Helen Findlay

My adventures in Middle Europe and The Colonies. This blog contains my own views and opinions and does not represent those of my employers, or any other organisation with which I am involved. Remember, just because it isn't Singletrackworld, doesn't mean it isn't shite !

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sierra Espuna and my villa

Can’t believe its just over three weeks since my last entry, time passes quickly over here !

Went out with Helen and Ellen and Betty to a Halloween dance on the 30th, was a good laugh. There was a comedian, a girl band and an Abba tribute band. We were sitting right at the front, and I was the youngest person there, so came in for some stick from the comedian but it was all good humoured.

Found James at the airport OK the next day, took him out for an easy spin up over the hills to the guns at Puerta Mazarron on the Wednesday. Lucky that we went out, as it then rained for about a week. Well, not all week but it felt like it. I think that was the years rain all at once, all the ramblas were full and towns were flooded, a rare event around here.

Have been along to the mailsort and collection to get some training, sounds like I will have as much work as I can manage over Christmas, which goes until 3 Kings’ Day on 6th January in Spain. Petra comes over on the 10th December (yippee !) and is staying at Helen’s right through until after New Year.

Rain stopped on Sunday and we met up with Mark from Downhillracer the guys from Glasgow who film the downhill races in the UK. Did a route known as the 1000 bends up the way (it took a while) and “Salvaje” down the way, which means either “savage” or “wild” we aren’t quite sure but it was a long hard technical route. I only crashed once which was getting off pretty lightly really. Or getting off pretty heavily if you want t look at it that way.

Mark gave us a copy of their latest DVD which is awesome (stoked) and the book that goes with it, so that was a few evenings entertainment. I’m in it actually, there is an interview with Ruriadh Cunningham at the NPS race at Inners and you can see me and Paul walking by in the background. It covers the Scottish SDA races, some British NPS races and of course the World Cup up at Fort Bill. Superb DVD, good mix of riding and

Not much happening the rest of the week, but had brilliant weekend mountain biking in the Sierra Espuna. Finally managed to meet up with Mark, Stevie and Daniel on the Saturday. Friday was a bit of a failed attempt stymied by a car rally of all things. Anyways we started on Saturday with 8 riders, 3 as above, me, James, a guy called Steve who owns Orange bikes and lives out here with his family, and Andreas and Simon two Spanish guys who run the campsite at El Berro. James was the first to drop out as he had a cold so was just coming up to say hello anyways. I was nearly next, went over the bars on a chute that was pretty steep, tried to bail and made an arse of it. But it was OK as I landed mostly on my face, bit of a gash on my chin and my helmet has a big crack in it so I was pretty lucky really. Nobody will believe me when I say this (I can hear you scoffing already Paul) but I only bailed because Simon in front of me was going so slowly I was worried about running into him, nearly did a bit earlier in the run on a technical bit, and rode the whole section fine earlier in the year on hire bikes. Need to get back there soon and do it properly !!

Anways stuck a plaster on my face and we made it almost to the bottom of the hill. At this point both Stevie and Daniel managed to lose rear mechs, Stevie’s rear drop-out completely smashed. Steve and Mark went to collect a car to get those two back up, and I continued on with Andreas and Simon. Got to the bottom of the hill at the canal, and Andreas had to go back for his rucksack. He appeared back 15 minutes later with the rear mech hanging off his bike !! Oh how we laughed…..

So then we were 2. Simon has some English so we managed to communicate a bit, stopped every so often for photos and landmarks, Aguilas (Eagles) etc. Ran into an English guy called Mick who we met last time we were out here, he was on a guiding run with a couple of Welsh girls. Rode with them for a bit, then came across a BBQ put on by a local mountain bike club. The Espuna is a National Park, and there are loads of BBQ sites set up in the park, but only for use in winter as the fire risk is too high in the summer. It also seems to be a Spanish custom to always share food, as they invited us to join them and we came away stuffed with sausages, ham, drink etc. Of course one local humorist pointed out that if I had drunk a beer before I started I might not have a plaster on my face. Ha ha ha but he did have a point.

Go back to café at the campsite in El Berro tired but had a great day. Met up again with the same crew on the Sunday. Steve’s wife Judith came down to say hello and among other things told me that they go out from the campsite every Saturday 10am and all are welcome, so I will be along quite regularly I think. Great to meet some locals and some Spanish people to ride with. Simon was saying (I think) that the local road club meets on Sundays in Alhama so will give that a shot too once my Spanish gets a bit better. Another brilliant run on the Sunday, but a bit less eventful. We got an uplift to the top from Jose-Maria (the husband of Simon’s wife’s mother’s cousin, or something) and his trailer. Even James came up in the uplift, something I never thought I would live to see but I have the photos to prove it. The trails here are fantastic, seems to be plenty here with good variety, although you really have to learn to love hills.

So to all those who are thinking of coming out to visit BRING MOUNTAIN BIKES. Preferably ones that can pedal up hills, not sure how often Jose-Maria will be available.

The boys are away back to Glasgow now, after one last day filming in the Espuna. James went along but I sat that one out was well knackered. Came down with a cold yesterday so next few days doing chores and catching up with emails methinks. If the picture-bot thing works today there should be a photo at the front of this entry of my wee villa, with my houseboy doing his chores.

Until the next thrilling instalment…..