The Power Sandal

No, not ready at all. Last year, with an entire week to go, I was done with pontificating, faffing, cogitating and – finally – selecting stuff for the Pyrenees trip. A procedure that became less about how important an item was, and more about it’s size/weight/squashability. We ended up here:


And that collateral served me well. Right up until the bike committed suicide through a mixture of bad design and Ostrich Mechanics*. Which scored zero on a scale of one to lamentation on the reasonable grounds that carrying a spare frame up a mountain is somewhere beyond paranoia and deep into a mental illness.

With three day s to go, my concessions to creating a carryable support infrastructure for a longer and more arduous trip has been to buy some sandals. I give you – and I am quoting directly from the marketing blurb here – “the power sandal. An all-terrain light shoe experience for the adventurous traveller

For me it has sufficient beige to signify the true age of the sandal wearer, augmented with sporty orange to dull the embarrassment. They shall be strapped proudly to my camelbak ready – at a moments notice – to be unleashed once Si’s map reading has us again portaging bikes on exposed cliff edges.

And – as a bonus – come supping time, I shall be sporting these fab footy fixtures in any and every Pyreaneen drinking establishment. Such is my confidence in their playful attractiveness, I am considering employing a handy Frenchman** to “demand manage” the screaming ladies desperate for some Sandal Action.

Other areas of pre-holiday preparation are fairing similarly. The bike seems to work in non creaky fashion. Careful use of the word “seems” with a single 1 hour ride in two weeks unrepresentative of serious testing. This was followed by 90 minutes in the pub, which is what endurance athletes such as myself term “tapering”.

And as for the part of my life which fills the days and pays the bills, the less said about that the better. Is there some twisted phenomenon ensuring the greatest volume of work is directed at the individual with the least amount of time? Come Friday night, whatever isn’t done shall remain in that state for two further weeks.

Three times already, the following conversation has taken place “When are you on Holiday?” / “Friday” / “Will you have your phone with you” /”No” / “Oh” / “Because I’ll be half way up a mountain and BECAUSE I’M ON HOLIDAY. GO LOOK IT UP IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS“. So far, I’ve only said the last bit in my head. But next person asking shall be in unhappy receipt of the unexpurgated version. At some volume.

Ready? No. Keen? Yes.

* The art of understanding that something really, really bad is happening to your bike and attempting to drink enough to forget about it.

** That’s not a couplet you’re likely to hear twice in your lifetime. Unless you’re read a lot of those specialist publications.

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