Saturdays are usually full of work and family stuff and rarely anything motorcycle related. This week would be no exception, with an hour or so of work in my workshop, cleaning the swimming pool, then a shopping trip, followed by more work and finally a late lunch. At around 4 pm though it was all done and the GSXR started to call me.
As I set off from my home in Senija near on the Costa Blanca the weather was glorious, bright sunshine, blue skies but a little breezy.
First to Benissa to fill the tank with some much-needed fuel, before heading off through the quarry on the N332 towards Valencia. This was the first ride on the GSXR for a couple of months and the first time that I had worn my Swift leathers for probably a year, favouring the Bandit for comfort and the Draggin Jean, Textile jacket combo for ease of use. Was I comfortable? No was the simple answer but the GSXR has a way of making up for it.
Through the quarry bends the bike came alive, dealing with the corners with no fuss despite being hindered by an out of practice wobbly middle-aged bloke. Part way through cars started to get in the way, however, these were quickly dispatched on the first straight stretch. The bike puts a stupid grin on my face every time the throttle is opened.
Coming into Gata de Gorgos my smile wained slightly as I had three sets of traffic lights to stop at and a couple of kilometres of slow-moving wrist aching traffic. Leaving the village with speed increasing the weight is taken from my wrists and the smile returns, but the road is straight and a little boring, the mountain roads were calling.
Turning off the N332 towards Pego the sun was low in the sky and my clear visor was not helping much, I've had the HJC for three years and still haven't got around to buying a tinted visor, something else to add to my birthday list. The road up to Pego is around 10km and after a handful of sweeping corners is arrow straight. It's worth the ride though as you then have a few options to choose which all take you further inland and up into the valleys and hills.
Deciding to head towards Vall de Ebo to try to get some pictures I headed out of Pego on the Sagra road before taking the tight right turn and starting to climb. This road is a mixture of hairpins and short straights for a few km's as you leave the coastal area behind and head up to around 500m. There are a few viewpoints along the way and it is well worth stopping. I stopped in two different places to try to get a good shot of the GSXR with the Med in the background.
Shots were taken and a decision had to be made, turn around and go back home or carry on towards Planes. It wasn't really a question as I was having fun and the lack of comfort was outweighed by the ear to ear grin. The only factor was the time and the amount of remaining sunlight.
The road to Vall de Ebo and on to Planes is a rollercoaster of tarmac, tight hairpins to catch out the unwary along with sweeping bends to enjoy, it has recently been resurfaced with some of the bumps removed which helped on the GSXR. It ends at a T junction where I turned right and headed for Planes. This is just a short ride taking you down into a valley and over a bridge before you enter the village.
Passing one of our usual Sunday morning breakfast haunts on the right as you enter the village I carried straight on to the roundabout and headed left towards Gorga. No time to stop if I wanted to get home before the sun disappeared.
Leaving Planes the road dips and climbs before settling along the edge of the valley, passing through a couple of tiny villages that I can't remember the names of. The workmen had been out in this area too and now there are some great stretches of new tarmac. there are still some corners with bumps you could do without but the road is 10 times better than it was a few months previously.
There are a few nice sweeping bends, which I enjoy, but mostly short straights and tight corners, which can be a pain on a sports bike. Over the years riding the GSXR I came to dislike the mountain roads and put the bike up for sale to enable me to buy something more suitable, however, this was different and I was actually enjoying it. Braking into the corners on the new surface was great fun with fewer bumps to contend with, then firing back out of them with a stupid grin, I managed to provoke a slide out of a couple but they were small and progressive.
Turning left at Gorga and heading back towards the coast the sun was definitely in a decline. Riding through the valleys and over the hills towards Castell de Castells the bright golden light had gone from the valley floor and was climbing the hills to be replaced by dusk.
Carrying on at a good pace I had to rely more and more on the GSXR's candles, sorry headlights. Surprisingly the lights are better than I remembered them, I probably haven't ridden it in the dark for ten years or more. It does concentrate the mind though.
Reaching Castell de Castells as the last of the light faded I had the last few km's to ride home in the dark, the roads are good though and I travel them regularly for work so could probably do them blindfold.
Riding down from the mountains and towards home, the temperature normally rises, however with the lack of sun the temperature was slowly dropping and there was now a chill in the air. My faithful Swift leathers did a great job at holding off the cold however they are well ventilated and eventually I started to feel it.
Arriving home after around 3 hours and 130km I still had the stupid GSXR grin on my face and really enjoyed the ride. Maybe next time I'll set off earlier.