Apparently ex-pro Marty Jemison knows a lot about Girona and offers bike tours, but I removed him from my list of pros that I want to ride with after I read this article in VeloNews about him sucker-punching someone who was calling him out for his doping history. I wish all pro cyclists had the fortitude to resist the doping temptation. Some great racers like Andy Hampsten and Phil Gaimon managed to do pretty darn well without resorting to blood transfusions and illegal drugs. Just the same, I'm pretty forgiving of a lot of pros who have doped...especially when they're super-nice guys like George Hincapie. But when a doper ruins other people's lives (like Lance Armstrong did) or randomly punches people (like Marty did) in defense of doping accusations, I back WAY away. Life's too short to spend any time—much less a whole bike tour—with those sort of people.
I hope Girona will dazzle me the way Italy has time and again. The interesting thing about riding in the dry, coastal areas of Spain (I rode along the Costa Blanca during the 2016 Vuelta a España) is that they can seem so much like California. With a growing appreciation for our need to reduce our CO₂ emissions, I'm thinking harder about my far-off cycling destinations. I live in a great cycling destination. Check out the photo below from my ride earlier today. Why kill a bunch of coral just to see the same scenery elsewhere? For me—in future years—the answer is going to be to "get out of the cold," which means I'll be planning my rides in the Southern Hemisphere in during our local winter. I've had enough of this cold weather, even if it's "balmy" by my old Chicago standards.