Les Sables D’Olonne
The rain never faded. And as the clock approached 4pm I’d decided that 6hrs “Davin’it” in McDonald’s was more than enough for one lifetime, thank you not one bit. Time to face up to the fact that I’m not going to see a solution to this in the bottom of my empty paper cup and it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m drinking coffee.
A quick search for a cheap hostel draws a blank but there’s a nasty hotel on the other side of town. Couple the word “nasty” with the fact that it’s still dead season and that spells the possibility of negotiation!
I skate off into the rain. The rough surface I normally avoid are now my main target as I try and avoid my wheels lifting the water and dumping it into my socks and my foot slipping. I stop off at few of the seaside hotels and lay on the sympathy limp with a €20 note in my hand and receive nothing but stern looks from the receptionist sat at their marble desks. Worth a try, if not just for an element of entertainment.
A few km later I discover a hotel that is only distinguishable as such due to a “wifi gratiut” sign outside and head in. SCORE! A bed and a shower is all I wanted but this one included a door, mattress and a pillow to boot.
Stoked to be out of the rain I dive into a hot shower obliterating the “gel du douch” but a towel down leaves the sparkling whites stained brown, akin to the aftermath an ex used to leave behind on the sheets after a heavy session on the fake tan. Another shower and the same again. One more for luck and it’s only then that I realised its not dirt at all but overly tanned skin I’m shedding. Still, another shower is still a nice comfort before I take a shower before hitting the bonus mattress. I’m sorted for a night! Spirits still in tact, clothes drying on hangers and finally smelling as they should after using what’s left of the shower gel to scrub them clean.
I wake after a wonderful nights sleep to a fear I knew was going to be realised, more rain, the same rain in fact. I watch closely out of the windows to make sure it’s not just a loop. No change, no let up and no hope for the next 20 hrs. Not a glimmer until the next day, a day that marks the start of 7 days of pure sunshine.
My calf is feeling the 2 day burn of the mammoth 60k’er and can barely bend, new muscles popping out of my kneepit to take their first look of the outside world in 35 yrs. In no state to face the rain, I head downstairs to the concierge and negotiate another night, my hotel bill for the two days costing less than the fair well T-bone I demolished 17 days ago. An easy lump to swallow, easier than the steak in fact.
I use the time to heal. To feed. To feel like a twat as I copy yoga moves off YouTube to relieve the shooting pain for my sciatic nerve in me left leg, learn how to deal with runners knee and then find out what the fuck runners knee is.
After another two showers I consume 4000 calories. Then I decide to eat before showering.
Just as I’m feeling tired enough to turn in after a day and a half of doing nothing, I check in on my social networks for the 1012th time of the day to experience something new. A couple of old friends that I’ve missed way too much over the years have posted a video on my profile. A very short video montage of two beautiful girls, laden with luggage and skating hopelessly to a horrific jingle. I can’t make sense of it at first. Is this a coincidence? Is there someone else out there doing a similar thing and I’ve received this as a bi product? Then I hear three words that really make no sense at all “brum, brum Tiny” – the first two I have no real explanation for but that last one, “Tiny”… that’s me! Well, that was my nickname from my previous days in Ibiza nearly 13 yea ago. I might have to explain: I was putting my name down for a DJ slot at a local workers bar and the owner instate do have a DJ name. I told him “the only DJ name I’ve ever had goes back to when I was 13 and standing 4 ft nothing – DJ Tiny. And, much to my dismay every time I was introduced to a hot girl out there, the name was overheard and stuck like glue. A bitch at the time but now, hearing that one word meant more than any other. A smile took over my face and continued to expand until it hurt, my heart thumped with a delicious heat, not a burn, a glow, as I realised this effort, this shoddy montage, the meaning of all this… was for me! To raise my spirits, to keep me on track and, after all these years, on my way back to Ibiza. I will never be cold again! It only takes a little to make someone else feel a lot but, this, this was way beyond that. This is something I will remember beyond the days where I can recall my own name. I had no hope of sleep after this and “sleep” is just not the correct explanation for what I experienced on the final hotel night. Deep sleep, blissful dreams, arising with a smile as if it had stayed with me throughout.
I woke early and was more than prepared to make up for the rain. Pumped with calories, packed with supplies and brimming with joy.
A day to forget became the day I will never.