Answers From A Bottle

Dear Stevil, Maybe you know. I feel that after a Thai supper (a good mix of meats, rices, and veggies (plus many sauces) I have increased stamina and generally a more positive outlook on life during the following day’s ride. This is compared to a traditional Italian pasta dinner with roughly the same amino acid/glucose ratios. On those days feel like I’m carrying sacks of half cured concrete in my legs.

This leads me to my question. Why does red wine fuck with your muscles so much more than beer?

Thank you in advance.
—Ted  

First things first, and before I get into anything directly related to this question, I will first note that the recommended daily intake of water is half as many ounces as a person weighs. For example, if you weight 200 pounds, over the course of a day you should be drinking 100 ounces of water. 100 pounds, 50 ounces, 150 pounds, 75 ounces, and so it goes. Beyond that, and how much of whatever any of us put into our bodies, proper hydration is of vital importance. Can you dig that? And relating to the food part of your observation, lighter foods that are easier to digest will provide your body with extra energy. Heavy foods that are harder to digest will not. That part seems pretty commonsensical, but I could be wrong. It’s happened before.

Anyhow, now that I have that PSA out of the way, I’m gonna try and spitball this one. Though I’m not a nutritionist, or a dietician by any stretch, I do happen to have a fair amount of experience with booze. In fact, I come from a long line of people who do, and that by itself is perhaps worthy of an honorary doctorate in the field of hootchology. I will say just based purely on instinct that red wine, while positively bursting with various magical antioxidant properties, and tastes delicious when pared with chocolate, has a fair amount of sugars in it, which in my experience is a bullet train to foggy, and sometimes extremely unpleasant following mornings. Beer on the other hand (especially the pisswater lagers that I adore), possesses a couple of its own beneficial properties. Not that I expect anyone here to recall, but in 2012 I wrote an article for Paved magazine in which I cite a study conducted by Professor Manuel Garzon of the Granada University in Spain in which he noted; “the rehydration effect (of beer) in the study’s participants was ‘slightly better’ than that among those given only water.” He continues, “the carbon dioxide in beer helps quench thirst more quickly, while the carbohydrates replace calories lost during physical exertion.”

So based on this alone, unless you’re drinking some god awful artisanally crafted peanut butter and coffee stout, with hints of whisky and beard oil, which any self-respecting dirtbag absolutely, under no circumstances should, science tells us beer is technically a sports drink, while wine most definitely, occasionally is not.

Then again, when in doubt, do like I do and always refer to Oscar Wilde’s wise directive- “All things in moderation, including moderation


Dear Stevil,
You seem handy. Do you how to properly roll up extension cords? My old man was a master of the process and he made sure I knew it by showcasing perfect ovals of power cords hanging from smartly placed hooks on the garage wall.  Whenever I try all I end with are large, embarrassing, orange bird’s nest of failure lying on the floor. Am I a garage and home improvement failure?

—Craig

Well Craig, Growing up, both of my parents were public school teachers, and in the summer to help make ends meet, my dad worked various construction jobs building houses in and around my hometown. He was always far crafter than I, but thanks to his various, and sometimes inadvertent lessons, I ended up finding my way onto a few crews over the years that followed. Generally I’ve always been the grunt, but through those experiences I learned how to use tools, the art of framing, sheetrock, and that roofing in the middle of summer is the absolute worst job on the planet. I also learned the finer points regarding the maintenance and storage of one’s tools, which of course includes the venerable extension cord. At some point or another, I noticed that my bosses, and the occasional other hotshot contractors I’d cross paths with always had this cool way of braiding their extension cords, which I learned much later in life to do myself, though I don’t know if I could do it from memory now. Because absolutely everything is available on the internet, I’m sure there are lessons on how to do it there. Anymore however, I just rely on the standard elbow wrap. A primary issue with this technique however, is that in time, the cord can get twisted, which will eventually result in the aforementioned dreaded orange bird’s nest. To remedy this, periodically, I’ll lay mine out, get rid of all the twists, then easily loop it from my left hand into my right, before taking the big, beautiful oval, and proudly storing them back upon their hooks. If you feel so compelled, conclude your efforts by taking a photo of your masterwork, and fire it off to your dad for good measure.


Dear Stevil, I’m a retired snowsports professional at the tender age of 41. I had a steady job with a manufacturer, got to travel around the country, schmooze and booze with buyers and retailers. All my friends thought I had that dream job, as did my 16-year-old self but I quickly learned how much bullshit is marketed and sold, year after year. I quit because I became that jaded, barely did the minimum, showed up late and hungover every day kinda schmutz that I despised when I was just starting out. Currently I remodel houses at an hourly rate and burn off steam pedaling around with my bike buds. It’s not perfect but I don’t mind it.

My question: When a dream becomes a reality that doesn’t fulfill your soul; do you dare to dream again even though the last one was 20-plus years of chasing other people’s bullshit?

Many thanks and happy trails,

—Sean

Dear Sean, You pose an interesting question. Dreaming of an idealized existence, be it professional, personal, or both, I think is a cornerstone of the human condition. In fact, I’d go so far as to reckon that it’s a thing that helps us maintain some semblance of forward momentum. When most of us were young, I suspect we all had some fantasy version of what we wanted our individual lives to look like when we grew up. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become apparent that part of achieving this is maintaining the ability to be flexible about it all. Case in point—I reflect on Mike Judge’s 1999 movie Office Space far more often than is probably reasonable. (If you’ve not seen it, go ahead and watch it now, and return to the conclusion of this article later.) I think about Peter Gibbons’ futile efforts to maintain a happy and productive reality that, on paper generally made sense. Though as we come to learn, he was chasing someone else’s version of what his dream should be. I’m certain that you’ve amassed important building blocks in your twenty-plus year journey that will be integral to your life as it moves forward from here.

Are you content doing what you are doing currently? Then for now, I’d say that’s good enough. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I’d guess that just outside your own front door there are plenty of other people waiting in line to that anyway. While possibly not being conducive to a long-term career strategy, an important thing for any of us to remember in the interim is specifically what aspects of your reality offer you contentment today, and tomorrow. Maybe for now, just cross the bridges that come along in the days that follow, whenever you end up getting to them.

Have a question? Send it to: Stevil [at] cyclingindependent.com. You’ll be a better person for it.



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