This year, the Tour of California moved to May, which presented Jason and I with an opportunity to go as the last three stages just happened to fall on a 4-day weekend. Sweet! So as soon as the dates were firm, we booked a ticket, hotels, car rental... everything we needed to follow the race for the weekend and have an awesome time. And that we did. But of course, things never go 100% according to plan, and the getting there part of the weekend became complicated.
We headed for the airport, it was a nice sunny day, no fog or anything else that can cause havoc on those little planes getting off the island. There were some familiar faces at the airport, and lots of people heading to Vegas to party away their long weekend. This is our version of Vegas - a pro bike race! I'd rather be at that event any day. When our plane to Seattle arrived, it turned out it was broken. Yep, broken. But no big deal, they were sending another one for us, only it meant we'd miss our connection. No big deal, they would rebook us on another.
Lucky for us there are about eight hundred airports in the greater LA area (oh, the hyperbole...), so it was no trouble to rebook onto a later flight Thursday evening from Seattle, it just meant going into a different airport. No big deal, I whipped out my iPhone and changed our car rental from the OC airport to the Ontario one.
Back at the gate, waiting for our plane, waiting... where was our replacement plane? It was taking forever to get here, and suddenly our new connection wasn't looking good. When the little puddle-jumper finally arrived, it was pretty clear that we weren't getting to Seattle on time for the flight to Ontario, but Jason and I were willing to sprint through the airport to give it a try. Too bad we still had to clear customs, and that part wasn't exactly quick, so we didn't make it.
No big deal, they booked us on the first flight out in the morning. They were nice and gave us our pick of airports, and we picked Ontario since it was closest to the San Bernardino mountains where we were going to see Stage 6. Of course we were stuck in Seattle for the night, but no big deal as Alaska Airlines paid for our hotel, and again I changed our car rental and cancelled the hotel in San Bernardino we were supposed to be in for the night.
Finally at the hotel and checked in, we were hungry and tired. No big deal, there was a Denny's a few blocks away. Mmm, Denny's. They do make a mean grilled cheese sandwich, so we walked over (it was a little farther than we remembered, but no big deal), ordered some food, and luckily got Kirsty on the phone to tell her and Tim that plans had changed a bit and we'd see them a bit later in the morning than we expected. We ate, stepped outside into the rain, but no big deal as we ran back to the hotel.
I set my alarm clock for 4:45 am (that early-morning flight...), but was awake about a half hour before my alarm, so we got an earlier shuttle back to the airport and had lots of time for Jason's favourite breakfast burrito from Qdoba in the terminal. Our plane was pretty much on time getting in to Ontario, but we were hours behind our original plan. No big deal, I went to get our suitcase and Jason went to get the rental car. We headed up towards Dawson Saddle, the highest point of the whole race, where we were meeting Tim and Kirsty. We weren't sure if we'd make it there before the road was closed for the peloton coming through, but we'd leave it all on the road trying.
Jason zoomed through interstate traffic, and we found the turn-off. There were tonnes of cyclists riding out to the race, and tonnes of fans all along the route. We were going as fast as we could, knowing the road would soon be closed. Up one pass, down, up another... then no more cell phone service so the GPS on my iPhone became useless. I knew we were getting close to the summit, and we were crossing our fingers we'd get there on time. We made it to the top of Dawson Saddle, over the King of the Mountains line, and saw Tim & Kirsty waving at us. We pulled into the spot they had saved for us, and we were there! Next step some food, then waiting for the peloton to arrive. No big deal.