Last year, not a single rider finished the inaugural L’Esperit de Girona event in Spain. For 2023, Ulrich Bartholmoes showed up and crushed the 800-kilometer route in a staggering 3 days, 14 hours, and 10 minutes, taking first place. Learn more here…

L’Esperit de Girona is a roughly 800-kilometer route around the Girona province in northern Catalunya that touches into the high Pyrenees and serves up 27,000 meters of climbing. It starts and finishes in Girona city, which is more famous for its road cycling than off-road riding, although the latter is a world-class secret. The route seeks mountaintop viewpoints and takes old forgotten paths to connect one valley to the next.

Ulrich LEsperit de Girona 2023

Organizer James Hayden had this to say: “When I was living in Girona, I realized the off-road riding was its untapped secret. The riding isn’t smooth and easy, and the best mountains have rough tracks and trails. I’d ridden in a few amazing areas and used little-known mountain paths to link them, avoiding tarmac. In 2022, we had 13 starters and sadly no finishers. It’s amazing to finally have a finisher. In my mind, finishing in around four days was possible, so for Ulrich to manage far less is incredibly impressive. It’s fitting for a rider of such high calibre to finish the event. Ulrich has cemented himself as one of the best and perhaps most well-rounded ultra-endurance cyclists in the world.”

Ulrich LEsperit de Girona 2023
  • Ulrich LEsperit de Girona 2023
  • Ulrich LEsperit de Girona 2023

Ulrich’s final time was 3 days, 14 hours, and 10 minutes. This comes after taking first place the 2023 Tour Divide, the 2023 Catalunya Trail Titan, and winning the 2022 Across Andes. When Ulrich finished, he commented with a smile, “I need to get off the bike.” While Ulrich may have tamed the route, it clearly fought back and left its mark on him. The next closest rider is still 200 kilometers away from the finish, so there’s plenty of time left in the event. Follow their progress here. Congrats, Ulrich!

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