Date: July 1
July mileage: 30.4
Temperature upon departure: 56
Did I mention before that I am so, so happy to be riding again on a regular basis? Lately I've been eating worse and sleeping worse, and have been under more stress at work because of a recent exodus of co-workers ... but I feel so much more upbeat, optimistic and excited about the future than I did in March. It frightens me, actually - it seems I need cycling just to feel like a complete person. These past few months have taught me that I'm not just an avid cyclist. I am a habitual cyclist. I've crossed that dangerous line between recreational use and dependency. And even as I work toward my goal to become a more well-rounded person (I am still going to the gym and doing my PT stretches and building my quads and planning activities where I just use my feet), it's so easy for me to just slip on my touring bike and head out for a two-hour spin that will carry me through the day.
Before March, it would have been easy for me to deny my addiction. But four months of painful withdrawals and subsequent binging have me wondering otherwise. So today, I googled addictions.org for the signs and symptoms of substance abuse:
1. Seclusive behavior - long periods spent in self-imposed isolation: So I primarily ride alone. So what? I work a strange schedule and do a lot of my riding in the winter. Hard to find people who want to hang out with me ... even my own partner generally just laughs when I say "want to go for a ride today?" But during the 24 Hours of Light, when the party was really going down, there was pizza and debauchery and all of the things that should make a social human happy - and I was riding around, and around, and around in circles ... all alone.
2. Long, unexplained absences: So sometimes I tell Geoff I am going to go for a one-hour ride and it turns to three. It's so easy to lose track of time. Don't judge me!
3. Lying and stealing: Luckily, I haven't resorted to this yet. But if I saw a Pugsley propped up on a post and no one was watching, can I trust that my conscience would prevail?
4. Involvement on the wrong side of the law: Sometimes, when I see a stop sign, and no one is around ... I run it. Ok? I have a good average speed going on. Don't judge me!
5. Deteriorating family relationships: The last time I called my mom, it was her birthday. It was June 2. That's terrible. But it seems like these days, I'm either working, or riding, or attending barbecues. Sometimes I sleep. But I should call my mom.
6. Obvious intoxication, delirious, incoherent or unconscious: If you had seen me after I rode the Susitna 100 this year, you would have seen me exhibiting every single one of these traits.
7. Changes in behavior and attitude: Today I made a U-turn at the glacier and was headed down the road at 18 mph when a huge herd of Cycle Alaska tourists darted across the intersection of the trail to a parking lot, completely cutting me off. I had to slam on my admittedly weak brakes, and just barely yanked my foot out of my pedals in time to not topple over or slam into them. I was filled with a road rage I have not felt since I used to commute I-15 when it was being rebuilt. I was seeing red. I was incapacitated with anger. All for people who, regardless of how clueless they were, were my fellow cyclists. Afterward, I felt a bit ashamed.
8. Decrease in school performance: I used to be good at and had interests in other stuff that wasn't cycling. Now ... hmmm ...
The Web site goes on to recommend, "Always remember that any one of the above signs may not be enough to indicate substance abuse, but should be enough to suggest that there may be a problem."
I guess the only question left is ... where can I find help?