With claims of stomach virus rising to unprecedented levels as an excuse regarding rider race performance (or lack thereof), there are some who still take responsibility for their actions.
Greg Ballard of the Outback Steakhouse presented by Maalox squad is one such rider.
“We were finishing a training ride and I noticed an Outback on the way to the hotel," Ballard said. "They’re our principal sponsor, so it just seemed like a good idea.
“With the Hurp Blord race the next day, none of the other riders wanted to take a chance. But at the team dinner that night, I just picked at my food and went to the Outback afterwards.”
The allure of the “Bloomin’ Onion” was too much for Ballard to resist.
“It was the first thing I saw on the menu. It looked so enticing, I couldn’t take my eyes off it,” recalled Ballard. “With no teammates to share it with, I ended up eating the entire thing myself. Big mistake.”
The concentration of greasy fried batter had a devastating impact on Ballard’s digestive tract.
“There’s nothing like two pounds of deep-fired onion to turn your intestines into a knot – or a superhighway depending on how you look at it,” described Ballard. “It sure tasted good going down, but it wasn’t so pleasant…er,…later.”
The grease-laden onion delicacy presented a new level of intestinal distress.
“I’ve been all over the world with the team and eaten some questionable things – from some sort of spicy battered insect in Jakarta to boiled chicken feet in China,” continued Ballard. “But the Bloomin’ Onion beats them all hands-down.
“Forget about irritable bowel syndrome. My bowels were downright pissed off at me. You could have hung a ‘two exits – no waiting’ sign around my neck. That’s one sure-fire way to get a hotel room to yourself, though. My roommate couldn’t clear out fast enough.”
Ballard’s race performance the next day suffered considerably due to the dietary indiscretion.
“After a night of back flips on the toilet, I was completely knackered at the start of Hurp Blord. It’s a good thing I was at the back of the pack.
“It would not have been pleasant for anyone behind me.”