Cycling & Doping: Caffeine & Advil

Even sports avoiders like me can’t overlook front-page news stories exposing athletes as they fall from grace due to doping.

It’s time for true confessions.

I’m a cyclist and I’m chemically dependent.

Preparing for a ride requires a significant amount of attention.  There’s the applying of anti-chafing cream, suntan lotion, and lip balm.   Each contains a long list of substances, ending with “ates”  like iodopropynyl butylcarbamate.

There’s a hearty breakfast: eggs, toast, jam, and maybe some peanut butter.  I have a small cup of coffee; I don’t want to overload on fluids if I’m unsure of the availability of restrooms.  I pop in my vitamins and a couple Advil, a bit of anti-ache insurance.

Mid –morning, there’s a craving, especially if it’s cold as it was this past Saturday, for a major drug break: Caffeine.  Of course just when I needed a New Jersey diner, I couldn’t find one.

To tide myself over, I nibble a fruit and nut bar, or if it’s hot, an organic energy chew, packed with Vitamin C and artificial electrolytes, designed to replace the natural ones lost through sweat.

Lunch, if on an organized ride, depends on what’s on offer at the rest stops. Usually peanut butter sandwiches. This Saturday, two varieties of soup- chicken noodle and vegetable struggled to stay hot. Doesn’t matter. When you bike, you eat anything.  I drank Gatorade  (more electrolytes plus sugar) and happily had a few chocolates. (more sugar, caffeine, and just great whether biking or not.)

The ride ends, about 50 miles later.  Those northern New Jersey hills sure seem like French Alps.  A manageable distance on a cool, fall day.  A half glass of beer seals the ride; it travels to all the muscles.

And sometimes, depending on how hard the climbs and how sore my legs, I find my trusty Advil and swallow a couple more. My drug of choice.


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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13 Responses to Cycling & Doping: Caffeine & Advil

  1. Never thought about the agony that comes with those long rides through nature. The physician side of me is a little anxious over the drug combination. It is a grueling sport. Carbs, caffeine and NSAIDS for pain relief. That is a hefty combination. The Nephrologists would be screaming at this point. Cooler weather is better but it is harder to stay warm if it is too cold.


  2. I’m more Aleve dependent, but then again my biking consists of the recumbent-gym-type. You are a warrior woman!


  3. RANDY JACKSON says:

    Lets not forget the post ride drug of choice, chocolate milk… Stay thirsty my friend. RJ


  4. You lost me with 50 miles! Amazing Lisa! My drug of choice is Cheez Its, but you won’t catch me on a bike for 50 miles. 😉


  5. Northern Narratives says:

    I’m glad that you decided to be honest and not hide behind the screen of drugs anymore. I say you can keep all your awards!


  6. says:

    Loved this. Will post comment soon, you doper! Xo
    Sharon Gill, Real Estate Broker, Prudential NJ


  7. 50 miles?! I’m impressed – you go girl!


  8. sharon gill says:

    impressed how you got here from where we started – nice transition.


  9. I am impressed with your long-distance cycling! I would say you deserve lots of yummy coffee for your efforts!


  10. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lance Armstrong later admits Advil was the gateway drug that got him into the big stuff.


  11. Leah says:

    You are hardcore! And here we think Lance has problems! 😉


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