Well, here I am, in my hotel room, drinking a nice glass of red wine. Don’t know WHAT I was worried about….

Getting up at 4.45 a.m. wasn’t the pleasantest of experiences, but I made it. Stumbled from the Ibis hotel at Luton Airport to the departure terminal, tugging my bike box and hold bag with my cabin bag on my shoulders. No fun at all.

From that point on, though, everything went remarkably smoothly. Having checked my baggage in online, I was able to use the drop off lane at the airport. Wisely, I’d checked the weight of my bags carefully the night before, but was still mightily relieved to find that the scales at the airport actually checked in a bit lower. The only minor inconvenience was that I had to take my bike box to the large luggage section, but it went straight through with no problem.

Learning my lesson from last year, I decided to go straight through Security. Apart from the usual hateful queue, I had no holdups at all. Even had time for a decent breakfast before going to the boarding gate.

I’d pre-booked a seat with extra legroom online, so knew exactly where I had to go on the plane. Sat down, got the paper out, plane took off, plane landed, all pretty much on time. Surely SOMETHING had to go wrong??

The lucky streak continued. Baggage came up on the carousel and, to my surprise, so did the bike. I’d been told it would come off on a different carousel. Straight through Customs (nobody there, as usual) and immediately saw Big Al from Train in Spain, who I’d met last year. Had to wait around a bit, but soon enough I was on the coach heading north from Alicante to Denia.

Got to the hotel, and to my surprise, my name was called out first to check in. This must have been because I booked it back in October! This also had an unexpected bonus in that I was in a ground floor apartment, so no problems having to cart the bike up and down stairs.

This was surely the moment when my lucky streak ended. Was the bike in more pieces than when I packed it? Had it survived the journey?

It had. Put it all back together, took it out for a spin, and after a few minor adjustments everything was working beautifully. Took it up the hill towards Javea just to stretch the legs and get some oxygen into the blood.

Tomorrow a 60 mile ride – fairly hilly – lies in wait.

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