“Tracey!” I called from the bathroom as I desperately tried to read the tiny writing on the side of the tube of anti-inflammatory cream. “How long does this stuff last?”
The reason for this question had its roots in a conversation I had with my excellent friends, Karen and Luke, some two months ago when they asked if I’d like to join them on the last leg of Cycle Qld‘s mammoth 9 day event. I said yes straight away, not because I’m a mad keen cyclist, but rather because I love spending time with these guys and the last leg was only 44km, from Cooroy to Coolum.
The first couple of kilometers were lovely. We stopped for coffee less than four hundred meters in, and then, as we cycled, chatted pleasantly with other riders and the brightly dressed people directing the way.
I myself was wearing, at Tracey’s insistence, the brightest shirt in my wardrobe.
“If they can’t see my big ol’ ass ahead of them, the shirt isn’t going to help much,” I told her.
Now, as I mentioned, I’m not a cycling fanatic. In fact, my preparation for this ride was an exhausting four and a half kilometer ride to my friends place on the previous Thursday, so he could check the oil and water and load it on the car.
As I collapsed in a heap, it occurred to me I only had to do that ten times on Sunday and I was done.
“I think,” I said to Tracey when I arrived back home with rubbery legs and questionable lung capacity. “I think I’ve made a big mistake.”
Only a couple more kilometers down the road from the coffee shop and I began to suffer from my first sports injury in years – my bum was so sore I wondered if I was developing blisters. Then, it seemed to me, I was being sent a sign: an omen. I’d seen the same ambulance pass me twice already. It seemed to be circling, buzzard-like.
As was my friend, Luke.
“That was a fantastic hill,” he enthused at one point. “I think I’ll go back and do it again.”
By the time we got to Noosa, I was bushed. By Sunshine Beach, I was beyond shagged. Even Karen and Luke were having trouble keeping back with me.
I knew I wasn’t exactly setting a cracking pace when guys on bikes pulling trailers containing their children kept overtaking me up hills.
But the ultimate indication of my physical prowless came at the 42 kilometer mark when a guy who had a flat tyre passed me pushing his bike while jogging along beside it. Jerk.
Finally, a mere three hours after starting, and without any medical assistance from my ambos (who I’d decided to view as guardian angels rather than harbingers of doom), I crossed the line at Coolum, a mere half hour or so behind my friends, who had ridden ahead for the last 5kms.
I’d done it. I’d made it. I was already contemplating the sexual rewards which would await me at home. Women love a jock, right?
Which is why on Sunday night I was taking a Radox bath, rubbing anti-inflammatory cream into my aching joints, and wondering how I was going to fight Tracey off so I could get some sleep. I was too beat for any sexercise.
Then fate stepped in, and suddenly I was desperately wanting to know how long the effects of the cream last. I hoped it wasn’t too long.
“I don’t know,” Tracey called back. “A couple of hours? Why?”
“Because I just rubbed it into my knees and elbows, and went to pee…”
I mean, I may not have had the energy to do anything that night, but regardless, that’s one area I definitely don’t want to risk reducing the swelling.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”