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    Shimla to Leh

    The Himalaya's proved great biking territory when we treked across Tibet and certainly worth a second trip. This time we were on the Indian side of the border doing the classic trip from Shimla to Leh. The last day of work before the holiday and there was a noticeable lack of radio chatter - perhaps our best prepared trip ever? Time will tell. We met up at the airport coming from a variety of directions but as ever the Wyatt van made an appearance loaded with kit. With our calorie starved previous trips in mind I turned up with several boxes of power bars to hand out. At this point they were free which prompted some debate on how the market price of a power bar might rise as the trip, and hardships, progressed. Even Steve 'not a care in the world' Wyatt seemed to have learnt from his experiences and popped an extra one in his bag 'just in case'. After all the trips we have done it was familiar sensation wheeling straining trolleys into the departure lounge checking out each other's packing strategies - making sure bikes get to the other end of a long haul flight in a fit state to ride requires some careful choices.

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    We'll never be accused of over preparation but this was the closest exception we have ever had. With three weeks to go flights had been booked, a route tentatively planned out and group kit assigned. The origins of the trip can be traced back to Andy's enforced two week break from work at the start of August due to his industry in effect shutting down for the fortnight. With memories of biking in Tibet fading some new adventures were proposed. The front runner appeared to be Alaska but some research showed that firstly it is a big place, secondly it is a long way away and finally that no one had more than two weeks of holiday to spare. A killer combination to that plan. Andy suggested Iceland as the perfect compromise. Smaller than Alaska, but with equal interest. Closer than Alaska, only a few hours of flight and a single hours time difference with routes possible in two weeks. So in summary Andy set the dates of our trip, the location of our trip and even had a hand in planning the routes to take. It will come as something of a surprise to the reader that at the last moment Andy announced he had booked his flights: to, you guessed it, Norway....





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    Borneo for Christmas? With this seemingly innocent question a holiday was born and with it a very different Christmas atmosphere than your classically traditional affair. Much heavier on the jungle, leeches, lack of oxygen, table tennis, pigs jaws, rain and much lighter on the presents under the tree (although there was no shortage of trees), last minute present shopping, traditional Christmas lunch than most years I've survived so far. Being away for Christmas does have the draw back that just prior to leaving, commonly a time to panic about all manner of things connected with traveling, becomes a time to rush around the country taking in as many Christmas activities as possible. Parents and sister missions completed it only remained, with some particularly last minute planning, on the last night before we flew to deliver a sofa bed to Eleanor's father and we were set for the off....