This playlist will take you up one of the most famous climbs in Girona, Rocacorba. Named after the 12th century Santuari de Rocacorba that sits just shy of the summit, this is a climb that should be on your bucket list of climbs to complete at least once in your life.
There is some debate on how long the climb is depending on where you start counting. This playlist begins at the stone bridge just after the road turns left up into the trees. Locals use their age plus ten as a time to aim for. The playlist will get you up in a time between 45-60 minutes. You can also use the playlist as a one-hour climbing workout on any other climb or your home trainer. Aim for low cadence, high power, and around your threshold except for the last five minutes where you should go all in.
I have split the climb, the workout, and the playlist into four parts.
The first part is the beginning of the climb that tricks you into thinking that the climb is relatively easy and that you have strong legs today. Woodkid kicks us of with his "Run boy Run" that will fly you into an optimistic cadence and a high spirit. The next couple of songs settle you in a robust and rhythmic routine. You are a machine, and you can go on forever. Aim for 80-85 rpm.
Daft Punk takes us into the second part of the climb; it's getting steeper but still manageable. Their song "Beyond" whispers to us to "Rise, Higher Still, Endless Thrill". As we settle into a slightly heavier tempo, Grace Jones pulls us up the climb with her classy song "Slave to the rhythm," which tells us to work to the rhythm, live to the rhythm, and love the rhythm. I can never get tired of Grace Jones. Aim for 80 RPM.
Just as you think you are in the rhythm, the climb changes character. It gets steep, and from now on, it will only get steeper. 8%, up, up, up. The climb is no longer in pop land. It's time to rock.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club kicks us up the third part of the climb with their hard-wired "Spread your love," which is a little piece of mastery in my book. A perfect composition for two distorted guitars, bass and drum. "Spread your love like a fever. And don't you ever come down". The gradient increases slightly, and we need to go into Nordic Noir with the Danish pop-noir duo Darkness Fall. It's dark and November in an endless, wet forest. We continue in Nordic Noir with Trentemøller, who confirms that the feeling we have is Complicated. Aim for 70-75 RPM.
We are approaching the last and most challenging part of the climb. You’re in the red zone, 11% gradient and at times 14%. I need Charlotte Gainsbourg to take me out and give me a Deadly Valentine. I love her blend of funky bass, electronic futurism, punk attitude, and French intellectualism. That's what I need to forget myself. Follow that up with the American experiential Son Lux, the brainchild of the classically educated composer Ryan Lott. He mixes classical composition with rock, sounds from nature, big choirs, and chattering flutes. Notice the dialogue going on between the drum machine and the live drummer. It's the same dialogue going on between you and the road. Not in harmony.
We get into the very last part of the climb, where you have to stand up to get anywhere. The San Francisco-based trio K: Theory gives us a beautiful, dramatic and grand version of the Depeche Mode classic "The joy of silence." When the drums go off at 1:20 into the song, you stand up and give it all you have the last 700-800 m of the climb.. go, go, go. You get the summit. Sit down with your feet over the edge of the mountain, enjoy the view, forget yourself and listen to "Take me to church" by Hozier.