Tuesday, July 29, 2008


“For 50 years bike racers have been taking stimulants. Obviously we can do without them in a race, but then we will pedal 15 miles an hour (instead of 25). Since we are constantly asked to go faster and to make even greater efforts, we are obliged to take stimulants” — Jacques Anquetil, five-time winner of the Tour de France

I confess. I'm a doper and have been for years. From the first time I tried it I was hooked. I can still remember the day. How much easier riding in the Sierra Nevada was when I used it. At nearly a mile high and in 40 to 60 mile an hour winds it made riding a breeze.

It's not EPO or any other steroid. Music is my stimulant of choice. I believe music is a drug that aids in performance (at least for me). I discovered how much it really affects my riding just the other day while riding my bike and waiting at a stop light to turn onto Queen K. One of my "go-fast" songs came on my mp3 player while I was stuck at the red light. As the song built in its pounding tempo, my body literally began to shake. "Come on light, change already," I kept repeating to myself. I thought I was going to explode from the inside; my legs wanted to crank on the pedals so badly it hurt.

The lights here in Kona can last forever. Like having too much caffeine, I was nearly shaking uncontrollably. It was getting so bad that I finally had to turn off my music or else I was going to run the light and probably get hit. I knew right then I was a doper and music was my drug. If I had it during a race I would get PRs every time.

I don't know if music affects everyone like it does me. It gets in my head and in my heart. I visualize a movie with the music as the soundtrack. I forget about my pain, my fear and my limits and just go. The harder I stomp on the pedals, the better I visualize my mental movie.

My heart races. The blood jets through my veins. My lungs are near bursting, but it doesn't matter. As long as I'm being fed my drug, I can take it. I'll throw any training day out the window and go full bore if the right song comes on and feeds my habit. I'm a cold, hard junkie. Then comes the guilt. Another chance for a great training day wasted. No intervals, no cadence training, no recovery ride, just mashing pedals in a music-induced utopia mile after mile. Sure, I make myself promises. "I'll do better next time," I tell myself. "I'll leave the music at home." Or, "I can control it. Really. I'll prove it to myself next time."

But let's face it, I'm a hardcore music junkie. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery. And see, I'm already making progress. I road Thursday morning with Bree and didn't use music. Sure I had withdrawals. I had trouble finding gears, my cadence was all over the place, my feet kept falling out of the pedals (wait, that was one of our drills, I think. Pedaling with one leg. Or maybe not.) I even lost my voice, which was embarrassing. My body was in revolt. But it is progress. One ride at a time. Baby steps.

Word of warning 1: If you let music get into your very being, your soul, you too will become a music doper. If you let it grab you, take hold of your heart and become engulfed with the lyrics and beat, there's no turning back.

Word of warning 2: It's not safe to use music where there is traffic. So don't do it!!! Stay music free. Don't make the same mistakes I did. Live a long and healthy music-free training life. Not everyone can handle this powerful stimulant. You may end up doing something crazy like riding up hill really, really fast. Or singing outloud as you zoom down the road in an out of tune screech (well, maybe that's just me).

Is it cheating? I don't know. It probably is though. It boosts me into overdrive. It gets me into my "go fast" mentality. I'm so ashamed. I'm a doper.

But on the other hand, if you have no self-control (like me) or need a little boost in your performance, here is a song that sends me flying over whatever hill I'm having trouble with. I've climbed a thousand miles worth of hills to this song.

So, if you must, turn it on. Turn it up and start riding. ONE WAY BABY!!!! YEAH! FEED ME MAMA!!!

So, if you see me riding down the highway pumping my fist in the air making the No. 1 sign every so often, you'll know what song I'm listening to.


BreeWee said...

This is the funniest thing I have ever read! I am a music junky too, I might just run PR's every race if if I could slap on my tunes in T2. Hilarious post Randy...! Let me know if you find a cure... or not... I think I like my addiction! hee hee.

LeAnn said...

Ha! I just starting juicing it yesterday.

LeAnn said...

hmmmmm...sounds like hillsongs to me...i got a couple of songs that would make you go even faster...i send it to you...I need your mailing add. Ill ask karen cause I have her email address...

debbie said...

I am a Junkie too!! Love your song choice. Good beat. One of My favorites is "Sister Hazel", Great little band out of Florida. You have a Very amusing story. Thanks for sharing!!


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