Back in late 2016 my three year old son stabbed me through the belly button with a pointy stick.
It got infected and turned red. Then green.
I was put on a course of industrial strength antibiotics and received sympathy from my family. Which slowly turned to boredom. And eventually disdain (“it’s only a bulging, green, septic belly button for goodness sake…get over it”).
Happily, within three weeks my navel health had ascended to its previous dizzy heights.
There was just one side-effect, which lingers on.
The tablets I took are also, I’m told, sometimes prescribed to recovering alcoholics, because when mixed with alcohol, vomit happens. Needless to say I had a dry Christmas and New Year back in 2016.
And I discovered some things.
I slept better. I was less tired. I lost weight. The bags under my eyes shrank from bulbous and saggy to merely bulbous. And, remarkably, it turns out the tee-total me is better at cycling – alcohol is not an aid to athletic performance…who knew?
Someone should do a study.
The on-bike improvement was the clincher for me.
By my rough calculations I went on to only drink the equivalent of around three bottles of wine during the whole of 2017. A figure which is down on my previous average of a-hundred-and-something bottles.
The vast majority of those three bottles were drunk during one evening at the Six Days of Ghent.
In the form of beer.
And so it was that I found myself here, in 2018, on New Year’s Day, with the roads to myself.
With around 96% of the population in bed nursing hangovers, I clocked up forty-two smug New Year miles, having partied hard the night before with a large amount of cheese and several litres of sparkling water.
For a couple of blissful hours, I may have been the most hydrated cyclist in the UK.
There is only one down side to all this.
The New Year’s Party was hosted by some Scottish friends. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Scots, but they do New Year. I mean, they really DO it.
As I wandered around the increasingly drink-sodden house I received sympathetic, pitying looks, from my fellow party goers, in response to my obvious sobriety. The karaoke got louder and the conversations got more confusing (to me, at least…).
Around midnight the drunk me might have been deep into a karaoke duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, with some hairy bloke playing the role of Kiki Dee.
The sober me began to look forward to my bike ride.
I appear to have traded in my social life to become a better cyclist.
I’m very happy with my decision.
(Image: via pixabay.com)