Looks Like I Made It

I finally slept pretty good last night and was up reasonably early this Saturday to make sure B was up and ready to get to his 9 AM referee class1.

I was also up early because it was the first Saturday of the 2018/19 Premier League season AND I wanted to get out for a ride before it got too hot.

Premier League footy + a ride = a great Saturday!

So, after breakfast, coffee, dumps, and watching Spurs win their first match of the year (C.O.Y.S.!) I mapped out a ride, loaded up my gear and started out for the Dirt Road Launching Pad in Riverdale, listening to a shit ton of Modest Mouse on the way.

The 27-mile Gratiot County ride contained the following:

  • 2.55 miles of paved rail trail.
  • 3.25 miles of paved roads.
  • 21.2 miles of dirt and gravel roads.

And it was all good.

I took my Fuji X-T1 along for the ride with the 18-135mm lens. That lens has been my go-to lens over the past year. In fact, I found myself pretty much only using the 18-135 and the 18-55mm of late. So much so that I recently sold my 55-200mm 3.5-4.8 and used the profits to pick up a used Nikon D610 full frame body. Anxious for the body to come, should be here early this coming week.

OK, enough camera talk, onto the ride…

The ride was excellent, and I did indeed beat the bulk of the day’s heat. The average temp during the ride never topped 80˚ and the high today was like 88˚, so I consider that a success.

The dirt roads were rolling nice, the pavement was pretty low-key, and the brief sections of the rail trail were a great way to avoid some crap roads. If there were a way to make a LOOP of rail trails, I would be totally down with it. Sadly, most are out and backs, and that takes the boredom level to 11 for me. They’re great to have around though.

I rode, I took some pics, I had fun. Then I went home and mowed the grass in 88˚ heat. That was not fun, but necessary to maintain the park-like setting (not really) of the Cul-De-Sac Shack.

“If you think you know enough to know
You know we’ve had enough
And if you think you don’t, you probably will.”
March into the Sea, Modest Mouse

As I type this, less than two hours are remaining in my self-imposed 28-day booze ban entitled Operation Boozeless™. Tomorrow is Day 28 but as of this evening I “technically” have completed 4 weeks booze free. With so little time remaining, and the fact that I’ll be going to bed soon, I am just gonna go ahead and call Operation Boozeless™ a success.

There were just a couple times that I wanted a beer after a ride, or after a day at the shop, but found other, healthier, ways to cope. I admit that was a bit scared going into this challenge; I haven’t gone this long without alcohol in close to 30 years and was pretty concerned that I might find out I had a problem. As it turns out, I am more a victim of my own creature habits and routines than I am a dependency on booze.

Over the past four weeks I have learned a few things:

  • I don’t need alcohol to have fun with family and friends. I dig my family and friends, and we laugh and have fun over coffee or sodas the same as if it were beer.
  • I don’t need alcohol as a social lubricant, I just used that as an excuse. I can deal with people just fine sober. I might not like them, but I can deal with them.
  • Often, I didn’t drink because I wanted it, I drank to escape feeling bad about myself. Sadly, it would usually end with me feeling bad about myself anyway the next day because I let myself drink too much. I can’t ever let that happen again. I’ve also accepted myself, and by that I mean I now accept that I will never truly like myself.
  • I have found myself doing more with my family, doing more around the house in the evenings, and being more creative over the past four weeks. I’ve also been riding more and feeling better.
  • As of today, I have lost 7.5 pounds 8 pounds I wish I had lost more weight, but given that I’m 47 years old and other than cutting out alcohol I really didn’t mess with my carb-heavy diet much, I’m happy with that. Plus, 1.75 2 pounds a weeks ain’t too shabby.

So where does this leave me now? I can happily say that I feel great about having successfully gone four weeks booze free. I knew I was drinking too much, and I needed to hit a reset button. Hopefully, I can find my way back to normal, responsible enjoyment of beer. The biggest thing for me was finding evening routines that didn’t involve having beers. Having done that and enjoyed that, has me stoked.

Having said all that, I’m looking forward to a couple IPAs on the deck tomorrow evening, then getting back to my routine. Shedding those 7.5 pounds has me thinking I can get into that Speedo by the time our winter get-a-way comes around in early 2019! If it seems that I can’t find a healthy balance with my intake, Operation Boozeless™ will need to be permanent. The past 4 weeks have been good for me, I want to keep improving.

Hoping for a ride tomorrow, especially since I’ll be at the shop on Monday.


  1. Reffing soccer is a pretty sweet gig for kids to make some cash. Today was an 8-hour class and test to be certified. B passed the test, so now he just needs to get some uniforms and get scheduled.

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