We have arrived in Sydney! Not without adventure!
My theory on the M25 ‘’Severe Queuing from next junction’’ warning is that the M25 is simply a government scheme to keep as many cars as possible off all the other roads at busy periods. Reaching Heathrow in time made us feel quite smug having foiled said government plan by expert m25 Friday evening rush hour avoidance navigation.
Pride comes before a fall… the lady at check in found that Simon had no Australian visa. I had ‘sorted’ our visas a month prior so this was not what we were expecting. Having said that, I had also ‘sorted’ out holiday flights the previous month for the wrong day making us turn up to our AQR “training week” a day late and I had ‘sorted’ our flights back from Australia a day earlier than we had agreed. Sorted, you might realise now has a new definition for the team!
Luckily a quick phone call to Oz immigration in Canberra at 5am their time and another 30 quid down and we were on the plane.
Once on the plane, we realised that our carefully “sorted” extra legroom seats meant that we were sandwiched between two single mums with excited toddlers on lap. Thank you to the purser who saw my face and moved us to a quieter place. Simon’s 6 ft 4 body concertinered neatly into the seat, onto the isle and beyond, into the kitchen. Luckily, no one seemed to mind stepping over him.
Dropping into Sydney on their bank holiday weekend, it was difficult to differentiate it from London- grey clouds and heavy rain bouncing 2 ft up off the runway. The weather didn’t seem to dampen the humour of Australian immigration, who were very jolly despite having to dive into my chaotic, over laden bags like a lucky dip for any signs of mud. Looking at my tyres, they insisted they needed washing. These were the brand new, never used tyres kindly donated by Maxxis for the race. (I think he just wanted a tea brake.) I admired his superb cleaning ability as he returned with them ‘spotless’ but wet and I promptly offered him a place on our pit crew as chief bike washer…
Meeting up with Ant, our other Natterbox team rider, at the airport was soon followed by a slick transfer to the car hire company to pick up our double cab, closed top UTE. We had “sorted” a vehicle to be large enough for the team and all our kit. 4 bike bags and 4 massive kit bags ‘fitted’ into the trunk much like Simon had ‘fitted’ into the airline seat. Knees to chest and creaking door hinges, team Natterbox is on the road!!