Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bike Drop Off

I got the sense that Greyhound was getting a little impatient about me holding out on everyone with all the good tales of the trip and the race, so I will drop a few more crumbs for everyone.

After I got a glorious 10 hours of sleep, we got up and went over to the main house for a breakfast of musli, yogurt, assorted meats and cheeses, and fresh bread. At least I could have the yogurt, meats, and cheeses. Once we woke Ryan up and got him fed, we decided that we would ride the train into Zurich and look around since the athlete's meeting in English was not until 3 pm and we would do bike drop off after that.

The trains, as I mentioned, are very much on time. Even if you are running up as the doors are beginning to shut, you will not be able to get on by just sticking your arm out to block it from closing because those suckers lock down and the train starts rolling. Once we got to the Zurich HB main train station we had to find "The WC" or water closet. All public bathrooms require you to pay to use them. At the station I was not happy with the fact that I had to pay 2 CHF (Swiss Francs) to use the WC and Ryan only had to pay 1 CHF. What gives??? My kid regularly misses aim in the bathroom and I hate having to clean that up. Why do the guys have to pay less??!!?? We strolled down the Bhanhoffenstraff where all the high priced shopping is. Lauren had to get a phone card, but that was the only purchase we made. Everything else was too expensive. We stumbled across an open air market that after some inspection seemed to be a flea market. After pausing at the lake for more pictures, we started to make our way back to the train station so that we could head back to Staffa and get some lunch and get our bikes.

We were delayed leaving to Rapperswil on our bikes because a thunderstorm rolled in over the mountains and on to the lake. I was getting hungry since I was not able to just buy a sandwich at the train station and have a snack, SUCK! The rain made us miss our Athlete's meeting and we figured that it would be ok. There probably was not much that would be different racing in Switzerland vs. racing in the States. The rain slowed to a mist and we were off. I loved the fact that there are bikes lanes everywhere in Switzerland and the cars are very aware of cyclists on the road. Well, we made it into Rapperswil and the roads were still wet and they turned to cobblestone in some areas. I tried to follow Ryan up onto a sidewalk area where the bike lane went and my wheel went down into a crack and I CRASHED...ARGH!!!! Not now!!! Oh, dang that hurt. It was not bad enough to draw too much blood, but I slid on the wet pavement more than anything. I tore up my new jacket which was a bummer and somehow I managed to drop the chain on the bike where it came off the whole crank rather than coming off towards the bottom bracket, WTF! My brakes were not working anymore and we still had to make it in to the race venue. I picked myself up and got going again but this time I was a little jumpy.

Once we got to the transition area we all realized that we left our race numbers to go on our bikes back at the hotel 6.5 miles away. Were we brain dead??? So, I proceeded to go to the Bike Doctor while Ryan pedaled his way back to get our numbers. Well, being the nice girl that I am, I waited my turn to get some bike mechanic help and THREE TIMES I had these guys just push in front of me with their bikes and basically "cut in line" and get their bikes serviced! WTF do you think you are doing Hans and Franz??!!?? I had a lady that spoke broken English tell me to move on in and make my presence known because the rude Germans were like that. So I cranked up the inner B*I*T*C*H and got loud and shoved my bike in the tent and started shouting "Spreken se English?!?" to each mechanic. One guy popped his head up and said he did and amazingly he sounded like an American! He snapped off some German to another mechanic and my bike got up on a repair stand lickety split. They looked at me as they were noticing the brakes were not working. I tried to tell them I had a crash and pointed to my grimy leg and hip. They got me fixed up and now Lauren and I just had to wait for Ryan.

The people smoking like chimneys was driving me nuts so I told Lauren that if she would watch my bike, I was going to go to the expo and look for a CO2 cartridge. There was only one tent out of the 30 or so tents that had CO2--what was up with that??? Maybe it was like some black market thing and I had to say a secret password before a cartridge came out from under the table. I bought two for 10 CHF--Highway robbery in my opinion since I was going to have to trash them before getting on a plane. I found the Power Bar tent and saw that all the rejected flavors from America had landed in Europe, lol. Yes, I will have 2 Black Current, 1 Papaya, and 1 Peach flavored gel please.

When I got back to the bike, I had a Canadian guy (who was really cute--read tall and dark and lean) compliment my Kuota. He said it was a beautiful bike--HA, even with the green fork--and he asked if it was fast. HELL YEAH!!! But was I fast? He did not ask that question. Ryan finally showed up and we found out we missed the closing time for the transition area by 10 minutes. ARGH!!!!!!! The race was in the morning and now we had to be up at the crack of daylight to get the bikes in and then sit around for hours to wait for our start.

We took the train back to Staffa and while on the train, the conductors come by to check our train tickets. I pull mine out and they proceed to tell me it is no good! Wait! I just bought that!!! Sorry, no good. F--K!!! I had to fork over 80 CH Francs as a penalty. I was furious. I found out from another conductor at the next stop it was because I did not pay the 1/2 fare for my bike. Lauren lucked out and did not get caught and Ryan had left the bike back at the hotel, so everyone learned from my lesson. I was not having a good afternoon.

We had dinner at the hotel which was very good but very over priced. We watched some other race participants smoke and chug beer with their pre-race meal and realized that we were not in the States for sure. We got back to our rooms and tried to settle in for the night.

I slept horribly!

OK, race day is coming!!!

later gators,



greyhound said...

***drumming fingers****

BIKE drop off? Really.

And you didn't drop the bikes?


Dude, keep the rubber side down.

**snickering to myself**

Jeff said...

Black currant gel? Mmmmmm!

Paul said...

Oh my what an adventure! And yes they seem to respond to authority best. Way to take charge.

Rainmaker said...

Nice...and CoachLiz delivers the smack-down - German-style.

Viv said...

Ah man what a hectic day, Liz! To top it off a horrible nights sleep. My stomach is in knots over here for you. I hopr the next post brings better things. I may nevah leave america for a race :-)