Last ride out of the year seems a long time ago, but it was between Christmas and New Year. We have been very lucky with the weather all winter, not turning cold until mid February.
As usual, Ed and I had no idea where we were going! There does seem to be a conversation of sorts, but it tips from Spanish into Valenciano, whereon we get totally lost. Still, following the bike in front is not too difficult! As we filled up for petrol, we were joined by two other chaps that we hadn't met before, which made a nice change.
This time, we headed off towards Xativa and then up the motorway. Unusual - but after just one junction, we were off again, and we headed out towards the windmills that I like. A couple of the guys scooted off ahead, but I was happy to sit behind Julian. It was pretty chilly, so bimbling along with the heated grips on, was fine by me. Also, I had my winter trousers on, for the first time and had to get used to skidding up and down the seat all of the time!
As we got to the top of the world (well, it certainly feels like it, out there in the wilds), we turned off towards a village we have been to before. A-ha - breakfast in the village bar. Sure enough, we all pulled up outside the bar in the deserted square. It looked like a scene from a western, but with bikes instead of horses!
Breakfast was great. It's astonishing how much food and drink you can get at these little bars, for around 5 euros. The cafe owner even fired up the gas heater especially for us. Good job too - one of the lads was only wearing jeans. It may not have been cold, but it certainly wasn't summer temperatures either! He was freezing.
After an hour or so, we set off again. Well, we tried to , but my bike wouldn't start. I had left the heated grips on. They are meant to turn off when the ignition is off, but, whatever the cause, there wasn't enough power in the battery to start the bike. Everyone was very kind (no 'silly girlie' type of backchat) as we tried to figure out the problem. Eventually, Ed suggested bump starting the bike. Fine - you do it. I have no intention of possibly falling off my bike as I try to bump it! Needless to say, with Ed on it, and two other chaps pushing him down the hill, all was well within a few yards!
We had a lovely ride over the mountains, then into Moixent. Once there, one of the new lads mentioned which road we should take. Julian seemed surprised, but off we went. What a nightmare. It was the worst roads we had ever been on. The asphalt was breaking up all over the place, making it terrible to ride on. Potholes and mounds of gravel, combined with the cold made it very entertaining. Suddenly, Julian stopped dead in front of me. I managed to stop in time, but I had visions of bike domino-ing behind me. Thankfully not! Julian thought he had a puncture, his bike was handling so badly. I laughed at him, and said no, it was the road surface. On we went... for another 10 miles or so. Terrible. Once we finally got to the proper roads again, we all breathed a sigh of relief, but that was very short-lived. We had all picked up tiny stones in the treads of out tyres, and were now spitting them out at the poor soul behind! Everyone wanted to be at the front - it was hilarious.
Paco and one of the lads (on a Ducati) swapped bikes, and we returned to the village for a final drink. We all howled at Paco, as he could hardly get off the bike. This is a toy for a young man, not an overweight chap in his 50s! Needless to say, he won't be putting one of those on his wish list.