Wednesday, 26 December 2007

In the air, finally....

A hectic last few hours according to Mark's diary:

Over 11,000 hours on the bike and 13,540 miles cycled since the start on 5th August!

Set off from Huntly at 8am on last 90km to Auckland. Been raining through the night but dried up. Planned to been in Auckland by 1pm, but came into Bombay Hills and lots of traffic lights, so estimated 2pm. However, our great contact in Auckland, Paul Robertson decided to go out on the road - met up with Mark and guided him in through roads and traffic to Queen Mary Avenue - there by 1.3opm! A big help Paul!

Leaving for airport at 5pm so time get bike boxed, have massage etc. DHL package from home base waiting with warm cycling clothes, new bike seat, maps etc for Leg 6 in the States. Behind the scenes, package was delivered on Monday to Queen Mary Drive, but no one in so, they took package away to the city depot. By the time base camp heard this, depot was closed for Christmas and not open until Thursday 27th - too late for Mark! Told to phone DHL Customer Care Boxing Day morning but little could be done until Thursday.

To forward package with DHL would have taken a week including USA customs and similar problems sending package as cargo with Air New Zealand on same passenger plane as Mark but one day later on Thursday 27th. After many calls, spoke to Suzanne at Air New Zealand International Cargo at 2am GMT Christmas Day, explained the situation which she immediately understood. She volunteered to phone DHL and see what she could do and then phone Base Camp back. Twenty minutes later, she called back, having spoken to DHL, and arranged for package to be brought to airport depot by lunch time Boxing Day! The very best result wished for and a huge thanks to Suzanne.

DHL actually delivered the package to Queen Mary Avenue Boxing Day morning! Many thanks to them.

Though no time to spare, everything else went smoothly with the great help of Paul. Anna gave a great sports massage and then a detailed report to Fiona Lindsay, Mark’s physio at home. This will be handed on to next therapist in San Francisco - essential after 12 hr 15 min flight.

Waiting at San Francisco airport at 10.45 will be Joe Legallet and his son-in-law Paul Lusk - Paul is a cyclist and also has a 4 x 4 for the bike box. Joe and his wife Annette live in San Mateo, 20 mins south of the airport and are kindly having Mark to stay for a night before starting Leg 6. Whilst Mark has a sports massage in the afternoon, his bike will be looked over by a Rohloff retailer.

So, Mark left New Zealand 19.30 Boxing Day evening (13hours ahead of GMT) and he will arrive San Francisco 10.45 Boxing Day morning (8 hours behind GMT) to live the day over again!

Alan Parkinson