Alright, so its been a week and I still have a lot of mixed feelings about my race in Whistler. I have a lot of jumbled up notes lying around that aren’t falling into place by themselves. So I’m just going to throw some stuff up here in some semi random order and apologize in advance if it doesn’t make sense.
In the weeks leading up to IM Canada I was really feeling good about this race. My training had gone well all year. I knew my fitness was as good as its ever been. I felt very confident in my gear, my fueling and hydration plans. I was healthy. The unpredictable ebb and flow of work stress even seemed to be ebbing at the right time. There have been two other times in my athletic life when I’d had the feeling all the stars were aligning and that I just knew I was going to have a great race. Until 7 days before the race, I thought I was headed there again. It certainly didn’t come crashing down around me, but several medium to minor things popped up that took me out of that ideal state of mind (and body).
First of all, I rolled my ankle. Sunday morning, exactly 7 days before the race. I was running a trail near home that I’ve run hundreds of times. I moved to the side of the trail to make way for a guy and his two dogs. I was 2-3 strides past him, moving back to the middle of the trail and just took my eyes off the ground BAM! Now, I’ve rolled my ankle enough to know the not so good from the bad from the ugly. This was definitely bad, but maybe not ugly. Continuing to run was definitely out of the question. I hobbled home as quickly as I could and started icing and fretting.
Less than an hour later my mom called to tell me that my grandpa’s health had taken a turn for the worse. He is alive and well, but things were pretty bad for a few days and no one really knew what was going to happen. For someone who likes to plan things, not even knowing what to plan for can be very disconcerting. I spent a lot of time with my grandpa growing up. I worked for him on the farm every summer starting after 6th grade. I credit him with many of what I consider to be my finer qualities. His health has been declining for some time now, but hearing that kind of news was very difficult. It made the next few days quite difficult too.
I also had a couple of days of work travel planned, which was quite good for sitting in one place icing my ankle. The trip involved a series of meetings that ended with a long, rather uncomfortable, surprisingly direct, difference of professional opinion between me and a client. Everyone involved acted professionally, but despite the attempts of several co-workers on both sides it boiled down to he and I sitting right beside one another disagreeing. I don’t enjoy conflict and generally try to avoid it where possible, there was no avoiding this one.
However, the thing that got my blood boiling the most during that week involved my bike. I paid a local company, Pro Bike Express (yes, I’m naming names!), to transport my bike (and a bag of gear) to and from the race. I signed up and paid for the service shortly after registering for the race last September. While traveling for work, a group of us received this text.The sinking feeling in my stomach was almost immediate. I’m pretty sure I didn’t put the serial number on my form. My bike has a limited edition color scheme and numbered accordingly, I think I put that number on the form. But wait, I filled out my paperwork almost a year ago. If it wasn’t complete, why didn’t someone tell me? Why did PBE even put bikes on the truck if they didn’t have the information they needed to cross the border? They’ve done this before right? Why is this 100% my fault? The more I thought about it the madder I got. Then the next text message appeared.
This was immediately followed by other customers volunteering to split the cost and openly encouraging everyone else to chip in and make it up to Pro Bike Express. It pissed me off even more. Why are we acting like a bunch of buddies who chipped in to trailer bikes to a race, split expenses, and drew straws to see who had to drive? I thought I hired a company with experience doing this, you know professionals?
Then the email came. (I didn’t bother to correct any spelling, grammar, or punctuation, but I changed the font to bold.)
OK, just some everyone is on the same page on what the current position is. Due to the face that most or you, not all. Did not place your serial # on the PBE registration form, as needed coming into Canada. Custom assumed that I ( Pro Bike Express ) was selling these and not transporting to and from an event. There are fines to misleading the government. This was not Canada mind you but the good old USA.
Charged 5000.00 penelty for falsified government docs.. This is a much different place that Penticton BC. Anyway, some have suggested splitting the cost up for those willing to help the cause. I will leave that in your hands on what type of value you place on getting your bike and gear to Whistler?
To be crystal clear, all of your serial #’s are under your bottom brackets as there are no excuses to this BS. You can drive across with your own stuff but when you have $285,000.00 of others peoples it brings a whole new level on who, why and what are you doing with it. Further more, as I’m still here at customs as they will not let me through today, need to check with the higher ups here. I should be able to cross tomorrow but will let you all know.
I will not transport like this again, no exceptions!
At this point, I went from mad to worried. My co-worker thought this could be construed as extortion. If Pro Bike Express feels that I owe them a significant amount of money, and I have no intention of paying them anything extra, can I trust them with my stuff? Hell no! And what type of confrontation would it take to get my stuff back when it becomes clear that I have no intention of paying extra? The worst part was probably not being able to do anything about it for 3 days.
Ultimately, I took my empty bike box with me to the race and brought everything home with me. Paying for extra airline baggage wasn’t fun, but it was worth the peace of mind knowing I didn’t have to trust Pro Bike Express with my stuff again.
In the end my ankle cooperated during the race, we didn’t have to change our travel plans, I earned some professional battle scars, and I retrieved all of my gear without incident. All is well that ends well right? I’m not so sure. I’m a big believer in mental preparation, visualization, and that just being in a calm and confident state of mind is one of the best things I can do to prepare for a race. I didn’t and I wasn’t. Did it have any physical affect on my conditioning and my ability to perform? No. Did it affect the development and execution of my race plan? I’m afraid so. Did it affect the way I dealt with adversity on the course? I hate to say it but, yes.