30km, 500 meters altitude gain: short but definitely challenging. This is, without a doubt, one of my favourite loops and it often happens on a rest day.
As much as it includes quite a lot of climbing, the beauty is that the climbs are almost all in the first half of the ride and they come in steps. Steep as they may be, the steps mean you have a chance for some recovery between each ramp. Don’t let that scare you though. Super quiet and amazing roads, I started calling these roads fairytale lanes for a reason!
There are many different ways to enter the “Fairytale lane hills” aka. Canet d’Adri, but by far my favourite is also the hardest with some steep climbing. However, these short and steep steps are also on tiny back-roads which means there is hardly ever any traffic and you really feel as if you are in a wonder world. One minute you are in town, and all of a sudden, you feel as if you are a million miles away from anywhere.
There are basically three climbs on this loop and they’re approximately 1, 2 and 3 kilometres long, respectively, depending on what you call the start of each climb. The great part is that there is a great descent after each peak which allows you to catch your breathe and prepare for the next bump. At the top of the third climb you are relatively close to the Rocacorba and just as you start descending there is a signpost pointing in the direction of the peak if you are in the mood for some real gravel. It has been known to be tackled on a road bike (cough cough, Collyn) but is not advised.
As the descent continues, you suddenly exit some trees just above the village of Canet d’Adri to one of my favourite views in the area. An old church on the outskirts of the village with a stunning backdrop of fields, Girona and beyond it, Els Angles and the rest of the mountain range. On the other side of town, as you’re leaving Canet d’Adri there is a cafe/restaurant on the left hand side which comes at a great time but I can’t help be disappointed by it’s obscured views.
From there you can continue down the hill to the bigger valley road below, turn left and head to Girona with a highway bridge the only “rise” left to tackle. Alternatively you can add a few more turns to the ride which include a few more small rises to bring the ride to 30km of blissful backroads.