Welcome to my blog. A special welcome if you are not me. If you are a member of my family or one of my friends, judge me kindly. If you are none of that lot, then an even greater welcome, though you must be lost.

6:00 AM, still dark here in Deveses, but warm. Very warm. My wheels know the way and before long I am pelting through the dark. I brought my monster 4000 lumen cycle light with me, it turns night into day and fits to the bike with a mount that is still in my shed, so I am using my tiny emergency LED lamps. It turns out that they are all I need, there is nobody else out here in the dark so early on a Sunday morning. This corner of Spain is pretty quiet anyway, that’s why we come here. The greenway is deserted apart from me, the swifts and the odd rabbit. It used to be the route of a railway linking Denia and Gandia, closed in the 1970’s, left to grass over but then recently revived to create an arrow-straight route beloved by cyclists, joggers and dog-walkers. Mine now. It still has the odd old railway building flanking it, some have been repurposed, but there is an incongruous preserved shelter at Palmar, where folks can sit and wait…

After leaving the greenway my stupid wheels forgot the way but with some farting about found a shortcut to the next town, a happy accident. For a while I follow the route of Denia’s other, more recently closed line. The loss of this has pissed off the good people of Denia because now there is no rail link at all. The stations appear to be maintained, they empty the bins regularly, (who uses them?) but the tracks are rusted. Soon the sun is rising, and I am heading up into the mountains. They look and smell wonderful, thick with citrus groves and wild fennel. The sun is behind me and I cast a long shadow on the road ahead. At a bridge over a dry river I stop to see if my stupid plan to um.. experience the whole mountain thing has any legs. Not only am I packing a camera in my far too heavy hydration pack, but there is a sketchbook and pencils too. Pretentious? Moi? Anyway, it doesn’t take long to discover that I have forgotten how to draw, but it’s nice to sit and observe the details that I would have missed hurtling past.

Now the roads are filling with gangs of roadies, all clad in lycra as the Spanish love their matching team jerseys and navigate the roads in shoals. But this lot are slower than me, so I pass them, dolling out ‘bueno’s and trying to look as nonchalant as possible. I wonder if I am going to meet them later as we wind our different paths through the towns. Going off-road through more groves, it’s warming up nicely. Then back out onto the roads for a long slog up past Alcalali that the roadies love. Sure enough, I meet the shoal that I overtook an hour before coming the other way, we nod at each other as they pelt past. The ascents aren’t taxing me too much, easier than I remember them, but I am 10 kilos lighter. (SMUG!) I think that I am holding my own against the roadies, climbing wise, as I haven’t been passed by any, but am then shamed as a guy on a fat bike flies past. He is doing his best nonchalant thing, but this guy is fast. I am humbled. A fat bike? Damn. By the time I am back on the greenway again it is fluorescent with joggers and reluctant cyclists. I’m pretty reluctant myself because it’s hot, there is a head wind, and I forgot to have breakfast or bring any food so am knackered. But it’s been 43 miles of fun. Then back to the casa and the pool. Perfect.