Coffee. A fuel we are all familiar with, some of us rely on the effects of caffeine on a daily basis. Others save it for race day alone. I was about to post a different opening story for Fuel Stop when I realized I am missing a vital picture of the athlete concerned! So while that is shelved for another day I thought it quite timely to post my coffee story, seeing as I have to go cold turkey on the black stuff for a few days:(
We all have an opinion on the effects of coffee. I would not say I am addicted to coffee. But then ‘they’ say denial is the first sign of addiction – or something like that. No for me, drinking coffee is routine it is a ritual. Just like you get up and train every day, you go to work, it’s a routine, see? Oh who am I trying to kid!!
When I started drinking coffee as a kid it was with milk and sugar and as many digestive biscuits and custard creams I could lay my hands on without mum noticing. I went through phases growing up and dabbled with a dash of milk, no sugar, no coffee and then the occasional one. I never had it in the house. I was a social drinker and would have one when out for dinner or in one of those darned coffee houses that sprout up every 10seconds in a new location. You know the ones I mean. They entice you with their frosty air conditioning, free wi-fi and then hit you up the butt when they charge you a small fortune for a cup of average coffee.
My transition into drinking black is rather an odd story. I was out for a Saturday ride with the gang and one of the riding buddies had kindly purchased a McDonalds coffee for me. (I remember telling him at the time that he would make someone a lovely wife one day!) I didn’t have time to drink it so put it in the boot of my car and off I rode. On returning I opened up the car and there it was, beckoning. Anything and everything looks palatable when you are toasted after a ride. Still warm, (the advantage of living in the tropics), one thing far worse than black coffee was coffee with powdered milk and sugar! So I drank it black and lukewarm. It tasted good. So good in fact I have not had white coffee since, unless you count a caramel latte oh and maybe a frappacino!
Drinking black coffee means you actually can taste coffee; there is no sugary disguise. So it was then that it started to become a morning ritual of sorts before training. I dusted off the French press and starting buying a block of the good stuff each week, experimenting every now and then until I found a favourite. French Roast is particularly good for me and I am very partial to Vietnamese coffee, actually I would go so far as to say I am addicted to that! One cup turned to one Jug in the morning and nowadays I can get through two French press jugs a day. I still deny that it is an addiction. When travelling to races I learnt a great lesson from a good friend who never ever travels without his own press and fresh coffee. It doesn’t seem to matter the amount of stars a hotel carries, they still palm you off with instant rubbish. So into my suitcase I now never go anywhere without my French travel press and a fresh block of the good stuff.
Going cold turkey for a few days while I get better is not so bad. The worst part is the routine. I miss the routine of it and the smell. I simply LOVE the smell of coffee. Having never been a tea drinker I am kind of lost first thing in the morning. The coffee press is now once again collecting dust and my fridge has the faint aroma of French Roast teasing me every time I open the door. I will go so far as to admit it is a vice and one that I personally deem not to bad if I have to have a vice.
Now chocolate…that is an addiction and a dangerous one at that and another story entirely!
For a slightly more scientific take check out Julie’s thoughts at http://bipolarhappens.com/bhblog/bipolar-disorder-and-coffee/