I am in favor of performance-enhancing drugs, as long as the performance is mine, and the drugs are coffee and another cup of coffee. Some of my friends don’t understand why, even if we’re rolling out at 6am, I get up early enough to brew, sip, and contemplate before riding.
My relationship with caffeine is an odd one. In my 20s, I couldn’t handle it. I was newly sober then, and I suspect my digestive function had been compromised by an intense period of passing as much alcohol through my system as I could manage. I would guess that it was three or four years before my body got over all that. Doctors had me drinking liquid antacids daily, with breakfast and dinner. Mmmmm. Chalky.
I told myself I was basically no longer able to drink coffee or eat spicy food. It seemed a small price to pay for retaining my sanity and relationships. Fortunately, also, the human body is a miracle of self-regeneration (when you’re young).
As I got older, I got healthier, which equated to better eating and a LOT more riding. I became one of those super irritating pure-as-the-driven-snow types with no vices, other than bikes. Then children came along (mine) to rearrange my life. That’s when coffee reappeared on the scene. The exhaustion resulting from 3am feedings and the general chaos of administering to a demanding proto-human required action. And so, I started drinking coffee.
And it was grand.
Of course, because I’m the sort of person I am (see above), I started drinking a lot of coffee. All the coffee. All the time. I could drink coffee at 8pm and be out on the pillow at 9. Some of that is down to the bone-level-tiredness of parenting young kids. Some of that is just how I’m wired.
And there has always been a natural alliance between coffee drinking and riding bikes. It’s what you do before. What you do during, maybe. And, for me anyway, what you do after. When many of you are drinking a cold beer (in the shower?), I am making an espresso (double). Hell, I even have a group of bike friends who I meet in the woods to sit and drink coffee.
Coffee makes me 4% more tolerable than I am without it. That’s some incremental gain right there.
This week’s TCIF asks, do you coffee? Before? After? During? How do you take it? Do your rides stop at coffee shops? My friend Padraig says ‘yes’ to caffeine, but ‘no’ to coffee. He quaffs exotics, like matcha and Mountain Dew. Are you one of those? Or is all of this just so much babble about a meaningless vice, and nothing to do with cycling at all?