. – Well, Maya, I had such great intentions of, y’know, got my swim in and the bike and I planned to go for the run, but my legs, I think, are a
little bit too wobbly for that. Plus, I do want to enjoy that descent. But we’re triathletes and
on GTN, that’s what we do. – Oh my god, you’re crazy. – But you guys like coffee and cake and I can join you on that one, I think. – I can go to a cafe on the other side. I’ll just sit there and wait and you can do whatever you want. – Well, Maya, now that I’ve
finished, I can thank you. My legs at one point
were cursing you slightly but I actually did really enjoy it. And I must admit I want
to do more with GCN ’cause there’s quite a few little stops and I enjoyed that, so thanks. – Oh, I’m really glad that you enjoyed it. Hopefully you at home did as well, so give us a thumbs up if you liked it and don’t forget to click
on the globe to subscribe. If you want to see more epic
hill climbs, click down here. – And if you want to see more from GTN, where we sometimes work
a little bit harder than those guys over at
GCN, well, go check us out. – Hasta la proxima!
– Ciao!