Monday, December 10, 2007


When I arrived in a treatment center in the Colorado mountains, it was late, dark, and cold.  My eyes were hazy, unfocused, and my hands shook slightly in the first symptom of many I would learn accompanies withdrawal

I was underweight (even for a cyclist).   I had ulcers.  My skin had a sallow, almost green tint.  Jaundice.  This, I was told, was from my liver’s inability to function, full as it was of toxins.  I was severely depressed.  My life in shambles.  Homeless, jobless, indebted, a divorce looming.

I was, as it turns out, very, very lucky.

My impossibly supportive family, with the help of friends: had staged an intervention.  I reeled.  I resisted.  And eventually, I relented.  Taking with me a suitcase my mother packed  (I would later learn she had forgotten to include underwear) and accompanied by my father, my sister, and a saint-like family friend, I headed for Estes Park in a snowstorm.

I cannot underscore the importance of a 28-day treatment program for those addicts and alcoholics of a certain type.  I was of that type.  I learned and grew and turned into something of a human again, and I am grateful to the point of tears that I was given that chance.

When I emerged from that cloistered valley, I was scared.  I had skills, and a plan, and for the first time in years, I had hope.  But I was still scared.

I went to meetings.  Lots of meetings.  I meditated, prayed, made my bed every day.  Eventually, I began riding again.

I had missed riding.  In the months leading up to my “bottom” I had quit riding altogether.  Too sick, too wound up, too drunk, or too hungover.  I stopped doing one of the things that made me who I am.  And I suffered more for it.

So now I am back on the bike.  Riding and racing as much as I can.

Sunday, December 9, 2007



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