It is Thursday November 26th. Several things start happening around this time of year. Foliage around here is having a panic attack, and needs hacking back on an hourly basis. Large retailers start ranting about the impending fiasco my scouser mate calls “chrimbo”. I am starting to think about getting my stuff sorted for the annual ride around Lake Taupo, and wondering what tyres will stop me getting shelled on Hatepe Hill. As if.
Not this year though.
The lawn still needs mowing, and the malls are best avoided, like every other year.
But my road bike still hangs on the rafter where it lives, and the tyres it has on are not about to be switched out for something more deluxe.
For the first time in two decades, I am not going.
Last week, in a pas de deux we could not reproduce with a choreographer and stunt doubles, the directors of Nzo managed to get their feet entangled in such a way that the one responsible for long road rides (me) got his big toenail half torn off. I am not going to detail exactly how this came about. Working in bare feet is another thing that starts to happen around November, but only half of us had jumped into that mode of dress so soon. The other half had rubber soled shoes on, with enough tread to enable walking on the ceiling, and engaging with a toenail if the angle is correct and the opportunity presents.
It did, and I can’t put any kind of shoe on.
Hordes of my ‘friends’ have made helpful suggestions, ranging from riding in sandals (not in this life) to cutting a hole in my shoes (may yet happen), and including such gems as drinking enough to mask the pain (at 7am, race time?) and dipping my toe in rohypnol, so it would forget what had happened to it. I had to look that up too, my ‘friends’ know more about drugs than I do.
The annual humiliation, resolution to do some miles next time, and ritual disappointment of standing for hours at prizegiving so I can not win a car, can wait until another time.
POSTSCRIPT: the weather on Saturday was abysmal, and it was therefore quite nice to laze around on Saturday morning before wandering in to do a day in the shop talking to bike riders. Got out for a short ride after a long day in the garden on Sunday, and the toenail was ok. Not good enough to have survived 5 hours, but up for one and a half.