Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stage Racing 101: Getting there from here

Helllooo, and welcome to beautiful Vancouver, BC! Despite not yet managing to get out of the food court (I'll get to that later), our neighbors to the north are already hard at work offering up all the comforts of home, with a bonus feature or two:

...god save the queen. All kidding aside, the Vancouver airport is rather pleasant: free wifi, parquet flooring, lots of natural light, greasy spoon Chinese food restaurants, about a million Chinese tourists (not eating the chinese food) and a strange forest-themed exhibit with real birds nesting in it (possibly not the intended design).

Apologies for not being more prolific lately, but interestingly enough trekking out to a stage race requires a lot of preparation, and a lot of stuff:

Exactly 100lbs of stuff, to be precise (tools and parts not shown). Thanks to a little creative packing, both Eric and I got our bikes on as regular baggage--$175 bike fee my a##--but with a little help from a couple hundred non-english speakers with a canceled flight and an incompetent gaggle of airline employees I'm actually the only one who made it to Vancouver...

After standing next in line for about 30min waiting to get checked in our attendant failed to be able to print my connecting boarding pass, and despite my warnings, also failed to start checking Eric in before the flight closed. If I had to guess, he's probably somewhere over the Rockies right now (crosses fingers).

Though missing your flight due to clerical error is awful, it might not be quite as frustrating as barely getting checked in and then almost missing it anyway because a TSA employee is having a crap day and decides to take it out on you:

"BAG CHECK!!" says the x-ray tech.

...along comes a surly, overweight, aging man who is clearly annoyed that he had to get up from his chair in the back and heaves my backpack upside down over his shoulder and would have dumped it unceremoniously all over the floor behind the counter had I not reached over and stuck out my hand to divert the waterfall. Suggesting to the one man entirely in control of my security pass-through time that he might want to pay attention to what he's doing was probably not the most pragmatic approach to the situation at the time, but when a guy's ONLY job is to pick up bags from a conveyor, inspect their contents and put them back, you'd think that not damaging the contents of the bags through gross negligence would be a basic skill criteria. I draw the patience line at FAIL.

Long story short he dumps my entire bag, then refuses to let me repack it myself and proceeds to be unable to get everything in, at which point he angrily defers to me, but not before insisting that he run it through the X-ray again.

Then I took off running, not just "oh, I might be a little late", but using benches as vaulting platforms, Indiana Jones being chased by a giant boulder style hauling-it to the gate, which I reached barely in time to get a seat with no overhead storage. I feel like a pretzel...

More soon!

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