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Sea Otter Europe in Girona

Sebastian S. & Jan 09. June 2017

Jan and Sebastian visited the first Sea Otter Europe bike festival in Girona, Spain. While there, they also tried out some local trails. Here are their impressions.

Last weekend, Sea Otter Europe opened its doors for the first time. After hearing great stories about the “original” bike festival, the legendary Sea Otter Classic in California, from our co-workers, we did not want to miss the opportunity and travelled to Girona, Spain to be part of the action.

Girona - a cycling mecca

As for the destination, Girona itself is a picturesque, mid-size town, nicely located between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea. It has become a very popular cycling spot ever since former pro cyclist Lance Armstrong set up his European base here years ago. Nowadays many overseas and local pros call Girona their home and cycling tourism is extremely popular. Although bicycle-aficionados can be seen on every corner, two hangouts deserve special mentioning. The cycling cafés La Fabrica and Espresso Mafia, run by ex-pro Christian Meyer and his wife, offer superb, home-roasted java and great eats. We can only recommend a visit to meet likeminded cyclists and celebrate the two-wheel culture.

La Fabrica - the cyclist hangout in Girona.

La Fabrica - the cyclist hangout in Girona.

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Checking out the local trails

Since the festival would not start till Friday afternoon, we rented mountain bikes to explore the local trails. Using Pinkbike’s Trailforks app, we were not disappointed, finding two great tracks in the mountains just east of Girona.

Sebastian enjoying the local trails.

Sebastian enjoying the local trails.

First, we selected "Jonas Trail“, a technical descent down several steps mixed with sharp turns on a mountainside.

The second trail was called "Cacahuete“ (peanut). A great choice, which managed to paint a bright smile on our faces although one of us suffers from peanut allergies. This track was not as steep, but featured a ton of berms, little jumps and loads of flow.

Jan shreds Jonas Trail.

Jan shreds Jonas Trail.

The Festival

Then the festival began. The itinerary from Friday afternoon through Sunday offered test rides on the newest bicycles, races and events to watch and take part in, bike talk and mingling among all the other cycling fans and festival goers. Over 4000 athletes from all ages participated in a variety of competitions. Be it MTB-marathon, Enduro racing, a road bike challenge or the Catalan trial cup, the over 30,000 spectators and visitors had a large schedule of events to choose from and watch.

The trails around Girona feature steep climbs and descents.

The trails around Girona feature steep climbs and descents.

Trial competitions enjoy a great popularity in Spain.

Trial competitions enjoy a great popularity in Spain.

We jumped right into the action of the indoor and outdoor festival area. We tried out some new ebikes on the challenging, 4 kilometre long test track, sampled Spanish tapas and cervezas at the food trucks that could be found all over the festival grounds, visited bike manufacturers at their booths and chatted with local bicycle enthusiasts.

Although there wasn’t any completely new product revealed, it’s always great to see and lay your hands on new bikes and components and it was interesting to see the preferences of the Southern European markets with a focus on different brands and manufacturers.

Big names like Mavic did not want to miss the first Sea Otter Europe.

Big names like Mavic did not want to miss the first Sea Otter Europe.

Jan test riding an ebike on the demanding circuit right off the festival grounds.

Jan test riding an ebike on the demanding circuit right off the festival grounds.

We don’t know whether the Sea Otter Europe bike festival in Girona is comparable to the “original", but it sure was heaps of fun. This truly international bike fest invites everybody to participate, try out and test. The relaxed atmosphere is ideal to celebrate two wheels in all imaginable ways. It does help that it takes place under the warm, Spanish sun in a beautiful town that is a cycling mecca with awesome people and a great local cuisine.

Girona, we’ll be back!

View from our accommodation onto the small alleyways of Girona.

View from our accommodation onto the small alleyways of Girona.