Adventure Racing Maladies

article058From experience, I have learned a lot about delicate anatomy, the human mind and other soft bits. And so, I feel compelled to share this with you because my psychiatrist said, as he was leaving from the 6th floor window, that he shouldn’t have had to be burdened with it all by himself.

Beware! Lest any of the following maladies may befall you!
NOTE: They may be offensive to some, but the truth often is not a pretty thing.

Bounced Prostate
From rough riding; not to be mixed up with “bounced off and then prostrate”

Split infinitive
A severe form of Bounced Prostate with rupturing; infinitive nearly refers, but not always, to the pain. (This as an intellectual joke rather than a malady and I am not sure whether even I understand it myself…)

Wobble eye
Generally occurs after the steep downhill ride on corrugations, with jammed shocks, when the rider is frozen in terror and grips the handle bars with rigid extended arms. The resulting vibration causes the eyeballs to rattle long after the ride, making map reading and fine motor co-ordination impossible. A rest in the dope fields of the Umkomaas valley tends to cure it.

Low blood sugar level resulting in collapse and sporadic twitching on the ground. Most victims fall on their backs. But if you roll them over on their faces, whilst they are in full spasm, you get to see where the term “bonking” comes from. Try slipping a cheap inflatable doll underneath them to get the full humour effect. A good thing about this is that if the victim recovers they generally can’t remember a thing.

Sand Piles
Like haemorrhoids, this can be extremely painful but luckily it is temporary. You get it by hopping on your bike straight after crawling/swimming from a huge shore break after an early exit on the sea paddle leg.

Calloused Chommie
Very embarrassing. You go to the doctor thinking you’ve got Sand Piles. He then looks puzzled after examining you. These hard bumps and protuberances are cured by using good cycling pants and milking cream or Fissan paste.

Gunge Toe
Not pretty, but if you say that you haven’t smelled the black stuff from between your little toe and second toe after a five day race, then you are a liar.

Straddle Walk
The cowboy-walk you develop on the second day of racing because you a) are not wearing underwear; b) are not using lube and/or; c) did not have the right pants/shorts. Vaseline helps. If all else fails the old standby of duct tape will see you through.

Salty Cracks
Related to the above. Develops when in close proximity to the sea, (like K—-n).

Winky Walk
When you race without underpants you’re likely to get chafed on the end of your thingy (like S—–n).

Sea Cucumber Syndrome (SCS)
Background: a sea cucumber, when attacked, will eviscerate (vomit up) their entire stomach in the hope that their attacker will eat the stomach, allowing time for the sea cucumber to escape.
Foreground: A combination of exhaustion, dehydration and inadequate nutrition can make an adventure racer go into uncontrollable heaving spasms. Much self control and a slight slacking of the pace may pull them through it, but it is scary waiting to see if your team mate’s stomach will pop out and even scarier to think about what it is attacking their guts (like R—–d).

Myximitosis (a man-induced disease to control rabbits)
Bouncing like a blind rabbit in the wrong direction and then dying of despair and embarrassment when realising that you are hopelessly lost (like me).

Although most of the ailments listed above are physical many AR maladies occur in the head. Some of the simpler ones are easy to deal with and are not really maladies but rather temporary problems.

Red Indian syndrome
This is a problem from which I too suffer. It involves dreaming of Wigwams and Tepees during the two hour sleep on the second day. You are two tents – (say it aloud) – learn to chill.

Around the next bend
As seen in others, often the team leader/navigator or the strongest person in the team. This fabrication is often used by the team leader or navigator to motivate and inspire lagging team members. It refers to checkpoints, water, transitions, downhills and such. These 4-words are nearly always preceded by “It’s” as in “It’s around the next bend”.
Unfortunately, this is nearly always a lie and often the perpetrator is the only one around the bend.

Some head problems are far more interesting. These are the ones that often keep potential racers away from AR; like the fear of the unknown. These ‘issues’ are hard to pin down, name and define. They should be befriended and used as an ally.

The Sleep Monster
Strange really, not nearly so monstrous as many make out. He/She/It can really be quite a pleasant fellow unless you get together whilst on a bike or near steep cliffs. It generally isn’t the monster that’s the problem, but the resulting accidents, abrasions and ridicule.

My best experience with ‘The Monster’, was on the last ride of the Nguni. I wasn’t even really tired. It was 02h00 – the graveyard shift – when I became aware of a figure in a flapping black cape riding next to me on the jeep track. I turned to look at him but he dropped back and when I looked ahead he came up next to me again. His face remained hidden and I tried to talk to him, but he stayed silent and we rode in companionable silence for some time, his steady cadence and flowing cloak breaking the monotony of the night. I was riding quite a way ahead of my team and it was dark and quiet. We approached a bumpy section and I couldn’t cross over into the smoother track because my new friend was in it. So I hit the rocks and fell off. When I got up he had gone, but I swear I heard a soft chuckle in the still air before the rest of the team arrived.

Oh well…
until the replacement shrink comes,
I remain,
Vaguely Disturbed (aka George)

Author: George Forder