Sunday 15 March 2009

Not there yet

Today was going to be the big day - the day when I cracked the ton for the week. I was all set to do an easy 45km ride, which would have taken me to the 160km mark.

Unfortunately, J imbibed a bit too much bubbly during our dinner with Larry and Barry, and woke up this morning with a dreadful hangover. I was fine - all I drank was most of a bottle of Max V, which was quite superb. So it should be, given that it retails for $75 a bottle. I never drink stuff in that price range - not even the over priced muck that you get in fancy restaurants.

The only reason I am quaffing it is because of Obama. No, I am not celebrating his election. Because he has destroyed the net worth of many wealthy Americans, the makers of this stuff are unable to export it to the US, so it's going "cheap" here. By "cheap", I mean twice the price of the stuff that I normally buy. Or even 4 times the price of the stuff that I buy for J. The distributor rang me last week and tried to push another case on me. I have to tell you, after decanting it on Friday and leaving it to breathe for 24 hours, I am sorely tempted to splash out on another case. It's a tasty drop.

But drinking and riding do not mix, particularly when your significant other is looking like she wants to drive the porcelain bus, and there are kids that need looking after. She didn't emerge from under the covers until around 4pm, so I was stuck with a short, fast ride around the Bay area.

It was a nice change. I only clocked up 27km, taking me to 142km for a 5 day period. Clocking up a ton in a 7 day period should be a doddle, touch wood. Since I knew time was short, I put my foot (or feet) down and gave it some gas. Literally. I don't know what was in that bowl of cereal that I had before leaving, but I farted from one end of the suburb to the other.

I hate farting whilst riding, especially when there are lots of pedestrians about. As you close up on a pedestrian, do you quickly squeeze it out before you reach them, trying to do it while they are still out of earshot, or do you hang on until you are well past and then let rip? When you have lots of gas and lots of pedestrians, life is tough. If you fart just as you go past someone, of course they'll think that you deliberately farted in their face, and you just give pedestrians one more reason to hate cyclists. They ride too quickly, they ride dangerously, and they fart in your general direction.

The great thing about riding around the Bay is that it is not an industrial slum. Next time I go out west, I am going to take some photos of the rundown, decrepit areas that I have to ride through. Yes, there are some occasional patches of wild, untamed bush; which is quite beautiful - but the rest looks like a refugee camp.

Funny I should say that. Large swathes of it are a refugee camp.

Auburn prides itself as having one of the largest refugee communities in Australia.

Not that I have anything against refugees, but I just wish they'd pick up some local habits - like mowing their lawns, maintaining their houses, not leaving wrecked cars in their yards and putting rubbish into bins instead of tossing it wherever they like. It's like you can take the refugee out of the camp, but you can't take the camp out of the refugee.

It's doubly annoying to me, since J's family all left Europe with the shoes on their feet and the shirts on their backs and nothing else, and they all arrived speaking no English. However, they all keep an immaculate house, and even if they don't have two cents to rub together, they make a big deal out of being clean and presentable. Squalor is not in their mindset.

I guess the difference is that they came from a civilised part of the world, whilst the current crop appear to think that civilisation is an interesting computer game.

So here's hoping that tomorrow will see us all free of hangovers, and me free to clock up some miles in an urban slum.

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