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The 2012 Colorado Expedition - Chapter 1

 

The start of any adventure is the assembly of the party and the embarkation.

Our 2012 bike trip to Colorado started badly when Leonie was putting the final polish on her training and crashed heavily, resulting in badly broken ribs and a collapsed lung. That meant she couldn’t even go. Everybody was really disappointed by the absence of Leonie and Mike, who stayed home to take care of her.

When we got to the Auckland airport the flight to Los Angeles was delayed for two hours. That meant we had plenty of time to sit around before getting onboard for a twelve hour trip to Los Angeles. Sort of made it a 14 hour trip. The original schedule had us into LAX with four hours to make our connection to Denver, but the delay plus a busy customs hall whittled that down to a little over an hour.

United’s terminal is a decent 10 minute walk from the arrival terminal, but that would assume you knew where you were going, and were’nt carrying 6 bike boxes. Alice’s wouldn’t fit between the bollards that were liberally dotted around the place, and had to be balanced on its end, where it would topple over, slither off sideways, or impede her forward vision. When we got the UA terminal there was a lot of confusion among the staff about how to deal with us, which took extra time. Then there was the security checkpoint, with shoe removal, bag scanning and re-scanning. It was getting very tight, but the flight to Denver was delayed by an hour. So we met up with Gregg and Neil, the last of our cohort to assemble, and sat down.

The trip to Denver was uneventful, but the fun started when we had regrouped at the Shuttle station for the trip to our first stopover in Boulder.

The van was big, but had no trailer. There were 8 of us plus the driver, 8 bike boxes, 8 large bags, and assorted small bags. There was no way it was all going to fit. But the driver, who came from a place where the volume of a vehicle is not a finite number, started loading anyway. So we helped. Bikes went in, and bags went in, then strategic loading dictated people had to be inserted into some people-shaped spaces that would become difficult to access with the addition of more bikes. When the van was full, there were still three bike boxes, three or four bags, and four people still on the sidewalk. We all thought it was a hopeless situation, and another van or at least another trip would be required. But that is not how they do things where our driver came from. So bikes were moved, bags were rotated, people were inserted ever tighter, and with Eugene in the front nursing a large bag on his lap, and Mike, Neil and Fiona supporting a bike box on their heads, we could close all the doors at the same time and thus proceed. Luckily the drive to Boulder was only an hour.

The sleep got us back on an even keel and we spent the first day wandering around Boulder and looking at bike shops. The excitement of knowing we are going to be riding some new places in a couple of days is only tempered by the fact that we have to wait a couple of days.