I realized for 3 years that I was essentially a caffeine addict. Many times I believed it helped my performance but then I felt it didnt because of the crashing effects I would get if I didnt consume enough caffeine. Then one day I quit completely, no caffeine for over one year. However, the last 4 months I have been hitting it kinda hard. Now, lol, I am kicking it again and havent had any for 5 days. Man, this sucks......
Good job, mate. Caffeine is a nice little drug for occasional use. Getting sucked into its cycle of building up tolerance, using it more, getting addicted while gleaning less of its benefits and more of its side effects... that's just bad mojo.
I switched to decaf beans 10 years ago. I keep a small container of regular beans just for those times I *need* a pick-me-up. I also find that a large cup of caffeinated coffee an hour or so before a ride makes me feel a lot stronger in the early part of a ride when I'm otherwise dragging butt.
Miele Gara, Schwinn Moab 2, Specialized Hardrock, various other bikes in disrepair
My doc made me reduce my caffeine after I had a panic attack earlier in the year. I didn't realize how much I was taking in --- at least 5 or 6 caffeinated drinks (coffee, soda, tea) a day, even drinking coffee well into the evening. Now I only drink one cup of half caf coffee in the morning and one soda in the early afternoon (I can't seem to shake that one, even though I know I should). Everything else is decaf all the way, and I started drinking a lot more water.
Let me just say that withdrawal was worse than I ever thought it would be. For 2 weeks I felt like pure hell---constant headaches and lethargy. It's a drug, no doubt...
my biggest problem wasn't kicking it with coffee...it's just that every drink for exercise (besides water) have some caffiene in it. Almost all of the gels do and you need the sugar from them...at least i think you do as i use them about every 40-60 minutes on long rides. Either way congrats...the headaches go away after about 4-5 days...after that i fell well.
It's advised to reduce caffeine consumption slowly to avoid the withdrawl symptoms. I've done it that way several times and it wasn't too bad. It's too easy to get addicted again.
I quit cold turkey (for just a few days) and had the worst withdrawal symptoms from such an available drug I could imagine. I felt more impaired than if I'd been up all night, and wasn't myself at all. Caffeine really is something you should really reduce slowly.