Tuesday July 17, 2012,
I woke up and gathered all my things for my journey back to the US. I said my goodbyes to Julienna and the kids and headed out. I had a few issues checking in with France Airlines. They were not sure if they were going to have room on the flight to check my bike. With all the cyclist traveling home, they have been having some issues. They told me this was my fault, as I didn’t call the airlines first letting them know I would be coming with a bike. WHAT?!? This is the first I have EVER heard of this and I travel A LOT with my bike. They made me stand there for 30 minutes, making calls to make sure they had room. WHAT a JOKE! When I finally made the flight and took my seat, I looked around and counted AT LEAST THIRTY EMPTY SEATS - clowns!
They also tried to take me for a ride with check in fees. They wanted to try and charge me $220 Euros to check my bike. A fee for the bike, AND a fee for being over weight, AND a fee for the size. HELLLLOOOOO that is what the bike fee is for, because it is all these things. I love telling people what their procedures are. I told her I only had $105 Euros left on my cash card, $10 Euros cash and she wanted more. I pulled out $58 US cash, which she made me go change into Francs. She even took the change out of my pockets to try to get out every last penny I had on me. I was still short of the $220 she needed, but with the boarding deadline approaching and me left with only lint in my pocket, she let me go through.
I tried to stay awake for the whole flight, in an attempt to try and turn my body around quickly. I landed in NYC at 10 pm and was greeted at the airport by Namwan! She is a Thai student who did a school study 16 years ago at our home back in Canada. She now lives in New York and is hosting me for my one night stay before I head to Lake Placid in the morning. Before heading to her place for the night, we put my bike in her store so I could leave it there for a few weeks.
|Namwan from Thailand, all grown up.|
I made a dumb error when booking all my flights and booked myself into the wrong airport in NY. I didn’t want to pay the $150 each way on the short Delta flight and this is why I would be leaving my bike with Namwan. Jim Wilkes (my host for the Lake Placid Ironman) helped me out in a HUGE way and booked my flight from JFK to the race site. He is also letting me use one of his bikes for the race there. I will leave my bike here in NYC city for when I return early in August, for the US championships in NYC, NY!
Wednesday 18, 2012
|Steve and Namwan|
New York is hot! I slept in and finally got to watch some of the Tour De France (not live he he) and just relaxed until lunch when Namwan was going to show off her new store, take me to lunch, and show me her little town. When I first met Namwan, 16 years ago, she knew maybe 5 words of English and was just a teenager. Now she speaks great English, some Spanish and perfect Thai. She is living “The American Dream” and has moved to NY and opened her own business. She seems very happy and I couldn’t be happier for her. She gave me a quick tour of her shop and then Steve (her husband) and Namwan took me out to lunch at an Italian restaurant (home made noodles and everything.) It all tasted great. Steve went back to the store and Namwan took me to show off her little town, which had some great views and oceanfront property. I started to feel a little sick and a bad headache set in... must have been something I ate. I also felt like throwing up.... this is the first time this year I have not felt very good (well outside of a race that is ;) Namwan dropped me off at the airport where my next adventure would begin.
|Trying to sleep.... in an airport...|
I checked in for the flight. It was suppose to be an easy flight to NJ and then back to Syracuse. It turned into a series of delays, which kept me in airports ‘till I finally landed at my destination at 2:30am. Jim Wilkes (complete stud) was patiently waiting for me there. We waited.... waited.... No Bags! For some reason with all the delays and confusion, my bags just didn’t make it out of New York City. I filled out some paperwork and received an overnight bag from Delta. It had everything I would need to stay clean and smelling fresh and a new Delta T-shirt.... which will never be worn. >:/
|Found Him !!!|
The drive to Jim’s place in Potsdam, NY was about 2 1/2 hours from the airport. I wouldn’t want to live so far away from a major airport, if I had a choice. On the way to Jim’s, I saw a single headlight coming towards us on the two-lane freeway. We had just passed a slight bend in the road, when a motorbike went flying by in the opposite direction. I looked back and knew he wasn’t going to make the corner. He drifted into the shoulder and then all I saw was the red tail slight spinning through the air. CRASH!!! Then 3 cop cars whipped by in full pursuit. They didn’t see the bike go off the road and they blew right past where the bike wrecked. Jim and I flipped around to see if we could find the guy and the bike in the dark. We were pulled off to the side of the road, when a another cop car went flying by. We tried to flag them down, with no luck. Jim jumped on his phone and called 911 to see if we could get the cops to turn back around and come back to where we saw the crash. A few minutes passed and the ALL the police in the area were at the scene. Cop cars, trucks and vans all pulled up and everyone started looking for the bike and bike operator. They quickly found him and secured the area. They blocked off the road in both directions which meant Jim and I were stuck. A helicopter came in and landed on the two lane road (very impressive) and air lifted the guy to the hospital. Jim and I gave our statements and then were released to continue our journey to Jim’s house. We pulled in around 5am. A quick bowl of cereal and I was set for some much needed rest. I slept for about 5 hours before waking up to face the day! Click below to read a quick write up on the model citizen involved in the motorcycle crash;
The few days before the race, I was used to get readjusted to the US time zone and getting as much recovery as possible. I had a goal of trying to sleep from 9 pm to 9 am everyday, but with no success... I went to bed on time, but couldn’t get my body to sleep past 7:30 am. But I was still super happy about that. On Friday, Jim and I headed to Lake Placid to check out the town and get all checked in for the race. I got to check out the Olympic grounds from two previous Olympics and the “Miracle on Ice”. We wandered around the expo and met many new and interesting people.
|Jim and I at check in.... I think we are giddy to be doing Ironman!|
|One day I will BOBSLED!|
|Legends once skated here.... when there was ice....|
|It is almost like I am in the picture!|
|View from above of the Oval and Transition|
|Meet Mr. Jim Wilkes|
|Kids Swim Start!|
|Dinner with the Wilkes Family. A very special group!|
|Don't forget your number here!|
|At the finish!|
|On course with Olympic Ski Jumps|
I felt great after the race, took in some food and get a much deserved massage. I wandered over to the finish line to see if I could find Amy and her two boys. They were positioned in the grand stands waiting for Jim to conquer his day in Lake Placid. I got a front row seat against the barrier and watched for several hours as the participants of the day poured into the finish area. It was amazing to see all the joy on peoples faces both from the athletes and the loved ones in the stands. I saw huge smiles, and plenty of tears of joy. I heard cheers and joyous cries as athlete after athlete achieved this huge physical and mental accomplishment. Jim experienced some difficulties on the day and I had the “opportunity” to watch the finishers for hours and see many of the athletes stories come to their conclusions. Jim ran strong across the finish line in 16 hours. Congrats and a HUGE thanks to Jim for his incredible generosity and help during my stay in NY. You sir are awesome!
The Iron Cowboy.
|Waiting for Jim to finish...|
|One of the best crowds of the year... it was loud for hours!|
|Waiting....Waiting.... the kids fell asleep right before Jim came in ;(|
|The man doesn't quit and finished strong! Just awesome Jim!|