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Backroads Staff Ride 2010

On December 4, 2011, in Traveling, by eCoylogy
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I think anyone reading this will know that I work for a company called Backroads. Just in case, however, Backroads is an “active travel” company that takes people on outdoors trips all over the world. Once a year, as a gift to its hard-working employees, our boss treats us to an all-expenses paid biking trip together somewhere in the world. This year it was Spain, thus the idea for this whole trip.

I met up with 140 of my coworkers, many I had met, many I hadn’t, at the Barcelona Sants train station. We exchanged pleasantries and boarded the bus from BCN to a small mountain town called “Puigcerda” (loving referred to as the “pooge” by some) which sits on the border of Spain and France.

We dropped our bags that very day and went on a 70k ride to start the trip. We rode through small towns, climbing up into the hills, and with each consecutive place they became more deserted.

I remember cycling through one town, covered in cobblestone and ancient looking bridges and churches, and only seeing one person. That person was a man who was exiting an old wooden door onto the street. He wore simple country clothes, a cloth kangol style hat and over his shoulder was slung a shotgun. At his feet was a small beagle. I imagine they were going hunting.

The next several days consisted of a lot of riding. So much so that on the last day I had to stop because I was having some pretty serious knee pain. Lots of partying. Backroads has an unofficial motto of “Work Hard Play Hard” which we follow as if it were written in blood. Every day I would get off my bike, ass hurting, legs jelly, hangover still lingering…and it would be time for drinks. You just can’t say no to 140 smiling lovely people jumping up and down in spandex throwing beers at you. It’s impossible.


It’s sad that I can’t tell you all the names of the towns we went through because there were some amazing ones. I do know, however, that we stayed in Puigcerda, Comprodon, Figueres and Palamos, which is a port town on the coast.


On the last night of the trip we headed to a bar in Palamos where there was to be a foam party. Have you ever been to a foam party? I had not. How very strange and fun. You’re dancing, having drinks and the WHAM all of a sudden there is foam everywhere. If you’re claustrophobic or have a fear of drowning you should proceed with caution to one of these things. I drank a lot of soap. There was glitter, an open bar, broken glass and emergency first aid, the YMCA was played, skinny dipping in the ocean, and massive, skull-in-vice hangovers.

There is a lot more to say and write about this trip, including just how beautiful everything was. We biked on roads I never would have found myself in a hundred years. We rode over bridges built in the 14th and 15th centuries, past pastel colored houses, past fields of corn and grapes. We climbed thousands of feet to mountain tops and got to drop for 25k straight at times. No roller coaster can top that.

At the end of it? I realize that I am so lucky to have the job that I do. Thanks to everyone who had a part in that. I am truly happy.
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