Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My bicycle is missing

Date: Feb. 18
Mileage: 18.0
February mileage: 267.6
Hours: 1:30
Temperature: 38

Last week, when I was having a bad day amid all my bicycle preparations, I jokingly mentioned that I might not mind never seeing my bike again. Today I’m despondent that I may just get my wish.

This is hopefully nothing, and I am trying to take a stubborn stance of optimism, but the fact is Pugsley is lost in a FedEx vortex right now, and no one seems willing or able to tell me where it is.

When I dropped the bike off on Wednesday, I was under the impression that it would go out that day and be delivered Friday. But in actuality, it sat at the Juneau FedEx center until Monday and was in theory picked up in the afternoon - although no one knows for sure, because no one bothered to scan it. Now I have the national customer service agents telling me that my package does not exist, and the local people telling me that it may be on its way to Anchorage, but it definitely is no longer in Juneau.

I stopped by the office today and tried to swallow my panic as I explained how much I *really* needed to know where it was.

“Juneau’s a small market,” the man told me. “We only ship out once a week and the driver came and picked up all of our ground packages yesterday. They don’t get scanned until they get to Anchorage.”

“Any idea how long it will take to get there?”

“Actually, I don’t know how long it usually takes.”

“Is there any way to contact the driver?”

“We used to call him, but he stopped answering his phone and then he changed his cell phone number because he was getting too many calls about packages.” The man smiled faintly as if this news was supposed to make me feel better. It did not. It made me feel a hundred times worse. He shrugged his shoulders as though to tell me not to blame him. It made me want to blame him a hundred times more. How can you stand your work? I wanted to ask him. If it were my job to send packages into a dark abyss with no promise or even hope that they will ever reach their destination, I think my own ineffectiveness would drive me crazy.

“If it doesn’t get there by next Monday,” he said, “give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.”

Now I am trying to accept that the only thing I can do is wait and see. I have been going over my options in my head. The nightmare of lining up for the Iditarod with my Gary Fisher is more than I can bear. I could maybe rent a fat bike in Anchorage, but what kind of bike shop would be willing to rent out for an event like this? I wonder if it is too late to build up a sled and reregister for this race as a walker.

Please, Pugsley, come back.


  1. Oh no! That's terrible! I really hope your bike gets here soon. I also really hate both FedEx and UPS, for just that sort of reason.

    Good luck!!!

  2. It will be OK , take a deep breath, a long long deep breath........I recently went through the same thing with Fed Ex with my mom's 1953 Cruiser I restored and shipped to a remote area....similar issues, yet they delivered in less time than I expected, remote stuff makes communication difficult. Your sweet ride is gonna make it to the starting point :) Pedal safe Jill.

  3. Yeah, relax. They are good at getting things from point A to point B, but like a taciturn male (hey it's a fact men use fewer words than women!), a little lite in the communication dept. This happens to me all the time (with perishables!) Give it time to get there. And try not to pull out too much hair...you'll look better for that shot when you sail across the finish line. :-)
    Cynthia in the Valley

  4. FedEx is usually not completely incompetent; I'm thinking you'll see your Pugs again, or most of it.

  5. Here is a place in Anchorage that apparently does rent out fat bikes for races, if you want to try to make contingency plans in case your Pugsley doesn't arrive (although it probably will!):


    Best of luck!

    --Matt in Seattle

  6. Hello from Missoula. I am sending positive thoughts. Dont worry, if they lose Pugsley it will come back to you. I hear they know their way home. I just hope this doesnt stress you out too much ... it will be bad for your race. Try to relax, everything is out of your hands now. Let us do the stressing!

  7. I can only imagine how you're feeling. I think it'll turn out just fine. Even so if it was me, I'd still be worried until I was able to touch it.

  8. I'm looking at a box on the floor from Amazon that my wife is not quite ready to let go of yet. It arrived a week or so ago completely blown out. There isn't a seam not torn. The contents fell out when she pulled it out of the mailbox. She was very upset, and I think is probably still a little miffed. She thought it should have come in a plastic bag with a little apology note. My male "taciturn" response was: "I think it got here just in time." The moral of the story is that the USPS isn't much better.

    However, if you want a real winning combination try "Smart Post." It is real (I wish I was making it up) and it is also an oxymoron. Here's the deal. FedEx picks up the package and takes it to a USPS "Service Center" (another oxymoron). Then, if you are unfortunate enough to have a tracking number, you can watch it sit there for a week to ten days before the USPS sends it to another "Service Center" where you can watch it sit there for a while too. Then, if the gods favor you and the wind blows in the right direction it will arrive in your mailbox. Total elapsed time: 3-4 weeks. They call it "Smart Post" – dah!

    Laugh Jill, it will get there in time. It is probably already there. "Smart Post!"

  9. The pugs will arrive safely but missing you. It won't let you down, it doesn't know how. I wish you luck on your pugs and may the wind be at your back.

  10. Not sure what I can say by way of support. Deep breath. Bad things like this don't happen to good people like you. It'll be ok.

  11. More positive thoughts and prayers coming from Central Florida! Pugsley will show up in time. How is the weather??? Stay safe.

  12. I knew the Tums suggestion would come in handy, just not this far ahead of the race. Dont stress yourself, it is out of your control. Peace.

  13. Hang in there! (Easier said than done, I know.) It's not like you need something else to think and worry about right now, eh?

  14. Jill

    I too believe your Puglet will show tomorrow, or the next day.

    Fed Ex is a great business. If your your fat tired friend is a castaway, there are alternatives!
    1) the aforementioned arctic cycles rental
    (hopefully the EPiC gear is with you)

    2) You post your potential crisis on the Alaska MTBR site and I am confident the Anchorage bike core will lend you a bike - even if it is pieces and a volunteer shop isputting it together.

    3) a certain 3rd party, 3rd place Su100 competitior that would appreciate your challenge. And when hasn't a "captain of an industry" not had a lot of sway over the everyday operations? Far, far from my place to volunteer someone I respect, but don't know - yet "grab not - get not".

    Here is to your success! See you and G at the Friday Speedway "pre-race"?

  15. Of all the things to happen now!

    I do agree with other's who've left comments here about your bike getting there on time, though. I've had shipped items go off the radar before many a time and they always get to me safe and sound - and on time. (I must confess I usually have a conniption first.)

    We shall hold positive thoughts for you and your precious, all the while knowing that should the worst happen, you are a smart girl who will have a grand plan B!

    Hang in there, Jill.

  16. Solution is easy: you only have to contact with these people:

    Occupation Independent
    Director Audit Compensation Information Technology Oversight Nominating and Governance
    James L. Barksdale
    Chairman and President
    Barksdale Management Corporation
    August A. Busch IV
    President and CEO
    Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
    John A. Edwardson
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    CDW Corporation
    Judith L. Estrin
    Packet Design Management Company, LLC
    Philip Greer
    Managing Director
    Greer Family Consulting & Investments, LLC
    J.R. Hyde III
    GTx, Inc.
    Shirley A. Jackson
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Steven R. Loranger
    Chairman, President & CEO
    ITT Corporation
    Gary W. Loveman
    Chairman, President & CEO
    Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.
    Charles T. Manatt
    Partner and co-founder
    Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
    Frederick W. Smith
    Chairman, President and CEO
    FedEx Corporation
    Joshua I. Smith
    Chairman and Managing Partner
    Coaching Group, LLC
    Paul S. Walsh
    Diageo plc
    Peter S. Willmott

    Difficult? No more than the race.


  17. Thats rough Jill, but as the others said hang in there and stay calm.

    When I raced in the Himalayas last year my bike arrived in Delhi but my bag of clothes and other stuff was delayed at London...the bag, after a few fraught phonecalls, arrived 2hrs before the race started at 6am!

    Best of luck in the race,


  18. Jill,
    I received an unexpected package in the mail last night....

    Just kidding. Very sorry about that. How unfunny. Anyway, I'm sending all the positive vibes I can your way. That bike will show up where it was intended to go.

    Nigity - "Always keep a smile in your heart."

  19. Jill,
    This is part of your race. Center yourself and begin the slog. FedEx is good at what they do, and you are good at what you do. Pugs will be there when it's time to start, and you'll feel even better than you would have otherwise. Have a lifetime experience.


  20. as perhaps the most famous pugs rider in the world, i'm surprised you haven't gotten a call from them yet letting you know you're all set in case it doesn't show up. ;-)

    i'll echo the comments above. if it's not at the original dropoff location, it's very likely on the way and will arrive as it should. it doesn't sound like there's a bunch of different sorting location in which it could be lost.

    btw, why is it 38 there and 9 here in michigan?

  21. Hang in there Jill. Pugs will make it. Best to put your attention on the things you have control over at this point and let fate take care of the rest.

    Be safe, confident, and smart out there!

  22. Hang in there. The Pug will return!

  23. prayers on way from Michigan.

  24. Poor Pugsley got tired of you commenting on his fat frame. :P

  25. Thoughts going your way from South Dakota!

  26. If it does not show up get a hold of me through Speedway and we can set up my 16" Pugs for you and you can use that.


  27. Hey there, have a look at my blog http://juka14.blogspot.com and see what you won.

  28. Wow, and I thought I had problems with delivery companies up here. They might think the package is 2000 km away, but at least they know where it is! (Or at least where they think it is...)

    I'm having some shipping related stress this week but it pales in comparison. Fingers crossed.

    Sierra and I wish good luck to you and Geoff!


  29. That bike disappearing is simply proof that God loves you and wants you to be happy.

  30. If you bike does not turn up, let us know right here! I; and I suspect many of these other well-wisher, daily-readers and vicarious racers; will be willing to pitch in and buy a new one in time for the race--just don't have it delivered via FedEx... ;-)

    Having hung with you this far, I'm ready to go racing, and I refuse to miss out!

    All the best,

  31. Call up the fed ex and let them know you've been on NPR, in the ADN and get 1,000's of hits a day on this website - and that you will ream them a new one unless they find your bike immediately.
    This is bullshit!

  32. Hey, I'd be tearing someone a new a-hole on this!!! Don't go the passive/hope for the best route, I'd be laying into someone bigtime!!! If Pugs doesn't show at least you'll have the satifaction of knowing you didn't go down without a swing. This is pure crap! J

    P.S. Don't sweat it in my gut it's going to show soon.

  33. Had this post been one day earlier I would have left my FatBike in Anchorage for you "just in case" Pugs doesn't make it.
    It will make it...as another said, Fed Ex is very good at what they do. Stay calm and think cold, firm trail thoughts.

  34. I have had horrible experiences with Fedex as well. I recommend UPS or even USPS over Fedex.


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