On a rainy afternoon in June 2015, 4 friends were sat together in a pub in Balmain enjoying an afternoon of increasingly drunken peacocking. As the afternoon wore on, the feathers became brighter, and the plumes more impressive. These are moments that should be exempt from any ‘gentlemans code’ of your word being your bond. The pressure and duress of a social situation such as this has you making commitments that you might live to regret. Lets be honest though – the bets and wagers made over a beer are the ones that you never step away from.
Alex and James are two young bucks.Both of them have a reasonable history of basic athletic achievement. Starting out in their fledgling professional careers – they are confident and head strong. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine them both as having had success at school and university, where there is little doubt they would have enjoyed the many trappings of such a small pond. As the two and a half, mid-strength beers consumed slowly went to their heads they looked across the table at the two older, wiser, men sat with them and let their small pond success run away with itself:
“The two of us, against the two of you, at the worlds hardest mountain bike race – the Cape Epic – in 2017”
I sat there thinking quietly. To my left, before the ‘t’ of thinking had even started in my mind, Dave pounced like a cat that had been studying a mouse for an hour.
“You two idiots are on. You wont stand a chance! Shippy, you and me, lets shake on this now and be done with it. Booked”
And so it was done. So deep was the water that they had inadvertently waded into, the bucks reached for life jackets, and a Peruvian friend……
Before everything turned to custard and the mid-strength beers got the better of the bucks, a few details were to be agreed – other than the ignominy of defeat that the losing team would suffer – what would be the true penalty for failure? Dinner at Cape Towns finest restaurant with EVERY. SINGLE. LAST. DETAIL. covered by the loser.
The Americans have a phrase “From soup to nuts” which suggests a certain ‘everything’. However, in this case, it doesn’t even start to come close. The phrase would be more accurate if were along the lines of “from drinks at a bar on a beach via a taxi to a world class restaurant, aperitifs, soup to nuts – with matching wines, closed out with a cigar and a digestif”.
And this was how it began. The course of the next 20 months was set. Various social media posts were shared to cement the agreement, and David & Anthony vs. James & Alex, Cape Epic 2017, loser pays dearly, was now a thing.