Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Jinxed

I will confess to creating a lot of my own problems in life, however I do also think I have a pretty good case for thinking I'm jinxed.

For example, when I go out riding, and I end up struggling up hills in a puddle of pain - well that's my fault for being so unfit and overweight and I'll accept that - it's my fault, my problem and not a jinx.

When I break a spoke on my rear wheel - well that's probably something to do with my weight as well, so I won't call that a jinx either.

But how many people do you know who have had not one, but two deraileurs ripped from their bikes by random sticks in the last six months?

I bet not many.

In fact in the last month, I've spent nearly $800 just on bike repairs, including today where All Terrain Cycles in Mansfield charged me $40 to top up the Stan's No Leak Fluid in my rear tyre. 

Now to put this in context this is a 5 minute job even for me - you remove the valve core from the tyre, you inject the fluid (about $2-$4 worth) into the tyre, you put the valve core back in and inflate the tyre.

It's a $10-$20 job, not a $40 job.

Jinxed.

Another example from a couple of months ago: I went into the doctors to get a skin growth on my calf checked out.  My dcotor didn't think it was anything to worry about, but erring on the side of caution, he agreed to cut it out and sent it off for a biopsy.

All was good, the biopsy came back clean, the stitches were taken out and I went back to my life ... except two weeks later, whilst riding over a long weekend, the wound reopened, it got seriously infected, and for the last month I've  been going to the doctors twice a week to have it cleaned out and re-bandaged.

Jinxed.

Because of this wound, I've not been able to ride my bike for over a month, so I'm now up in Victoria on a weeks leave (which was booked on the premise of competing in the Bike Buller Weekend several months ago) but because I haven't  been on my bike for a month and with no base fitness to begin with, I'm now just cruising around riding trails instead.

Jinxed (but making the best of it).

I've got more - the Sea Canoeing Club has just had Nic Cunliffe, a brilliant instructor from Wales, over here teaching us some paddling skills.  I was originally meant to be on some sessions on 21 February, but getting dates for the Convicts & Wenches run that Kim is doing, I moved it to March 14.  (This wasn't, necessary as her run was actually on the 21st March, not 21 February).

The week before my revised session, I had to drive over to the Rosbery for some meetings about the West Coast Mountin Bike project. 

Now, I had a nice large car booked for the drive (as there was a chance we might get to ride some of the trails and so I wanted to take my bike), but when I went to pick the car up, I found someone had double parked over the back of it and I couldn't get it out. 

Needing to get over to the West Coast, I swapped the keys for a small car, just to get on the road, and came back the next day (after 10 hours driving in two days) with a really sore neck and shoulder from the driving and the headrest.

Rather than get better after a few days, the shoulder actually got worse over the course of the week, and so when I got in the kayak on Saturday for Nic's training, I found myself doing advanced training with a leg I can't get wet (because of the wound) and a shoulder which quickly started flaring up ... so I ended up having to sit out most of the morning session, and I dropped out completely from the afternoon session.

Jinxed by some idiot who double parked over my car.

All of this brings me to today where I flew into Melbourne with my bike, picked up my hire car from Europcar and headed off towards Mt Buller for a few days riding.

Now I'd already found out that there would be no shuttles up to the brand new Epic Trail (they only run on weekends), but I was still keen to hit the trails and explore and had arranged my route to maximise trail time.  I stopped in Mansfield for some lunch, and as I jumped out of the car, I locked it and just out of habit, I tested the drivers door to check it was locked ... and found that it opened.

Not thinking much about it, I then tried relocking it a few different ways, but although all of the other doors locked and unlocked, I couldn't lock the drivers door. 

There wasn't even a key hole in the door to do it manually.

Thinking there must be some trick to it, I both read the very thick drivers manual, and I even googled it ... all to no avail.

Finally, embarrassed, I did what every male hates doing - I called up the customer service line, explained my predicament, and asked if I could talk to someone who might tell me if there was some  'trick' to locking a VW Golf.

I made this call at 1.35pm after having already spent about 20 minutes trying to figure it out myself.

The customer service line put me through to the Melbourne Airport dealership where I'd hired the car.

The airport office, after hearing my issues (by this point I had also recalled that the car was unlocked when I picked it up and I'd also realised that the a funny 'door clicking' noise I'd been hearing on the way up to Mansfield was probably related to this problem), apologised, told me to call the roadside support number and assured me that they'd come out and fix it.

I rang the roadside support office, who told me they could get there, but I'd need to call the customer service number to get my contract number before they could log the job and come and help me.

As I was calling the customer service number, I found the contract number on some of the documentation I had been provided, so I hung up and called the roadside support number again.

After getting through to them a second time, I explained my problem (again) but was told this time that this was in fact not a roadside support issue, and that I'd need to call the Melbourne Airport dealership and they'd deal with it.

I explained (I pleaded) that the dealership had told me to talk to roadside support, and that this was already by fourth or fifth call, but roadside support were adamant, so I hung up and called the Melbourne airport dealership ...

Except ... I couldn't get through. 

After trying three times over 10-15 minutes, I finally rang the customer support line, explained I was getting pretty pissed off, and could they please help me solve this problem.

They finally managed to get through to the Manager of the Melbourne airport dealership, who told me my options were to return the vehicle to the airport (three hours away) or that he could send a new vehicle up on a tow truck which would take 4 or 5 hours.

Either way, this completely ruined my days plans, so I asked for a minute to think about it, and got a direct number I could call him back on.

After a few minutes, I decided that the best option would be to book myself into a hotel in Mansfield, and then at least I could unload everything into my hotel room and go for a ride locally while I was waiting for the new car to arrive.

So I rang the manager back on the special number he gave me to tell him the plan ...

Which put me straight through to a message bank service which was full and hung up on me.

Over the next hour and a half, I continued to ring the various numbers trying to get through to someone, anyone ... I finally got a call back at 16:35pm - three hours and 24 phone calls (seriously - I counted them) after I'd first called with the problem.

By this time, I had also booked into a motel, but as I'd spent all day on the phone, I had not got out for a ride or done anything else other than make call, after call, after call.

Finally, at 9pm that night, a replacement vehicle finally arrived at my motel.

No apology was however forthcoming.

Go on ... tell me I'm not jinxed.  I dare you.

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