Just as well we arrived at the airport 2 hours before the flight to London - initially we were on standby due to overbooking. Maybe Grimsvötn was to blame. Amazingly, the bikebox with bike, wetsuit, casual clothes and water bottles only weighed about 18 kilos but it still cost 75 euros to send as oversize baggage. To be honest I prefer to pay extra as it probably increases the chances of it arriving in Sao Paolo in perfect condition. The journey is a long one, of Ironman proportions in terms of time, but I'm reading Lance Armstrong's "It's not about the bike" which I had been saving to keep me inspired.
I started to get paranoid on the plane hearing everyone coughing, sneezing and spluttering, that I would pick up some virus through the air conditioning. I even considered getting a mask as a first line of defense! My wife is currently suffering from some kind of virus so I just hope the incubation period is long enough or that my body can fight it off at no extra cost...
The flight to Sao Paolo actually left ahead of the scheduled time. That's the first time it's ever happened to me, and I have travelled a fair bit (not all that long ago I had a platinum Iberia card!). Now the trick is, how to sleep on the plane when they insist on keeping the lights on and bothering you every five minutes. In any case, the idea of being able to just wake up in Brazil is too exciting. My family has already conked out. The time in Floripa is 5 hours behind Madrid which means that getting up at 4am on Sunday is like having a lie in. (As I write this, I realize that 9am on a Sunday counts as a lie in when it wasn't so long ago that I might get up at 11am or later at the weekend.) Rather than trying to adjust to the time difference I'm going to adjust to only 2 hours difference and try to be in bed by 9 every evening (provided we can find restaurants willing to serve dinner at 7pm which, in Spain, would be mission impossible). Trouble is that the kids are harder to trick into going to bed while the sun is still shining. In the end I managed to sleep reasonably well and even watched Brighton Rock, getting tantalizingly close to the end before the seatbelts sign came on.
I felt my adrenaline levels noticeably rise on the transit bus on the way to the Floripa flight: there were an unusual number (even for Brazil) of tanned, toned and muscular bodies and the M-dot logo was everywhere you looked. It made me think of the first time I went to Brazil, over 10 years ago, when I was embarrassed to go to the beach with my soft, white body. At least this time it's not so bad but the psych-out factor is there all the same.
I was so relieved to see that the bike had arrived intact and without too many signs of abuse on the outside of the bikebox. Now, it seems, I have no excuses left but to DO THIS THING!!!