Aug 15, 2011

(not) Dunnigan Hills report

If you’ve come here looking for the Dunnigan Hills race report, it’s not here for reasons laid out in more detail below; however, what is below may in fact be far more entertaining than had I actually made the start of my race and written a report. Experience has shown that while it’s very pleasurable to write a report about a race that went according to plan, it is far more entertaining to write (and read) about how everything got completely FUBARed. To quote my good friend Reid, “An adventure is a tragedy that never happened.” So here’s Saturday’s adventure.

I got up at the luxurious hour of 5 a.m., quickly got ready and was out the door by 5:30 or so. I got to the staging area slightly after 7, said “hi” to a few familiar faces, casually got my bike off the rack and rolled over to registration, which was about half of a mile from parking.

Number in hand, I proceeded to shift some things in the trunk of my car, getting my bottles and kit ready for the race. Then I decided I needed to walk over somewhere, I don’t even remember where, maybe I needed another run at the port-a-johns; whatever it was, I shut my trunk and heard my car go “beep.” Then and there I realized that this morning became highly unusual because inside my freshly locked car were the keys of the said car and I had about 40 minutes before my field was to start to get that problem sorted out.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, there is one and only one possible way to lock your keys inside a VW GTI. You start with the car in locked position, unlock only the trunk, put the keys inside the trunk and close the trunk. And I managed to do exactly that.

But we live in a world of smart phones, right? So I google a locksmith in Yolo, CA and find a website that promises to have one there in 15 minutes. I’m genuinely surprised when someone answers the call at 7:30 on a Saturday, but get skeptical when the girl on the phone asks me to spell “Yolo.” You’d think that someone answering the phone from a website called “Yolo Locksmith” would know how to spell that. The pleasant receptionist takes my info and promises to have someone there in 15 minutes. 

“Great!” – I think to myself, “I can still make this start, or even if I’m slightly late, I might be able to chase on.” Twenty minutes go by, no one is there. I call back and am told the tech is on the way and they will have him call me. No one calls. I call again and go through the same routine. Forty minutes come and go, and even the 15-minute, “standard” VeloPromo delay didn’t help me as I stood with my bike and watched my field start without me.

You would think that I’d get angry with myself or the world, or frustrated, or annoyed. But none of that happened. I was at all times in complete state of calm, and now, on top of that, there was nowhere to rush – I’ve got all the time in the world, but I still need to get the damn car unlocked. So I walked over to the highway patrol officer and asked her if there is any way she could help me out. She handed me a slim jim and said I could go play with that and see what I could do. I knew there was no chance that would work, but I tried it anyway. I was right, and just FYI: most foreign cars built after 2000 cannot be opened with one.

Some more waiting around and few phone calls later, still no luck on the locksmith. I walk over to the highway patrol officer again and ask if there is a local service she can recommend. Then she suggested we walk over to the local sheriff (who was also there for the race) to see if there is anyone local who might be cheaper. As we approach the sheriff, he’s busy in conversation with a worker of the railroad and Rick. If you’ve ever raced a VeloPromo race, you know Rick – he’s the guy with the large beard who greets you with “Hey, Brotha’!”

So the nice highway patrol officer says to the sheriff, “This gentleman (referring to me) locked his keys in his car.” When all of a sudden, Rick, in a very nonchalant way says, “Oh, I can get that open. I’ve got everything in my truck.”

Now, pause here and reflect for a moment; take in the situation in its entirety. Just think how much it would suck to lock your keys in your car 40 minutes before your race, miss your race, wait for two hours while the locksmith doesn’t show up, only to learn that the guy who was there all along had everything you needed to open your car.

Then and there I could have gotten angry again for not asking around, for not knowing, for not screaming at the top of my lungs in the middle of the parking lot, “Can anyone help me get this f**king car open!” But instead I laughed, and laughed some more. And I’ll quote Reid once again – “People say in a year from now you’ll look back at this and laugh; why wait?”

Turns out, all you really need to crack open a 2010 VW GTI is a pair of tire levers and a long metal rod. Pictures or it didn’t happen, right? Here you go!

See the blue tire lever sticking out of the car door?

So now I had my car unlocked, and the people at VeloPromo felt so sorry for this idiot were so nice that they even refunded me my entry fee without me asking for it.

But I still needed my four hours on the bike that afternoon, so I drove myself to San Rafael, which is exactly the same distance mileage wise from Yolo as my house (as it turns out) and did this in 90-degree heat (the coast was thankfully much cooler):

Around 10, when I was already on my way to San Rafael and 2.5 hours after originally making the call, I got a call back from the locksmith service telling me that the only available locksmith in the area had a family emergency and would not be coming to help me. 

1 comment:

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