I figure that if you are going to the doctor you may as well get your money’s worth. “Just give me all the shots I need and then it’s over and done with”, I instructed my GP. With only a few weeks to go before leaving for the next Great China Ride I thought that it was high time I got all my innoculations up to date.
About 40 mins later I was sitting back in my car with a toxic combination of tetanus, typhoid, hepatitus and a host of other products from the secret labs of CSL flowing through my veins. “Just don’t do anything too strenuous for the next couple of days”, was his sagacious advice as I parted with enough money to make the next lease payment on his new Porsche. With my tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth I stammered out some sort of reply, telling him that I would let him know how the trip went.
After a slightly feverish night I tossed and turned with hallucinogenic images floating in and out of my consciousness. I awoke and looked in the mirror, searching for telltale signs of the outbreak of smallpox or bubonic plague, but the only outward evidence of any bodily trauma was two swollen biceps (but then again, they were already very large before the injections). Since it was a Thursday I considered whether the doctor’s advice precluded me from the traditional Thursday afternoon ride, but by that time I could not remember what his advice was and decided to ride anyway.
As I was still feeling slightly queer (in the strictly medical sense), I made the decsion to start at Woori Yallock and ride back towards the main peloton and meet them somewhere near Seville. I headed off in a slightly lightheaded mood, and noted that I had never seen elephants grazing by the side of the Warby Trail before. I supposed that they had something to do with the large group of Zulu warriors that were gathering on the top of the nearby hill.
I tried to ignore the danger and ride on regardless. A short distance past Killara I spied a huge cloud of dust being stirred up on the trail ahead of me. At first I thought it was a herd of wildebeast charging toward me, but as it approached more closely I saw that it was four Ghostriders trying to set a new land speed record. Travelling at near the speed of dementia the group of flyers contained Werner, Lothar, Big Al and (to my amazement) Mark Gallagher. By this time I really thought I must have been hallucinating madly because I had not seen any sign of Mark since our return from the last China Ride, almost a year ago.
The flying quartet gave no chance for conversation as they disappeared off towards Woori Yallock. I decided to keep going in search of saner riding companions. Over the next five minutes I was passed by fragments of what must have been the original peloton. It was obvious that riders had been left scattered over about 10 km of the trail. Talk about sheep without a shepherd !
After passing a number of broken pelotonic fragments I eventually saw the final (somewhat organised) group still approaching me. I decided to attempt a U turn and merge in with the final group. This turned out to not be a good idea as I somehow found myself precariously heading off the loose gravel at the edge of the trail and subsequently executing a most undignified face plant into the dirt. Although this is not pleasant at any time, it is much worse when it is done in full view of your cycling peers.
Fortunately it was only my pride that was damaged and we were soon on our way following the dust cloud in the distance. Some time later we were all back together again at Woori Yallock and the remainder of the ride to Milgrove was completed without further mishap.
I tried to explain that it was not actually me that had fallen off the bike, it was caused by the primordial soup of malevolent wee beasties that were mutliplying in my blood stream. They didn’t seem convinced, but I enjoyed my lunch anyway.
After lunch I only had the relatively short ride back to Woori Yallock to complete before I was safely back in my car and heading home for a BEX and a good lie down.