Sunday, May 12, 2013

When travel doesn't go to plan

I like it when Hanibal Smith from the A-Team says "I love it when a plan comes together". I tend to plan pretty thoroughly when it comes to my racing. It is really just a logistics game. Today, however, it was nothing short of a disaster, in which the saving grace was that it wasn't my fault. I am off to the Alice Springs Enduro, which is a 5 day, 7 stage mountain bike stage race in the centre of Australia. About ten years ago I was working up here for a couple of months doing hydrogeological studies on the town's entire water source collecting water and analysing it for quality as well as age-istope analysis. Rivetting stuff.

Bike packed - almost

The last time I was there, it poured down, and I crossed the Finke River in the Toyota Land Cruiser with the water washing over the bonnet. Pretty wild whilst crossing a 200m long bridge. But I had to be somewhere. Speaking of being somewhere, I should be sitting in a hotel in Alice Springs, however, I am sitting in a hotel in Sydney.

The day started well

Why?.....well.... as I was driving to the airport at stupid o;clock this morning, it was pretty foggy. A little more than usual. Getting out of Canberra can be a handful at times if the fog is strong, like it is when it gets colder. I was going CBR to SYD, then SYD to ASP. Kylie and I had some coffee in the Qantas club and also something to eat. When I got on the plane, I was surprised to see that Andrew Hall had changed his flighttime to be on my flight out. Legendary!

Sitting on the tarmac el capitano says, visibility, blah, blah, blah. Yep short delay. Then we were off. Well that was easy. 5 minutes later and we are doing circles around Sydney which is enshrouded in fog. At first we seem to be landing, then as Fenner would say, BOOM, we are taking off again. Wheels not even touching the ground. Captain says ' off to Melbourne as Canberra is too foggy to land'

A bit foggy in Sydney to land

We landed but they said, you couldn't get off the plane as they would return back to Sydney. Andrew and I entertained the thought of a mad road trip if we could get from Sydney to Adelaide. I have driven Alice to Adelaide in one day before so know it can be done in 12 hours. When we got back to Sydney, the only option offered was the next day flight and a romantic stay at the Mercure Airport Hotel. Rockin!

Fashion Police Called - Andrew Hall, please return that outfit to Andy Blair immediately!

So, it took 7 hours to go Canberra to Sydney with no food. That's not bad, I wasn't overly hungry. When we get to Sydney however, they say ' we can't find your luggage'. You're kidding me!! Kylie said she saw my bike go on as we left. Anger was rising as we spent about 30 minutes sorting this out.The pilot had also said that we could redeem our boarding pass for food at any of the airport outlets. The dude at the coffee shop downstairs hadn't got the memo,however, and wasn't keen  on me having a freebie. Stomach was rumbling now...

So, now I am watching Ghostbusters 2,which ironically I was also watching the night before the Tathra Enduro 2 weeks ago, and I am hoping that I can at least make it to Alice tomorrow. We will miss the first stage, but should be right for the 2nd stage in that afternoon. Unfortunately, now our General Classification chances are gone, so maybe it will be stage hunting that will be on the cards. There are sure to still be plenty of opportunities out there hopefully to stake a claim of sorts..

Like they say in the big ones, 'shit happens'. There is nothing left to do but suck it up and rejig the plans and start again tomorrow. It could be worse!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that you'll find that hydrogeological mapping in ALice Springs is the best thing ever.

Ride in the morning. Sample all day. Ride in the evening. And then filter water samples all night. What could be better?