Denia (Oct 2018)
Eat your hearts out Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as five Wheelers (me, Mick, Joe, Fred and Steve) descended on the Costa Blanca in mid October for our own version of The Trip to Spain.
OK, the wit might not have been as razor sharp as Messrs Coogan and Brydon, and the impressions might have been less Sean Connery/ Roger Moore and more Grumpy Old Men (although there wasn’t any real opportunity to complain about the length of mudflaps because nobody in Spain even uses mudguards), but we did get to sample lots of tapas (i have developed quite a liking for the squid served in Denia market) and drink litres of wine and beer. Unfortunately, the Colombian Bar in Denia was shut for personal reasons so Fred was spared another bout of rum stroke. And I never found the time to visit one of the shops devoted entirely to serving yoghurt.
Becky and Graham were their normal impeccable hosts at their house in Denia, which nestles just below the Montgo. Becky managed to ride with us on most days and then conjure up a set of amazing meals whilst the rest of us lounged around, eating snacks, drinking beer and complaining about our sore legs. Graham was not only routemaster extraordinaire but also a one man alarm for upcoming Strava segments, as well as a walking encyclopaedia of Strava Leaderboards. Over the 10 days we rode over 600 miles and climbed nearly 35,000 ft almost entirely on quiet, well surfaced roads.
We tackled lots of new (at least to me) rides including to the monastery town of Simat, the climb to Barx through the woods destroyed in a fire this summer and the road to Gorga which was like a Scalectrix track with its swooping descents and climbs. Graham thoughtfully included another visit to Tollos which must be the only village in Spain without a bar and where I spent a couple of hours last October waiting for International Rescue after breaking a spoke on the final 1 in 6 ramp up the climb (this year Steve demonstrated his solidarity by also breaking a spoke, but at least his wheel remained rideable). Becky booked an apartment in Valencia - and brought spare clothes for us on the bus - so that we could visit this beautiful city, try out its network of cycling routes, and eat an amazing paella. We even got to see one of the Spanish High Speed Trains on our way out of the city (which I found worryingly exciting).
The KOM award for the week when he was with us went to Steve with the Eagle of Sutton and the Condor of Congleton also on fire on the climbs, the latter achieving the 70+ KOM title on the Gallinera. Fred followed a unique training regime which appeared to involve replacing at least one inner tube a day and using a mini pump to get the tyre back up to pressure. The result was that he was untouchable on the final day leaving us all for dead over the three climbs (he will shortly be setting up his own on line coaching business to sell this plan). I picked up a much less coveted KOM when I proved irresistible to the local mosquitos, who appeared to be out in force this year (in contrast to the waves of very angry wasps last year).
All in all, an excellent 10 days.