Friday, July 16, 2010

The 12 hours of Denver.

No, it is  not a new endurance race series, although if it was, it would be a criterium of sorts cuz Denver is flat as a billiard least, that is my take on it.

No, the 12 hours of Denver is the time it took me to get home, travel time wise.  From the shuttle bus at Keystone to the car ride from the Flyway...12 hours of travel joy and mirth.

It all began well enough with a pleasant ride into Denver with a few fine fellows with plenty of time to make my 1:10 flight to Salt Lake.  I went to the self service kiosk just like all the other guys and looked forward to lunch with the group one last time.

Not to be.

The screen gave me the airport equivalent of the 'Blue Screen Of Death' and said the fatal words, "There may be a problem with your flight.  Please see an attendant."  Oh dear.  It turns out that the airplane was delayed or lost or broken or something and now, the race was on.  I joined the line of woe and desperation along with all the other Salt Lake hopefuls looking to get outta' Denver.  Kathie, a Delta counter person, was in a pay it forward mood and hooked me up with a direct flight to LAX, leaving three hours later from Denver, but getting into town only 2 hours later than I was supposed to hit Burbank.  Cool.

Off to the American Airlines counter and the next line of patience and penitence.  I called Nic, the Specy guy and world famous TDF commentator, and told him to have a nice lunch as I stood in line for an hour.

That done, I waded through the security screening and headed to the East Wing of the airport in search of a place to use my lunch vouchers from Delta.  "So sorry about this....have lunch on us".  OK, I will.  04:00 boarding turned to 04:30 boarding and then we were off on a 737, an upgrade from the commuter jets of Delta.

LAX finally, then the baggage dance, and then off to the waiting station for the Fly Away bus that will, for a few coins, take me back closer to home preventing the wife from having to fight traffic into LA.  I waited.  Other folks joined me.  We waited.  Nearly an hour goes by and then, the bus.  Then the freeway...5 miles an hour for another hour.

Wow.  It was a bedraggled Grannygear that finally met the wife on a hot summers night in the San Fernando Valley to make the last leg of the journey home and a nice bowl of Albondigas soup in a cool restaurant.

I know that endurance racing is catching on all over, but I cannot recommend the 12 Hours of Denver.  Take my word for it.

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