As mentioned before sometimes getting to the start line is a major achievement. And this year was an exceptional one for that. In fact some of the challenges we had didn’t resolve themselves till after the race and started and by then it was too late.
Peter arrived on the Monday evening from the USA a little delayed but nothing scary. We drove to Timaru to break up the drive to Te Anau. Unfortunately his stuff didn’t make it with him and was lost in transit. No problem its only Monday. We will get it before the race starts on Thursday.
2 items were missing. A bike box (kinda important for doing an adventure race) and big duffle bag with the majority of his race gear. Not bike lights or headlamps though.
As we drove to Te Anau on the Tuesday we received confirmation that the bike box had been located and actually would be in Te Anau before we would arrive later that afternoon. Thats not bad service. However the duffle bag was AWOL.
And this is where the fun and game began. I decided to take on this project and deal with “Customer No Service” at Air NZ in part b/c I had working phone and could navigate this issue here in NZ a little better And it was one less thing for him to stress over along with getting over jet lag.
By the end of Tuesday we had heard that they had located it… lies and it was on its way to us Wednesday…. Lies. When it didnt show up Wednesday lunchtime I called again. Still being polite but to the point and going up the chain. The issue was they were showing the duffle had been delivered and they were now off the hook. The reality was the bike box had been delivered. Some how the tags or tracking numbers on 2 missing items had got switched and so they were showing a completed case, resolved and closed. It got to a point where I had to get the person on the other end to draw pictures with a crayon and count 1+1=2. And 2-1=1, which means 1 item is still outstanding. In fact I think I did do that at one point. I had gone so far up the chain at this point I was able to call John Key, now Air NZ board member but he was busy practicing his short game for President Obama’s recently completed trip here.
When they finally gone the picture some more time passed and it was finally located. In the meantime though we were now at Wednesday late afternoon and Peter had none of his personal race clothing etc. We were able to give him the rest of ours, pass the gear inspection. Oh and thankfully the other pack-raft we were using was in his bike box or else we would have been up the creek without a paddle and a raft. BTW… we found a friend in Te Anau who had an extra paddle. But in the meantime Pete had to go into Te Anau and ‘go nuts’ at the only outdoor store and spend up… GULP. While the rest of us hustled around town to try and track down various pieces of gear and clothing to use.
Needless to say this put us under the pump quite a bit. With gear drops and final packing we didn’t get to bed as early as we wanted on the night before the race. No excuses, just saying.
Race day dawned….. vomit. lets not start that way. We drove to the start line. Parked the truck and as we were about to walk over to the start line. I receive a call as I go to turn off my phone and its Air NZ telling me that they have Pete’s duffle and its in Christchurch and they are working their hardest to get it down to Te Anau ASAP. “We will have it to you sir by late morning”. Like that was supposed to impress me. I responded. “Well sir, too late. last night would have been ok, but today is too late. Take your time, we won’t need it or see it for another 7-10days, have a nice day.”
In the next post I will pick up the race reporting. haha keep you hanging.