This is my third time back in Girona and riding to Andorra has become a recurring theme. I’m usually here in the winter/spring so the weather is always a little tricky - either it’s raining or snowing in Andorra around that time. There is a random amazing day but it doesn’t seem to happen much when I’m here. Thankfully I’m spending my summer here in Girona and I figured I couldn’t stay here 3 years in a row and not experience Andorra.
I packed my daily front handlebar bag (extended with voile straps) and my bigger Rapha handlebar bag and decided to do an overnight trip there and back.
I asked my friend Gunnar to map out what he thought was the most scenic route - and man am I glad I did this route.
The day started with a nice tailwind up to Olot and Ripoli. The climbing starts around Ripoli where it’s all up until about 2000m in Castellar de n'Hug. As I turned onto the main road to finish the climb, I passed a group from Ibiza that I rode with until they stopped to wait for their friend. It was about 15min but I welcomed the company.
The higher I got the more romantic the clouds looked. It was a little windy at the top so I pulled over to take some photos and put my wind jacket on for the descent. It wasn’t a long descent - about 300m but the weather went from gloomy and cloudy to blue skies and 25 degrees. I took off my wind jacket and kept going down - all the way to 1100m. It was pretty flat until I crossed over the border to France. It was such a weird little path I had no idea where Andorra was going to be - a goat path that led to a mountain paradise. The road was a little busy but the scenery was stunning. The climbing doesn’t stop until you get to 2400m - where I saw all the pro tour team buses and cars.
I pulled out my phone to see where my hotel was and it turns out it was at 1100m - so it was going to be a nice little tailwind descent for me. I don’t think I’ve ever descended this fast for this long in my life. It was also nice to see a lot of pros around waving and honking from their cars - a nice vibe here. They were doing their training camps here and looked happy to be racing again.
After I found my hotel it was straight to bed. I didn’t feel like going to find food because I had eaten so well on the bike and I just wanted the day to end.
Like I said this was just an overnight trip so the next day I ate breakfast, got my bike and put on my wind jacket since it was all downhill back to Catalonia. I’m so happy I brought my wind jacket since it was about 10 degrees in the morning and the descent is steep so it would have been pretty cold. A good high-quality wind jacket has become an essential part of my kit when I do big rides or tours/overnight rides.
My route back was more or less the same so not much to report - I took a different descent back to Puigcerda which allowed me to ride though a ski town which I love doing on the bike.
I finally answered my question as to whether or not Andorra would make a cool base for a month or so of riding and the answer? No. It’s super busy on the main road and it’s mostly an out and back kind of ride with different climbs you can do. It would be cool to spend 2-3 days here doing the climbs but anything longer and it can become annoying with the amount of climbing you’re doing. I would rather go to Gran Canaria or Tenerife to do a lot of climbing with different routes and there is no need for wind jackets or arm/leg warmers. If you’re looking at coming to this part of the world I would recommend Girona or Puigcerda.
I’ve attached some photos of the ride at the bottom and my Strava rides just in case someone wants to do this or have a peek at the roads I did.
https://www.strava.com/activities/3776207209 is the ride to Andorra