Sunday, 7 November 2010
There was no matinal planned today, but we had agreed to go for a ride out anyway. Three of us met at Paco's house at 8:15 (ready to set off at 8:30, as usual), but there was no sign of Paco. Even his wife didn't know where he was. He had gone out on his bike, but no one knew where. We assumed he had gone for petrol, so waited for him... Xavi had passed us, and we thought he had gone for petrol too, as he returned a little later, but hadn't seen Paco.
After while, we gave up on Paco, and the 4 of us set off, for a ride towards Navalon. This was on the far side of some mountains we hadn't crossed yet. We set off merrily, enjoying the quiet roads and stunning scenery. The veiw was amazing, as we rode higher and higher. Leaving Enguera, I saw a sign saying 'Road xxx - OPEN', relating to 4 roads were were about to travel. Ah, right up into the moutains then, just like Snake Pass, or the Cat & Fiddle. Since it was only autumn, the roads were clear and fine. It was a little chilly, but not cold enough to put the heated grips on!
We finally arrived at Navalon (Abajo and Arriba ~ lower and upper) and stopped for breakfast in a lovely bar. We all ordered bocadillos and the waiter laughed at Ed and I, when we ordered our drinks. We both had coffee, which they all thought was odd (they are foreign said Xavi). After 3 years, we have now discovered that a normal drink with a meal is wine, beer, coke or water. Coffee is for after the meal. Xavi had 1/2 bottle of wine, and Julian a beer. After coffees, we set off again. This time, heading over the mountain tops towards Moixent, along with lots of groups of (very fit) cyclists. The views were stunning. I suspect that Ed was glad we were with the other 2. Had we been alone, I would have been stopping every 1/2 mile to take more pictures. I will return soon, with camera in hand, and do so! In the meantime - thank you to Google maps for the attached.
After Moixant, we returned home over another range, via Aielo del Malfereit. The twists and turns in the road were similar to to those leading to Moixant, but this time the road was busier, with both cars and bicycles. As we rounded one corner, the view into the valley was beautiful. As we dropped into the valley, Xavi, who had been leading the whole way, suddenly drifted onto the wrong side of the road. There were no curbs, and he simply fell off on the wrong side of the road, into the ditch, just missing a high bank. Goodness knows why. Has something locked up? A puncture? It happened so slowly, we all stopped almost before he fell. Unfortunately, as it was downhill, it was hard to park the bikes. Having had mine fall over so recently, I was struggling to feel safe enough to get off it. I decided to do a u-turn and park up-hill. Just as I had made my decision, I heard a crunch, and Ed's bike, behind me, lay on the floor.
Now we had 2 bikes down. Julian helped Xavi, and I parked to help Ed, but by the time I got to him, he had already got the bike upright, with help from Julian. Looking at Xavi, he was still struggling to hold his bike upright. 2 more attempts to get him safe and we all looked shell-shocked. What a nightmare.
Everyone happy, and we set off back home again. About a mile down the road, a little van in front of us was turning left (across the traffic) and had to wait for an on-coming car. Xavi didn't see the indicator and nearly went around him, into the path of the on-coming car. Hmm. Bottle of wine at play here me-thinks. We managed to get back to l'Olleria without any further mis-hap and went for a drink. Xavi made his excuses and went home. As the 3 of us chatted, we surmised that he must have fallen asleep. A late night out, a probable brandy or 2 to wake him up, coupled with the wine and we were lucky that nothing worse had befallen him. (If it turns out that we misjudged him I will be the first to apologise.)
As we were drinking our cokes, Paco turned up. "Where were you all?", he asked. "I waited until 8, then left on my own." "8? Every other week, it has been 8:30!" He was mortified. After a great deal of teasing, next week, he has agreed to see us all at 8:30!
Ed is now in terrible pain with his back. He can hardly move. It is not like recent problems, when it has been muscular. This time, it is in his spine itself. We have already ordered a replacement clutch leaver, but the bike now has some terrible scratches on it; fairing, engine casing, and seat unit.
Still, no-one was in need of an ambulance or police call out, hopefully Ed's back will be ok in a few days and we have learned to keep a careful eye out in the future.