... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Friday, April 19, 2013

Technical Difficulties and Logistics Nightmares

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am feeling quite confident about the race itself. I have run eight miles, swam (swum? Dear God, my grammar certainty is failing me.) two miles, and biked 35 miles, each of those distances being at least three times longer than what I have to do on Sunday. Because of this, and because of the increased difficulty level of my training on the Big Island in the past three weeks, I know that I will be able to finish without any problems.

This does not, however, mean that things are going smoothly.

First, I found out that packet pickup for the race ends at 5pm on Saturday and because the bike portion goes onto military base land, participants must sign a base waiver. Since my flight on Saturday was scheduled to arrive at 6:41pm, this posed some obvious problems. After calling the race sponsors and enlisting friends in Honolulu, I had made arrangements to have someone else pick up my packet, but the base waiver issue was still unresolved.

Then, I made a trip to the bike shop in Kona yesterday to buy all of the things that will make me look like I have some idea of what the hell I'm doing on my bike, like a race belt (which allows you to attach your race number without dealing with safety pins, which can be challenging to use when your adrenaline is pumping and high activity levels make your fingers feel like sausages and your fine motor skills are reduced to the level of a two-day-old baby), a hand pump, a tube for the tire, and tire levers. The kind and - luckily for me - very non-judgemental associate walked me through options for everything I needed and didn't laugh me out of the shop even though I clearly had no idea what I should get. Given my experience with better-than-you hipster biker chick in Honolulu and the fact that this is the premier bike shop in Kona, home of the Ironman, I greatly appreciated his attitude. Whether or not he and his coworkers mocked me after I left, I have no idea, but I don't really care. I left with lots of essential tools and a few fun toys.

The downside of this visit, however, was that in discussing the shipping options for my bike it quickly became apparent that my plan to take it on the plane in one piece was at best wishful thinking and at worst a bad idea that could potentially ruin my first triathlon if the bike did not arrive in rideable condition. The only way to fit a road bike into a bike box is to almost fully disassemble it, something that is almost laughable given that I barely know how to change a tire, much less put it back together from component pieces, and shipping it whole could very well result in a bent frame, broken attachments, or missing parts, none of which would be acceptable since I was set to arrive in Honolulu after all of the bike shops are closed for the day. Ugh.

Following the bike shop guy's recommendation, I called Boca Hawaii, the bike shop sponsoring the race, and found that they have a triathlon bike available for rent for $50 for the day, which is actually significantly less than I would spend to get my own bike on the plane both ways. Add in the convenience factor of not having to haul a bike to and from the airport, and I decided that much as I wanted to use my own bike for my first tri, the smart decision would be to rent for the day. Disappointing, but sometimes logic just has to win over emotion.

To un-complicate the situation one step further, I decided to suck up the $30 change fee and change my flight on Saturday so that I would arrive earlier in the day. This way I can be present to pick up my race packet, sign the base waiver, and pick up my rental bike without having to impose on other people and worry myself sick about all of these things getting done. Finally, with one day to go, I think that I have all of the logistics figured out and will be able to arrive, get everything I need, and get ready to race with minimal stress.

I am ready to go!

No comments:

Post a Comment