Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Heavy Matters

Tomorrow I am flying out to Graz in southern Austria. From there I shall jump in a rental and drive the 50 odd minutes to Maribor in Slovenia. All in the name of the UCI mountain bike World Cup. Indeed the first round of the downhill series. It all sounds exciting. And it is. The season opener is the time when we see who has been training most and who has been drinking the most over the winter period. Let the circus on the hillside begin! But, what is less enthralling is the journey. See those scales up there? Originally I bought them to weigh bikes that I was testing and writing about for magazines. But now they are being brought into play to weigh my luggage. You guessed it. I am flying Ryanair! Ryanair seems to fly to all the places I want to go. Funny that. Mountain resort nestling in middle of nowhere? Ryanair has found an place to deposit passengers close to all of 'em. Actually, I looked at flying Easyjet to Venice and a longer drive but the costs are pretty close and I drove well over 700 miles to the last event. I know what knackered feels like and what rumble strips sound like! . So here I am dividing pieces of kit into bags. I have put a body and three lenses, a flash, laptop, card reader and cards ino my LowePro Pro Runner 350AW. The bare minimum to allow me to work should things go astray from the flight. I flew the same arrangement on Ryanair recently with no check in hiccups so I'm praying for a nice guy or gal at the desk. I put - and this really hurts-my fave lens, the money lens, the Nikon 300mm f2.8 into a Peli case along with a smaller lens, another gun and lots of leads,drive,padding,rain covers etc. The scales sunk to just under 15kg. Wahey! So I have a further 15kg allowance in my other bag. And that is earmarked for tripods, chargers, batteries all crammed into Lowe Street and Field pouches for a bit of protection. Clothes? You must be joking! Nah, I'm joking. It's not a fashion parade though so it's walking boots, base layers waterproofs and a toothbrush. Pretty much. Yeah, I may smell on the plane come Monday but so long as I don't pay excess and don't sit next to some ravishing beauty frankly I don't give a damn.....

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