It's monday so this must be Spain...
Got back to Edinburgh on 12th January after what has to be one of the most boring flights ever. Maybe I am getting old or something, or perhaps it was the shitty seat I had (middle seat - hate it) but it did seem worse than usual. On the way out is always much more tolerable as you are going on holiday. Although I was impressed by the bladder control of the window seat woman next to me, didn't get up once on either 12 hour legs of the journey. I was up and down every 10 minutes, and still couldn't get aisle seat woman to swap with me. She must have been peeing sand by the end of that.
Day and a half to change bikes for the road bike, and flight to Murcia. Lots of driving about in the dark to find the villa. (Must remember to write to the mayor of Fuente Alhamo. Went through it 8 times in two weeks, got lost 6 times)
Cannondale Chris came over for the weekend from Switzerland. He is in training for L'Etape du Tour 2006 so I got to bore him with lots of chat about endurance training, hills and nutrition. He will ride 110 miles on the day with a finish up Alpe D'Huez. Chapeau !!
Spent two weeks doing lots of road riding, with the occasional day off to go for a run along the beach. Murcia and surrounds is a great spot, although the wee town we were in was a bit minging. It was a brand new English and German ghetto. There were lots of nice villas but there were also lots of building sites and bits that looked like concentration camps. Nice. And all the pubs had English football on the tele and english karaoke. Classy. I can see why people want to live there though, the weather was brilliant, only one day of rain and a couple of days when we sat out in shorts and t-shirts.
My friend Petra was over, by chance her sister stays in the same town. Was good to hang out, although the trip to the Hot Springs wasn't such a good idea, Petra fell over in the mud and broke her wrist and spent the rest of her holiday in plaster bad luck.
Julie and I got to do some mountain-biking yippee. We stopped at a cafe one sunday and I saw some guys with mountain bikes speaking English. Went and chatted to them, and they were from Glasgow and staying in the Hotel we had been sent to for bike hire, and agreed to let us come out with them and their guide on monday. Result !! We would have been pretty lost otherwise, masses of great tracks, none marked on the map and absolutely no sign-posting. So big thanks to Callum, Stevie and Dave for a great day out. The bikes we hired were hilarious. Fully rigid with hydraulic v-brakes that were on the wrong hand (but had surprising stopping power) and flat pedals. Once I had got over my initial fear of death and figured out how to stop my feet sliding off the pedals it was excellent fun. Am inspired to finally at last finish rebuilding my hardtail (OK get one of my friends to do it in exchange for dinners and cakes) with flat pedals just for fun.
The picture at the start of this post is L-R, Jenny Wright, Julie Cartner, Pippa Handley and me. And it isn't a perspective trick, I am a foot shorter than them. Hazel Sutherland was with us too but it taking the picture. I of course am stuffing food in my face, but this was the top of a 10k climb so I deserved it !