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Published: March 17th 2018
Day 20: Hokotika to Franz Joseph, 140km. The Donkey is doing a body check.
Day 20 was going to be a big day for the Donkey as he had learned that 140km on a fully laden mountain bike, with big fat tires (sorry Spot, but your tires are fat) is very different from doing the same distance on a lightweight road bike with nice slim wheels which hardly touch the road. So the Donkey set of early, at the crack of dawn. For the final part of the Wilderness Trail, the 35km section from Hokitika till Ross, he was accompanied by Butterfly, Pussy Cat and his Gazelle. The sun came out and winked at the Donkey, all good for today and there was no wind in sight. They talked so much; especially Butterfly and Gazelle that time flew by and hey arrived in Ross mid-morning. Time for a coffee but also time to say goodbye as Butterfly and Pussy Cat and his Gazelle needed to get back to Christchurch to address business and other important issues in their lives.
The Donkey still had more than 100km to go and set off solo, initially soaking up the sun, the scenery
and a hint of Tailwind which had come up from behind. Life was good. This is how he imagined the tour should have been every day, good weather, meandering roads, nice scenery and plenty of coffee and food stops. The Donkey suddenly realised how he missed his mate. Showpony always make for excellent company and when riding had lots of stories to tell which made the time go faster. Now the Donkey had to make up his own stories which he was not very good at as he did not remember many and even when he did and got halfway he remembered that he had forgotten how the story ended so the whole thing became a bit of a fizzer. So the Donkey decided to do a body check. This was a big mistake. The Donkey should have known that when he does a body check he always finds things and this time it was no different.
Here is a warning for the discerning reader. If you belong to the vast majority, whose eyes glaze over and feet tap impatiently, when someone starts telling about their ailments then read no further. Except if you are a doctor, of course,
in that case other people’s and animal’s ailments are very interesting, especially if you get paid for listening to the ailments presented in your consulting room and for the advice you give, regardless if the advice is any good or not. The Donkey thought that system reasonable as, if doctors could only charge patients who got better thanks to their advice, they might not have a decent enough income and that is not fair as doctors work very hard, a bit like donkeys.
The Donkey started the bodycheck with his feet which sometimes went numb towards the end of the day, but at that stage they felt fine. Via his lower legs he went up to his knees and an alarm bell started ringing as the left knee was pretty sore. The pain had been coming on for a few days but the Donkey had managed it by ignoring it but he could ignore it no longer and that morning he had taken some pills for it and rubbed some ointment on the knee, although he knew that it would not work as it never had before when he got a sore knee from biking. Medication for any ailments
the Donkey had suffered in his life had never worked well, except for sleeping pills, although he had to admit that the big pills Showpony had given him for his shingles seemed to have done the trick as the only sign left by now was a crusty scalp which itched at times. The Donkey could just reach the spot with his right front hoof, through a vent in the back of his helmet, for a good scratch, but he had to be careful doing that while biking as he had nearly come off his bike a couple of times when he did so. The pills for his shingles had been so big that the Donkey had difficulty swallowing them. They had the shape and size of a nuclear bomb. He could imagine they were effective. If he had been his immune system he would also immediately behave if one of those big Mammas’s came his way. Perhaps that was the placebo effect. The Donkey had never understood chemistry and pharmacy much so he decided to carry on with his body check. It is inevitable that he arrived at his back side. The more compassionate reader will have wondered how the Donkey’s bum was faring after his fall on day 13 and sitting on a tiny bicycle seat for the best part of the day for 20 days.
It will come as no surprise that the Donkey’s bum was sore. The Donkey had decided that there are two types of saddle pain. The first one is where the skin starts peeling, blistering and festering. That is called saddle sores. The second one is where the tissue between the skin and the bum-bone gets bruised from all the pressure and bouncing. It was from the latter that the Donkey suffered as he has not much meat in between the skin and the bone in that particular part of his body (or any parts of his body for that matter, other donkeys often comment how skinny the Donkey is). The Donkey started the Tour Aotearoa with one pair of cycling pants. After 4 days he wore two bicycle pants, one on top of the other, to get some more cushioning and in Greymouth he had added a third, all too little or no avail.
The remainder of the body check was fine and the Donkey was happy with that as only two ailments and some residual itchiness from a previous ailment was not bad for a donkey who had biked as far as he had.
The Donkey got to Harihari, just over the hallway point of the day, at lunch time and he had a sausage and egg pie, a custard square and a fruit drink to get him through the afternoon. He started to tire before he reached Whataroa when Headwind made an appearance to let the Donkey know that he had not forgotten about him. The Donkey stopped in Whataroa and had some more drink and he ate the sandwiches Butterfly had made him that morning. He felt a bit better after that and arrived in Franz Joseph just before five. As soon as he got to at his unit at the Top 10 Holiday Park he plonked himself down on his bed, still in his biking gear, including shoes and helmet, and said hehe. Showpony, who had arrived in his car well before the Donkey, felt the Donkey’s pulse, diagnosed accumulated fatigue and prescribed sleep. But it was too late. By that stage the Donkey was already fast asleep.
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