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it's been about five years(14 posts)

it's been about five yearsJS Haiku Shop
Sep 3, 2003 6:31 AM
it's been about five years since i quit smoking. that's the hardest thing i've ever voluntarily put myself through.

also kicked a nasty soda habit, formerly drinking 2-4 or more liters of dr. pepper or other pop daily. i took a couple months worth of cigarette money and bought a cheap mountain bike from the LBS, rode through the winter, picked up a used road bike about a year later, lost 50 pounds another year after that, and the rest is in the books.

two years ago (this month) i stretched my boundaries to ride a 200k (~125 miles) in birmingham. that ride was structured with 50 miles out and 50 back for the century guys, with four 25-mile loops from the 50-mile point for the DC guys; the 200k riders would only ride one of the four loops, then turn back toward the start. i shared that ride with our fellow board member "12x23".

at the beginning of my 25-mile loop, at the SAG, i noticed a couple on matching bikes pulling in from their third loop and heading for their fourth, stuffing their faces and pockets with cookies and chips, hurriedly filling bottles, and rushing to get back on the bikes. their dress was unmatched and dissheveled but somehow uniform, bikes drab and old-looking and steel and filthy, replete with strange accessories: fenders, lights, extra bottle cages, large seatpacks, and hub-generators. what strangeness was this? ah: double century riders. there's something truly wrong with these people, i thought.

two years ago i couldn't even spell "double century rider", and now i is one. last year, two of 'em. this year, several already (through the joy of brevet riding), and some shorter rides, too. last year i couldn't get any of the local gang to stretch their minds and boundaries far enough to enjoy a ride longer than 100 miles (and a century was pushing it). this year, we're riding weekend centuries unsupported in training, stretching a bit to 140-miles and beyond on exploratory rides, and i'm very happy to report that this weekend, a gang of eight or more of us will hit the road for 134 or 200-mile rides, together. it brings a tear to me eye (arg!) to see that we've either attracted and recruited, or "grown" takers for such challenges.

"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." -Emil Zatopek

sure, it's a running quote, and no, i don't equate any DC i've done to a marathon (i've only run as much as 10k).'s the closest thought-to-words that captures my feeling of "long rides". i could surely dedicate my time to placing or even winning short, concerted efforts. but, what would come of it? i've competed before--in high school sports, and beyond. what i've found on the "long road" has so far overshadowed the result of competition that the above quote has found an unquestioned truth on my own rides. there's something of great value i can only find after many, many hours on a bike. wonder what i'd find between brest and paris, or montreal and boston? probably saddle sores. :)

there are still a few ash trays around my house, but they're all used to hold stuff these days. thought it was ironic this morning, so took this pic to share with you bunch of electrons.

Sep 3, 2003 6:37 AM
is this a Cateye ad?mohair_chair
Sep 3, 2003 7:00 AM
All those Cateye computers in the ashtray would make a good Cateye ad. Send them the picture!

What's really sad is that in "stretching your boundaries," you seem to have limited your haiku time, and that's a shame. I miss those board summary haikus.

By the way, between Brest and Paris is a nice cathedral, at Chartres. It took so long to build, the style changed, and I guess no one noticed until it was too late (note how the right and left spires are different). They've got some of the finest stained glass in the world there. Stop in if you get a chance.

see you at 4 am! (nm)buck
Sep 3, 2003 7:15 AM
not if i see you first :) nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 3, 2003 7:26 AM
Very nice post. Thanks. NMjtolleson
Sep 3, 2003 7:17 AM
Sep 3, 2003 7:23 AM
I'm glad you made those decisions years ago, you are a great example of making a change for the better. I'm inspired by your stories of double centuries, so much so that I think it's the next step I would like to try. I have a friend that has started riding brevets (injury scuttled his plans for PBP this year) and I've hesitated to make the move.

Stay healthy!
Uhmmm...Why do you have 6 Cateyes in an ashtray???biknben
Sep 3, 2003 8:23 AM
I enjoyed the story. I started a similar transformation nearly 4 years ago soon after my daughter was born. I'm not the same person.
Great post. I think about this stuff a lot.PseuZQ
Sep 3, 2003 8:53 AM
I really, really love spending all day on my bike. Sometimes I go fast, sometimes I go slow, but mostly I cruise around and just...experience stuff. I like the smells, I like the way the air feels, I like watching drops of sweat hit the top tube on a looong climb. There's just so much. Riding like this is one of the few things I've found that can really settle me down at put me at peace with the world.

Some people get it, some people don't.
Yessir, I remember it well ...12x23
Sep 3, 2003 9:25 AM
that was the beginning and end of my 3 cans of Ensure before the start of a 200km ride experiment. (My colon felt as though it were inflated to about 10 atmospheres).

I gave up the "cowboy killers" August 16 (I think), 1985. It was easier to quit the Ensure than the cigarettes. :-)
smoking those things has to be bad for the lungs!Mike P
Sep 3, 2003 10:53 AM
I gave up the "I'm so cool sticks" 12 years ago. Don't miss it.

My dad still smokes. . . a lot. He also works out. It is really funny to watch someone finish a good set of sit-ups, sip some coffee, take a couple drags of the lit cig from the ashtray and drop back down for the next set. I never say anything though.

He looks at me funny if I stop by to say hello when I am out riding near enough; I think it's something to do with the shorts. He never says anything though.

Congrats on the "about five year" anniversary, I quit 5 yrs. &MVN
Sep 3, 2003 12:02 PM
10 months ago. Best thing I ever did for myself. The next best thing was beginning to ride. Both of those things have changed my life for the better. My wife still doesn't get the riding thing, though. Wish she would get as obsessed as I am about it. Then again, maybe I don't, lol.
No, you don't =)KG 361
Sep 3, 2003 2:14 PM
Let her be obsessed with something else. My wife (finally) understands my need to ride. While I can't ride as much as J or MB1 and others, riding gives me an outlet that nothing else can. Haven't had to quit smoking-never smoked and I generally have been active all my life, but cycling is IT.I think I know why-my grandfather used to race way back when-it's in the blood (coolest thing that I have is a watch that he won in a race).
Have you ever considered batteries plus ;) moreTNRyder
Sep 3, 2003 2:43 PM
Seriously, many ppl in this thread have summed up how I too feel. There is no other release that works for me like riding a bike. I don't understand it and my wife surely doesn't, but it is what it is. I didn't quit smoking until after I started riding, so I am only a little over 4 yrs without the cancer sticks! If only I could get myself to eat better now. I still worship at the alter of hamburgers and deep fried everything.