Friday 14 August 2009


Friday. Traditionally the hardest day of the working week for most people. Except Monday that is. Or Thursday, if you had a big night on the turps.

It's always the hardest on my legs. After a week of back and forth, they've had it. The lack of recovery time is especially telling around this time. I had to walk around the house with a stiff-legged gait last night because my thighs were so far gone, I felt that if I bent my knees, my legs would simply collapse underneath me.

I thought things were ok this morning, because there was absolutely no pain in my legs when I left home. Sometimes, the poor old things are so tuckered out, they respond with awful shrieks and groans when I first saddle up, but there was none of that today. They spun up quite happily, and we motored quietly towards the city. I had no intention of pushing them at all - just do the job, take it easy and get to work without any fuss or bother. Prepare for a weekend of rest.

Things were fine until I got to Hickson Rd. That long, flat strip of bitumen is just too tempting for me, especially since I was stuck for a while behind a lady on a bike who was as slow as a wet week. As soon as the traffic loosened up, I opened the throttle as far as it would go. I was off like a shot, Friday be damned.

I was chirping along quite happily at 40km/h when the oddest thing happened - my legs just cut out. Sure, they were still going around and around, but all the oomph had gone. There was no lactic acid buildup or steady increase in pain - they were feeling fine, but suddenly they didn't want to play anymore. No amount of urging neurons zooming down the nerves from the brain would coax them into life.

About a decade ago, I did a late night road trip with some friends to Melbourne. We were off to see a horse race (not Melbourne Cup - that is a tacky, tacky event. We were going to Derby Day, which is much more stylish). That meant leaving Sydney after dinner, and driving through the night.

It was around 3am, I was in the front seat, and I think Chook was driving, and we had two snorers in the back. It had been a long week, we were all a little punch drunk and it was about 200km since the last coffee stop. We were on a long, flat stretch of the Hume, and we had not seen a vehicle for ages - not even a truck. We were alone on a black deserted highway.

Suddenly, the engine cut out. It was the eeriest thing. Noise one moment, silence the next. Chook was poking the accelarator with his foot, looking around to see what was going on, checking to see if we still had fuel, but the car refused to respond.

Then, after a few seconds, the motor cut in again. Not long after, it cut out again.

It was around then that I figured out that the Falcon we were in had an engine cutout at 180km/h. We were so tired and woozy, we didn't realise that Chook had inadvertantly taken us up to the top speed of the car. You can get that way at 3am on the Hume.

My legs felt the same way. Full of power and thumping along one minute, coasting without fuel the next.

God, this getting old is a chore.

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