• Oracle commented on the post, Youth 2 months, 1 week ago · 

    A bit of a counterpoint. Youthful exuberance and openness to new beliefs and points of view are certainly qualities one should continue to foster as one gets older. However, let’s not discount the value of experience and wisdom that comes with age (for some of us, anyway!). There are a lot of things that I “believed” as a younger man, without…

    [Read more]

  • Oracle commented on the post, Dead Tired 3 months ago · 

    @ErikdR

    Tell me about it. I was all the way down to level 4. I had to contribute a guest article just to cover up the embarrassment!

  • Oracle commented on the post, Guest Article: The Longest Road 3 months ago · 

    @Neil

    You’re absolutely right.

  • Oracle commented on the post, Dead Tired 3 months ago · 

    We’re there for you, Frank.

    Bill

  • sinikl and Profile picture of OracleOracle are now friends 6 months, 2 weeks ago · 

  • @Buck Rogers

    As an ex-mountain biker from the 1990’s, I’ve got a weakness for visors. Cycling caps under the helmet are a godsend for me. Plus, they look badass, especially combined with my faithful Oakley M-Frames. However, they are NOT badass when worn in non-cycling activities. Would you wear your bibs for a trip to the hardware store?…

    [Read more]

  • Oracle commented on the post, The Tangled Past 6 months, 2 weeks ago · 

    Armstrong didn’t break my heart by cheating. Instead, he earned my disgust by being such a dick about it, smashing through people’s lives like a wrecking ball in service to his own ego.

    The sports figure that really broke my heart is Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers. Man, that guy was fabulous after he first came up. He could do anything,…

    [Read more]

  • Oracle‘s profile was updated 6 months, 2 weeks ago · 

  • Thanks all for the well wishes and encouragement. I knew that this was a pretty heavy article, but I had faith that this community would handle it with panache (and some off-color humor), and I was not disappointed.

    @ChrisO has it exactly right. I did not mean to condemn the site as glamorizing drinking and, for the record, I’m cognizant of…

    [Read more]

  • Let us thank @The Oracle for contributing this guest article. We haven’t been putting up many guest articles so it’s good to have something substantial to begin with again. I don’t think cyclists are any more or […]

    • That took some balls, @The Oracle

      Huge respect to you for sharing this, and for your recovery. Best of luck for the future, both on and off the bike.

    • Respect. Respect. Respect. For having the guts to share this. For sticking up for yourself – your true self – and staying on course on your way out of the dark pit. And for writing beautifully and soberly about it. Well done, sir; you’re an inspiration, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

    • Congratulations on the first 100 days. Please do a follow-up on day 365 with the same good news.

      Best wishes

      David

    • Wow! So impressive. Truly very powerful and emotional. This is the best thing I have read on the internet in months.

      I know that you have contacts for any set backs that might try to occur in your life of sobriety but I hope that we can also be a help here and that if it starts to get dark, you can try to look for us for help in your clean path ahead.

    • I’m very glad you are in the process of getting yourself out of that pit, and that you chose to share the story with us.

      I also came out of uni with a bit of a drink problem – I didn’t feel I could go to a social event without drinking heavily, and I didn’t know when to stop. Fortunately, my wife had the courage to call me out and make me think about what I was doing, and I pulled back from the edge.

      So although I’ve never been down in that pit fully I’ve had a good look and it’s not pretty. I can only imagine the guts it takes to pull yourself out.

      Well done mate, keep at it.

    • Isn’t Wisconsin great. Our tradition of drinking is worn as a badge of honor by so many of us. I have lived here all my life (61 years) and also attended UW-Madison for law school. I tend to agree with the medical opinion that thinks you are born with the alcoholic/addictive gene. I started on my alcoholic path with binge drinking at 15 years old and progressed from there. I’m coming up on my 12 year anniversary of sobriety. Sobriety is really a beautiful thing. I hope you are part of a good 12 step program. Anyone can quit drinking, the trick is to stay that way. The 12 step programs teach us how to live life without alcohol and be happy in our sobriety. In my opinion, that is the only way we are going to stay sober. My obsession with biking coincided with quitting drinking. I hate to admit this on this site, but I was one of those kids that had a Schwin 10 speed bike that I swore I would never ride again as soon as I got my driver’s license. Before that, I road that bike all over creation. During the summer after 8th grade I fell in love with a girl at a church camp who lived 80 miles from me. On a whim, I thought it would be a great idea to ride my bike up to see her. My legs were so cramped the next day I could hardly walk. We have a fairly large hill in our downtown. I remember distinctly struggling up that hill as a 15 year old and having a guy on a motorcycle ride up next to me. He slowed a bit, looked at me and laughed at my struggle, then with a twist of his wrist he cruised away. That did it. I bought a motorcycle two weeks later and sold my bike as soon as I got my driver’s license. I owned plenty of motorcycles, but no bikes for the next thirty years. A couple of years before I quit drinking something got into my head to sell my motorcycle and buy two bikes for my wife and I. When we both quit drinking, I started riding a lot, but just around town. It wasn’t long before I bought a road bike (the salesman just shook his head when I asked him if they would be putting a kickstand on it when I picked it up). I lost 40 pounds and started doing a lot of long distance rides (centuries, 200ks and one 300k). I’ve upgraded my bikes repeatedly since then and I ride at least 50k every other day now. I almost always do it solo. Biking is my meditation and prayer time. I guess I would be considered a “born again” bicyclist, as opposed those who have had a life long passion for bicycles. Keep up the good work. The first 100 days are the hardest. I live in Janesville so if you are in this part of the state, look me up. I love to talk recovery. Dan

    • Powerful stuff, The Oracle. Good luck with your battle.

    • Chapeu, great read.

    • Respect. Welcome back. You have friends always here.

    • @dancollins

      I love these stories, when people get sober and their lives begin anew. FFS, it sounds hellish beforehand. I have an American friend in europe that does AA online with other english speakers in the area, one of the best uses of social media yet.

      And I agree about the genetic component, I dodged that bullet.

    • @The Oracle: I can only echo the comments made above. Never expected to read such an article on this site but it only makes it better. Thanks for sharing, and I think and hope that the sharing itself helps to continue to find the panache to stay away from it.

      This is what makes this community so powerful: we can b**ch about the smallest irrelevant things and act as if we’re the toughest dudes around, but then sometimes, we get these nuggets of gold of openness.

    • Incredible piece! Oracle – great to see you back on the site. This is why this site matters to so many of us.

      If you want to come down to West Bend for a ride, just let me know.

      Good luck with everything!

    • Chapeau, sir.

      Welcome back to the fold.

    • Best First Ride Back ever.

      Congrats for getting back on the right track in both ways.

      I hope it adds to the insight of people who’ve never been in that position, and helps you and anyone else who has been, or is, there.

      And just to lower the tone, it’s a close contender for bravest share I’ve seen this week.

    • @ChrisO

      Wow . . . just wow on that other “share.”

      If any of you are tempted to click on the link, here are a few extracts to set the scene:Quote “But then when she pressed down on her stomach she felt a buzzing inside her. They tried to remove it using a fork handle and barbecue prongs but all efforts failed.”

      Her boyfriend could be a tad more sympathetic though: Quote ‘Lee’s not been scarred by it – he just thinks it’s funny. I think he should have one up his bum and take one for the team.’

      Kudos to Emma for turning this incident into a public service announcement. Yes indeed.

      I have an acquaintance who was an ER doctor in Madison, WI (a very large college town.) A colleague of his kept quite the collection of miscellany that had been retrieved from places they should never have been. It was quite the conversation starter . . .

    • Well I did warn it would lower the tone.

      I thought at first it was a fake but it seems to be a genuine story.

      If people keep speaking publicly about things like that then ER doctors will have nothing to talk about at parties.

    • @ChrisO

      @wiscot

      One of the guys I work with’s wife is a surgeon.

      One word – coconut. And I’ve seen the X-ray. Mindblowing.

    • @ChrisO

      A rare day I am in the office and opened that link at work. Fortunately no one was stood behind me.

    • @Teocalli

      Yeah, sorry. In my synopsis, I should have stated NSFW.

      @RobSandy

      A coconut? Like one of those softball-sized, jaggedly-hairy, big-as-a-baby’s-head things? Without getting into details, wouldn’t you have to work up to something that size? Some people have too much time on their hands.

    • @wiscot

      I don’t know about the time bit but that definitely sounds like a case of too much on their hands…….

    • Wishing you all the best in your efforts to fight the addiction.

      -Ted

    • @wiscot

      Yes, one of those.

      Yes, I imagine so.

      And, yes.

    • @Oracle: fantastic, keep it up brother. I too share the addiction gene but have been blessed with an internal clock which tells me “that’s enough buddy” before trouble ensues. Too bad that mutation can’t be spliced in for you. Perhaps there’s a line missing from Ben Franklin’s quote, something akin to “but it’s one of the ways he can fuck with us.”

    • @ORACLE: You will come through just fine. My last drink as July 1995, and I don’t miss one damn thing about it. Keep mashing the big plate.

    • Was wondering where’d you’d disappeared to, and pleased to see you back at it on Strava. That’s a tough demon to dispatch, and I hope you can maintain the upper hand. A young co-worker attempted suicide a couple of days ago while in recovery from his drinking, so your post is particularly poignant for me. Certainly has me thinking about my habitual visits to the crafty beer store.

    • As Layne Staley stated-Our pain is self chosen…

      You stop when only you are ready. For me it took an introspectve revelation that I was hurting the ones I loved more than I was hurting myself. Once I had climbed out of that dark vortex of addiction and depression I knew I was not going back to that shitty place. Knowing that there was a hole left in my life where addiction once lived I knew I needed to fill it with something else.

      Fortunately I too rediscovered the bike. My pain is still self chosen. but at least now it does not negatively affect those I love.

      Congrats on your 100. Stay strong through your recovery and I hope your bike and this community helps you navigate this path as it has helped me. For many of us who share this love for the bike and everything that surrounds it we can attest to our encounters as we enter the pain cave. It is lonely there. It is painful but it does not compare to the beasts of we encounter in the dark pit of addiction. Once again we must heed the golden rule. It is the only one that truly matters. Rule V. VLVV

    • While carefully considering Rule #40 today as I was changing my tires, I kept thinking about this article/post and am calling for a “move to strike Rule #47, your honour!”.

    • Thanks for sharing, Oracle. Congratulations on 100 days, too.

      My old man was an alcoholic. It eventually killed him in ’96. Seizure from going cold turkey after a good 10+ years on the bottle. So I hope to hell the adict gene skipped me.

      You are tough as hell for realising you have a problem, doing something about it and seeing it through.

      All Velominati tough guy shit aside, I genuinely wish you all the very best.

      Now go kick this addictions ass. Sur la plaque.

      VLVV.

    • @KogaLover

      I was sort of surprised to see references in the article and comments about the site and drinking – it’s never really occurred to me that it was anything which would unduly encourage or glamourise it.

      And I say that as a very light drinker who will go weeks without touching alcohol, not as deliberate avoidance but it just isn’t part of my life, so it’s not like I feel part of a drinking culture. (It’s why I had to leave Australia)

      But the article also says: I posted often on this site, and used the frequent talk of drinking here as a misguided rationalization for continuing to drink heavily even while riding harder and farther than I had ever done in my life.

      Misguided rationalization is the key bit for me. If you’re looking for justification it can be found anywhere and it’s dangerous to start taking individual rules too seriously. Would someone argue that Rule #11 (Family doesn’t come first) is encouraging people to neglect their children or divorce their wife?

      Changing Rule #22 on the other hand…

    • As in: you prefer to wear a baseballcap? Or prefer to wear a cycling cap also during non-cycling related events?

    • @ChrisO

      Agree completely. Though, I think it was just a crafty way to justify the contemplation of a triple crank.

      This piece highlights the beauties of this community, notably how the pendulum can swing from serious issues to comments about new ways to get coconuts through airport security (that’s what they were doing, right?)

    • @KogaLover

      The latter, but with an exemption.

      My personal view is while cycling, wear a helmet if you wish or wear a cap, not both.

      But those who don’t wear them as God and Eddie intended have no business setting rules for those who do.

      And if you don’t hide your light under a bushel then I think you have the right to wear it whenever you damned well please.

    • @Oracle, thanks for sharing your story of strength and hope, as they say in the rooms. I’m glad that you found that point where you decided for yourself, before you lost loved ones, work, permanent health issues or worse. Yes, everyone’s bottoms are different and some, seems like yours, are truly harrowing. But they all share the fact that we did some shit things in addiction, indefensible in hindsight, and that guilt can last longer than the obsession to use or drink. And that in no way is asking for any absolution or sympathy. We own it and try to be better every day.

      I took to the bike after getting clean, and it has been a godsend. We do choose our poison, and maybe always looking for a steep hill to ride up, despite the fact that I’m 100kg and just shit at climbing. The pain in legs and lungs is the substitute, a way of feeling something that is not getting high.

      It’s true that at cogals and such, drinking beer and the like is an integral part of the experience. Not taking part is somewhat isolating, but that’s OK. Everyone has always been generous and non-judgmental.

      I had 10 years and relapsed. One day at a time my friend, and keep coming back.

    • @ChrisO Your attempted hijacking of The Oracle’s incredibly brave confession and testimony was crass and classless. Surfing the Net with a good buzz on, discovering and reposting misogynist stories about stupid sex acts completely undermines the importance of supporting our comrades on two wheels whatever their trials might be.

      Cycling and alcohol do NOT have to go hand in hand, although I admit that for some they do. We are not all doomed to a sordid culture because some choose that path. Not all hard core cyclists are hard core drinkers- anymore that all Aussies are rowdy unruly rugby players (or all Yankees as stupid as Trump!).

      Full disclosure: I drank too much age 17-36; quit one day and haven’t looked back for 25 years

      I recently rediscovered the healing power and pleasure of suffering on the bike: no drinking or drugs involved, except perhaps for legally prescribed antidepressants, as I descended into the abyss of self-pity and despair after my VMH of 37 years walked out on me. As a teenager she carried my Dettos while I registered for crits; later she famously said “You’ve been grouchy today- why don’t you go out for a long ride?” Now she gets the Steinway piano and the nice paintings, since I get to keep my bikes. But no matter how low I might feel, when I go for a ride “to get my angry out” I always come back a better, braver man.

    • @ChrisO

      your personal views are not gold

    • @David Beers

      I’ve made two posts directly addressing issues in the OP, one of which contained a tangential but humorous link in 17 words, and another responding to a direct question.

      On the other hand we now know all about the details of YOUR divorce and YOUR drinking and what YOU got and how much self-pity YOU felt. In a post where you refer to your wife of 37 years as a VMH.

      But apparently I’m the misogynistic one who for some reason wants to hijack the thread.

      The good news is that if Donald Trump wants to endow a chair for Self Awareness and Gender Studies he’s found his man.

      And for that I am truly sorry for now hijacking the thread but I’m afraid I don’t respond well to direct personal attacks with keyboards.

    • @universo

      Are you implying that only personal views that ARE gold may be stated on this site? If so, I’d appreciate a sort of opinion scale, so before I offer my personal view on anything from caps to potential TdF winners I can make sure I’m at the golden end of the scale.

      Thanks.

    • Steady on, lads.

    • @davidlhill @all

      sharing one thought is all

    • @Oli

      Agreed.

    • @universo

      Fair enough – apologies.

    • @ChrisO

      Oh for Merckx’ sake Chris! Stop, just stop. I did NOT accuse you of anything other than poor taste and judgement for posting a link to a story about sex toys that had nothing to do with Oracle’s post. And you know nothing of my journey other than my illustration that “when everything else in your life sucks, you still have the bike, and if misery loves company the suffering will set you free.”

    • @Cary

      Have you read the New Yorker article on Hurricane Katrina and the upsides of displacement? It was either earlier this year or last year. To summarize: research has shown that a major event that displaces people is one of the few things that can truly allow people to break out of a cycle of poverty, crime, low education, bad choices, etc.

      From a privileged view you can stand and wonder why people in tough places make bad choices and can’t break out. What researchers have found is that the devastation of the hurricane really forced people to up and leave and get completely away from their former lives, with some positive outcomes for certain folks. Very interesting stuff, in my opinion. Really flies in the face of the naive “Well, it wouldn’t be a ghetto if they’d stop the drugs and violence” mentality.

    • Very moving, The Oracle. Congratulations on 100 days, I wish you many more on this good path you’re on these days.

      I actually started drinking too much and riding obsessively as a result of graduate school. I’d progressed to All But Dissertation status and fell into a real hole of not knowing how to finish up. I’d never lacked effort or self-motivation in my life regarding anything. I had some challenges with changing programs and losing more than one advisor, but that just made things more challenging and I won’t use those to shift the blame off of my shoulders.

      I’m happy to say I should (finally!) be finishing up this year. I don’t ride enough these days, based mostly on having a 5 month old. And I don’t overdrink either, based mostly on having a 5 month old and a wife and really thinking about my behavior, responsibilities, and what those two need out of me.

      Anyway, this isn’t about me, just wanted to share. Keep on keepin’ on to everyone who has struggled with substance overuse/abuse in the past and has sorted it out.

    • There’s a program which I think originated in Aust., but is available for anyone, called Hello Sunday Morning.

      They describe it as “HSM is a movement towards a better drinking culture.”

      https://www.hellosundaymorning.org/

      Their vision is for a world of better choices, fewer hangovers and unforgettable Sunday mornings.

      If those Sunday mornings happen to include a bike ride then so much the better.

      Be kind to yourself and those who love you. (actually be kind to everyone)

    • @ChrisO

      ChrisO, I actually totally agree with The Oracle on the point that the V site glamourizes drinking and encourages it, but then again maybe that is a misguided rationalization on my part??? Just my read on it.

      Also, I completely break Rule #22 on a daily basis. But I have a bit of an out on that one as the rule says “The only time it is acceptable to wear a cycling cap is while directly engaged in cycling activities” and since every action in my life is directly engaging in cycling activities in some shape or another, then it is okay. Besides, Frahnk taught me first hand how to properly don and wear a casquette and when one has been so anointed, the rules of mere mortals no longer apply.

    • Recovery from addiction is often talked about in steps. But you’re finding it in pedal strokes. Their is a silver lining in every cloud. You’ve re-discovered the simple joy/fun of riding to ride. You have, in fact, transcended the V.

    • @Brifter

      we need to ride together…

    • Thanks all for the well wishes and encouragement. I knew that this was a pretty heavy article, but I had faith that this community would handle it with panache (and some off-color humor), and I was not disappointed.

      @ChrisO has it exactly right. I did not mean to condemn the site as glamorizing drinking and, for the record, I’m cognizant of the fact that a good portion of the population can enjoy alcohol responsibly. I don’t expect society to change or tiptoe around me because of my addiction. If I want to be a part of our society, I have to learn not to let things like Rule #47, or the booze ads during football games, or marketing cocktail hours for work turn into a trigger for me.

      Rather, I was commenting on the subversive power of the alcoholic mind. My brain would distort anything and everything into an excuse to justify putting more poison into me, including the relatively innocuous celebration of Belgian cycling traditions on this site. By no means am I suggesting that this site needs to change, or that a revision to the Rules is in order.

    • @The Oracle

      Gutsy article, and a great follow up post. Chapeau.

    • I also struggle with booze and just wanted to say thank you for posting such an honest article.

    • @The Oracle

      Hell, Mate! I’m not condemning the site for the alcohol banter that occurs around here and I do not suggest that it change at all. Personally I love it.

      But I do feel that we talk about it a lot here. But maybe glamourize is not the correct word.

      As for Rule revision, I’m still on changing Rule #22!

    • @Buck Rogers

      As an ex-mountain biker from the 1990’s, I’ve got a weakness for visors. Cycling caps under the helmet are a godsend for me. Plus, they look badass, especially combined with my faithful Oakley M-Frames. However, they are NOT badass when worn in non-cycling activities. Would you wear your bibs for a trip to the hardware store? Fuck no. You look like a douche, and may not make it out alive. Same goes for cycling caps.

    • @Oracle

      As much as I like my Radars and some of my Rudy Projects, M Frames are some pretty incredible cycling and other exercise shades.

      Along the lines of attire, I can’t wait for the trend to go away of people walking around 24/7 in $$$ workout gear. I get it. You own a gym membership. Maybe you even went jogging 7 hours ago. I understand. But you’re at the grocery store now. Change into regular ol’ street clothes. Do the rest of us a favor. Your house or that awesome invention of a locker room are perfect places to change.

    • I’d rather wear a cycling cap into town than the usual peaked cap any day. And I would if I didn’t have this fabulous head of hair to show off.

    • @Oli

      And there you have it!

      Maybe it is my follically challenged head but I love wearing my cycling cap under the helmet (definitely b/c of the follicularly challenged head) AND off the bike.

      I still stand by the fact that we are cyclists in everything we do, not just when we swing a leg over the top tube and ergo I continue to don the casquette both on and off the bike.

      But the most important thing is to swing that leg over and ride. So have a ride and enjoy the wind in your face, Mates!

    • @Buck Rogers

      I like this way of thinking.

      The only rule which I think must be observed when wearing a cap off the bike is that it should be an actual cycling cap i.e. a cap which has been worn while cycling.

      People who don’t cycle or don’t wear caps while cycling (under helmet or au naturel) have no business wearing them at other times.

      This, I think, is the real essence of Rule #22.

    • @The Oracle

      Congratulations and keep on turning the cranks! It was cycling that helped me see where I was at. I’m 361 days sober and happy every day to wake up feeling great. In the early goings, through winter here in Maine, if I wanted a drink I’d go climb on my bike and Zwift until my head was clear.

      christian

    • @ChrisO

      That is my chosen understanding of the rule too. I often wear my cycling cap around town.

      “I still stand by the fact that we are cyclists in everything we do, not just when we swing a leg over the top tube and ergo I continue to don the casquette both on and off the bike.” – well said Buck Rogers!

    • @Neil

      You’re absolutely right.

  • Oracle commented on the post, The Justifier 6 months, 3 weeks ago · 

    @Gianni

    I’d say it was more on the order of “flogged” rather than “crucified,” Gianni. I see your flair for the dramatic has not left you.

  • Oracle commented on the post, The Justifier 6 months, 3 weeks ago · 

    I gotta say, the juxtaposition of colostomy bags with EPMS’s in this article certainly put some… unusual imagery in my head.

  • Thanks for the reminder of the true reason we ride, @frank. I hit 39mph on a downhill the other day, and after thinking “ohmygodi’mgonnadie,” my second thought was “Wheeeeeeeeee!”

  • Oracle commented on the post, The Race of Truth 1 year, 8 months ago · 

    @wiscot

    I’ve been dealing with that crap all week as well.

  • @Minnesota Expat

    I can’t explain the camera feed’s focus on TVG, since I think NBCSN just taps into the French feed, but I always assumed that Phil and Paul’s focus on TVG was because the broadcast is aimed at an American audience, and he was the highest-placed American shooting for a podium spot.

  • Nothing spoke more of TVG’s devastation at having to abandon than when he collapsed into the BMC staff’s arms when he stopped. At that moment, you could feel all the misery, the pain, and the disappointment. Of all the “human” moments of this years tour, I think those images will stick with me the longest.

  • frank and Profile picture of OracleOracle are now friends 1 year, 9 months ago · 

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