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A quiet evening at home

Right, then…

The ‘mates are out of the house and all is quiet.  I thought it’d be a good time to catch up on this.

Well, Good God, it’s been what?  about four weeks since I last posted?  Unconscionable.  OK, not that there was major things going on, but there were some things worth chatting about.

OK then, first off, the drinking.  The last post reported that I had quit drinking, and I am happy to say that I’m still quit drinking (or however you say that).  In short, still teetotal.  To be honest, it’s not like I’ve been put to any major test, but still it’s nice to know that I’ve been able to make it thus far.  I have noticed some interesting things like a mild sugar replacement (Trapper Joe’s Dark Chocolate and Clif Bars, mainly).  Also, I’ve noticed how pervasive booze is in society:  Magazine ads, billboards, television – it’s everywhere.  Further, I’ve started a list of things I can no longer do, now that I’m dry:  Scotch tasting is sort of a pointless exercise; bicycling home buzzed no longer is going to occur; body shots are also [sadly] out, though I still might be able to lick off  the salt.

I’ve also noted some automatic reactions that took me by surprise.  We had a Superbowl party for…well…The Superbowl, and I was making bratwurst in beer.  After pouring the beer in the pan, there was maybe two fingers worth left in the bottle, and I went to drink it…only to stop myself about 1/2 way up to my mouth.  It’s not that I wanted or needed the beer; it’s just that drinking the remnants is something I would have done lo these 20 years, so I went to do it again, automatically.

A few friends know now.  So far, they’re really good with it.  Then again, these are fairly introspective or relaxed folks, so I didn’t figure I’d have any hassle.  There are others, however, that have always known me to be a drinker that are not so open-minded; these are going to give me trouble.  I still don’t know how I’m going to handle my next trip to Fresno, it being it’s own reason to drink.

So, now that my most fave-rave hobby is done for, I’ve channeled that energy into bikes.  The first couple of weeks, I spent working on various bike projects:  Cleaning, repacking bearings, installing new brake levers, recabling.  The big project was turning the “other” Galaxy into a fixed gear.  This involved tearing the bike down to the frame, soaking the frame, fork, and other bits in Oxalic Acid to remove the rust, then reassembling sans shifters and derailleurs.  As the rear wheel on this was already a freewheel (vs. cassette), all I needed to do was buy a track cog (18T) and a new 1/8″ chain and I was ready to go.  Go furtively, but go, nonetheless.

The first time out was interesting.  Hell, subsequent times out are still interesting.  I’ve read that you don’t realize how much you typically coast when you’re riding:  Coming up to stops, adjusting in the saddle, looking behind you – so far, all of this has been true.  You go to stop pedaling and sure as shit, your foot is coming back around.  Tahn informed me rather succinctly:  “Keep pedaling.  You are the bike’s bitch.”  Sage words, those.

On the overall, I am happy to report that I do like riding fixed gear.  It’s still an interesting experience every time I ride.  Also – lest one thinks otherwise – the brakes are still in place, front and rear.  I’m told that I can get rid of the rear brake now (Sheldon Brown says that I never needed it in the first place) and that in time, I might remove all brakes from the bike.  I don’t know.  I mean, right now, I am able to come to a stop without brakes, but it’s a long stop.  I would not want to try and make an Oh Shit! stop relying on pedals alone.  I told Tahn that if some day I come tooling up on a fixie without brakes, I’ll be just as surprised as everyone else.  Besides, I don’t think the maintenance for brakes (or derailleurs or gears, for that matter) is really all that much to sweat.  The next change I think will be fitting it with lights and a rack so I can commute on it, when I get the urge.  That would be three commuter bikes, then.   I’ve clearly lost my shit with this bike thing.

Speaking of losing my shit, I’m down about 10 pounds since the beginning of the year.  Naturally, riding a lot helps, in addition to no more booze (or the in-situ and post-booze gorging that occurs on occasion).  I’m at around 217 or so, and I’d like to get down to 200 lbs this year.

Speaking of losing my shit, is it me, or does “Two-and-a-half Men” seem more and more like a documentary these days?

Speaking of losing my shit (this, by the way, is the real reason I was using this phrase; the prior two paragraphs were random thoughts that jumped in), I’ve signed up for the Moss Beach 200K Brevet, which is going to occur next Saturday.  200K; that’s 125 miles.  In this case, 125 somewhat hilly miles, with one big goddamn fucking hill on the front end (Hwy 1 to La Honda).  While I have been riding a lot, I haven’t been actually training, so I’m a little ambivalent about how I’ll do.  Then again, last year I rode 75 miles to Martinez and I was in not as good of shape as I am now.  Also, there’s the possibility of weather, so that might change my plans.  Mildly shitty weather I can deal with, but if there’s a pissing rainstorm then I’m going to take a pass and Santa Cruz Randonneurs can keep my $10.  I’ll get my medal another day.  I just checked weather.com and learned that it’s supposed to be 62F and Partly Cloudy which is better than Partly Sunny.  So I’ve got that going for me…which is nice.  What’s also nice is that Droo was gracious enough to offer up his services, should I decide to bag out and need a lift back to the truck.  Droo, for the record, is one of the awesome friends that did not give me any shit for quitting drinking (in fact, he was very understanding and supportive).  So again, I’m furtive:  I’m looking forward to this, but I’m a bit nervous, as well.

OK, enough of this…

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I quit

Right, then…

First off, I’ve been doing fairly well with my 58 mi/week, or 3000 mi/year goal.  In fact, I’ve been spanking it.  This is moreso considering that last week I was in Costa Rica and Ecuador for business, and I still got my miles in.  Right now, I’m about 12 miles short of maintaining my goal, but I’m going to try and bang out a ride tomorrow before the Super Bowl festivities start.

For tomorrows ride, there will be a first:  I’ve finally broken down and bought bibs.  Two factors played in to this.  First was the fact that my current riding setup (gym shorts over Canari “weekend warrior” padded undershort things) was starting to bunch up in the crotchal region.  Secondly, due to an increase in exercise and a decrease in caloric intake, when I put on my Canari “weekend warrior” padded undershort things, I realize that I don’t look quite as disgusting as I once thought I did.  What helped clinch this is that I found a decent pair of bibs (decent per the good folks at bikeforums.net) at love2pedal.com for $35.  Hell – how could I go wrong?  Even if  don’t like using them, it’s only $35…it’s not like I’d be out $130, if I bought the Pearly Zoomy bibs from WGB.  So, anyway, I got a set and a California Republic jersey, so I’ll be looking good for the ride.

Now, on to other things…

I’ve quit drinking.  Ostensibly forever, but we all know how these things go.  I reckon that with a tailwind and following seas, I have about 40 years left…I’m not quite sure if I can make it that long.  That said, the folks that have been through AA inform me to not worry about that, but to focus on “One day at a time” (the philosophy, not the TV show with McKenzie Phillips).

This reminds me of a quote, ironically, from Hunter S. Thompson:  “The decision to flee came suddenly.  Or maybe not.  Perhaps I planned it all along, subconsciously waiting for the right moment.”  In my younger years, I’ve killed a fair amount of booze for both good and bad causes.  We’re not talking Keith Richards magnitudes, mind you, but still, a goodly amount.  But I’ve definitely slowed down in the recent years.  More recently, I’ve thought about quitting drinking altogether, but decided against it, feeling that it would be too restrictive.  Now…welp, I guess it was just time.

So,  why stop?  Basically, I’m tired of waking up and feeling guilt and shame for getting drunk.  It’s not that it happens all the time, mind you.  Further, I haven’t wrecked a car, lost a job, destroyed a relationship or been ordered to stop by a judge.  I guess it’s just time for a change.

So now, I’m here and my focus is on staying here.  It’s going to be difficult, too.  Most of my friends drink.  Some will understand and respect the decision; others won’t.  I’m dreading the next visit to Fresno.  Usually, Steve and I go out and tie one on, when I’m there.  I guess, instead of drinking, we could go explore the cultural offerings of Fres…bwah ha ha!  I could not say it with a straight face:  There are no cultural offerings in Fresno!  The whole place sucks!  So I’m going to have to figure out how to stay sober in Fresno, because there will be a lot of pressure (and need, frankly) to drink.

Of course, I do this right before the Super Bowl party…but then again, I was told that you can find reasons to drink all year long.

So…no time like the present.

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