~ed note: in this post, one of our friends, Dave Smith, shares a tale of the Wave's first adventure in Spain. Andalé!
To leave one’s motherland/fatherland/country of birth is seldom an easy step to take. The history of Ireland is one of emigration due to adverse political and economic factors. The youngest, brightest and best left for a brighter future, or any future, across the seas.
My path was more unique: a mid-life decision to relocate into cycling and food nirvana.
I’d visited and worked in Girona on and off for many years. Back in the tail end of 2018, I had spent 6 weeks there feeding a World Tour rider’s cat in return for use of an apartment. In the past, I’d got to know the roads well and always looked with curiosity at the countless dirt roads that fed into tarmac like a river into the sea. I started to explore the gravel roads. Then I saw the ribbons of singletrack feeding into the dirt roads like creeks into a river. Under the guidance of Dave Walsh at Bike Breaks Girona, I was shown some of the best MTB riding I’d ever experienced, within a network of hundreds of miles of gravel road – all within one of the words great road biking meccas.
5 weeks later, with my car rammed full of whatever I could take, I was driving through France to my new home on the edge of the old Spanish town. Despite not speaking either language spoken there, it was one of my better decisions.
I arrived the day before St Patrick’s day, with a plan to ride the 50km Rocacorba gravel fondo. To be sure, it’s what Paddy would have wanted. It was also going to be my first ride on Wave bars. I drove out to Banyoles 8 miles north and gathered with other grit seekers at the impressive Can Campolier country house, the base of Rocacorba Cycling. The delightful Rocacorba Food Truck caravan was there to dish out pre-ride caffeine, and then we were off.
Partway into the ride, I’d settled into the new cockpit design. The Wave bar shape had always made sense, now it brought enhanced comfort, and after 2 broken scaphoids, the bar made me close to giddy. I kept shifting from the hoods to the tops because it just felt right.
Halfway into the route, I hooked up with a South African exile, Johan Moolman, co-owner of Can Campolier and father of World Tour rider Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. As I had GPS and Johan had no idea what the route was, we rode together, talked life in Catalunya and Brexit madness, and rolled to the finish ready for a beer and burger.
I was a convert.
To the Wave bar. To Catalunya. To grit in my knee. And to leaving St Patrick’s land.