Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Day of My Last Banana

The Day of My Last Banana

A young generation of riders has evolved who may never have heard of a free-wheel and have possibly never seen a toe-strap. Those same younger riders might also be unaware that, before the days of Gatorade and Power Bars, the Banana reigned supreme. No self-respecting cyclist would be seen with out at least one of the yellow fruit sticking out from his or her pocket.

And so it was, some years ago that I was to ride The Jambalaya Century in Louisiana. I was to ride with a fast group which had a tandem amongst them, powered by two well-known racing cyclists. So it should be a piece of cake so to speak; maybe my fastest ever.

Twenty miles into the ride and we were going like the wind. Up to 30 mph. Better than I had ever dreamt. Then I felt it. A warm slimy feeling in my cycling shorts which was gradually working its way downwards between my legs. Horror of horrors, what on earth had gone wrong? Then I heard the jeering cries of some of my fellow riders. What was the ever-increasing sticky patch on the back of my new glorious yellow cycling jersey? Oh golly, this was getting worse.

With great trepidation I slipped my hand down my shorts and me a soft gooey mess which by now was clogging up the whole works down there. And then the awful truth dawned upon me. I had done what every cyclist of that generation feared. What we all dread happening when the adrenalin flows in a state of extreme over-excitement. I had sat on my banana.

All my nether region was now one huge grotesque banana mousse. Pureed and filtered through two layers of fabric and fast purifying with every minute. And still eighty miles to go. Oh you traitor! You vile yellow source of potassium! Never again will I let your evil head protrude proudly from my shirt pocket, proclaiming to the world that I am indeed a true cyclist and that you are my faithful ally over those long miles ahead. Henceforth, it will be peanut butter sandwiches, neatly cut into squares, safely imprisoned in a Ziploc bag and hidden from view.

Meanwhile eighty more miles to go. Eighty miserable miles of slime and taunts. “Who’s hungry?” “Just suck William’s shirt,” they cry.

An apple, anyone?

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