I’ve been a bad blogger lately, and I’m this close to saying I’m going to take a blogging break so I can stop thinking about it for a while, but then I think, oh, I can manage to write something short, an updating kind of post, and maybe that will keep me going until I get some time and motivation back? Perhaps. We’ll see.

So, updates. I went on a lovely, 90-mile ride today with Hobgoblin, my cycling BFF, and two other guys, both good riders. Actually, it’s amazing anybody showed up for the ride at all, because this is how Hobgoblin advertised it in an email to our cycling club:

Terrible, ugly ride.  Five hours of pain, misery, and horror.  Expect bad attitudes, elitist snobbery, and open mockery of your bike-handling abilities.  Lots of climbing, bad roads filled with potholes, and strict pacelines.  We’re heading north to Lake Waramaug and Kent, so no sniveling about the route.   If you want to put yourself through this torture, be ready to roll from the shop at 8:30 on Sunday, May 2.

Would you show up for that ride? I certainly wouldn’t, if I weren’t married to the writer. Even knowing the tone was joking, I’d be afraid. But the “terrible” ride was really great, and we weren’t mean to each other at all. There was, as it turns out, lots of climbing, tons of potholes, and we did ride in a paceline, but our attitudes stayed upbeat. Any mockery aimed at each other was of the affectionate sort.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about giving up bike racing, haven’t I? Yeah, I have. But … it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, I recently applied for and got an upgrade to Category 3 (racers start in Category 4 for women and Category 5 for men, and work their way up the categories as they do well in races). This upgrade is both exciting and frightening — exciting because it’s an acknowledgment that I’ve done well as a racer, and frightening because my races will now be faster and longer. For example, next weekend’s race has the Women Cat 4 riders racing 24 miles, while all other women (Cat 1-3 and pro riders) race 48 miles. So not only will I be racing with Cat 3 riders, but also with 1s, 2s, and pros, and I’ll be racing twice as long. Let’s just say I’ll probably be hanging on to the pack for dear life.

I have no idea what will happen in the race, but I do know I’m riding farther and faster this year than I ever have before. So far this year I’ve ridden 2,165 miles, probably 500-600 more miles than usual, and in April alone I rode 640 miles. I didn’t plan on riding this much; it just sort of happened. And it’s fun.

As for reading, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and if I get my act together this week, I’d like to post on it. My mystery book group met yesterday and had a great discussion, as usual. Right now I’m eagerly awaiting hearing what our next book will be.

This past week I’ve been working my way through Jane Austen’s Emma. I got inspired to pick it up after watching the new BBC miniseries and enjoying it greatly. What happened is that while I liked the liveliness of the interaction between Emma and Mr. Knightley in the film, I wasn’t sure it was an accurate adaptation of the text, so I decided to reread the book and see (I’ve read the book multiple times — so many times I’ve lost count). It turns out the film is pretty accurate, and I’m beginning to think that my idea of Mr. Knightley has always been too serious and solemn. He is definitely fatherly in a way that seems a little odd in a romantic hero, but he’s also very sociable, witty, and amusing.

I’m not sure about the film’s portrayal of the flirtation between Emma and Frank Churchill, but I’ll withhold judgment until I get to that part in the book.

And that’s about it. You can see why I’m not blogging much, as it’s often a matter of deciding between reading and blogging, and I desperately need to read.


Filed under Books, Cycling

13 responses to “Updates

  1. Somehow lovely and 90-mile ride seem like incongruous terms to me. Did you at least get a cupcake at the end? 🙂 Even if you didn’t it sounds like good practice for your upcoming races–congrats on moving up a category–it’s funny how things work out when you aren’t really planning them. I really liked the Christie book–did you see the twist before it happened? I think she really peeved a lot of readers off when she did that. And Emma is one of Jane Austen’s novels I’ve yet to read, but glad to hear the adaptation is pretty close to the book as it is my favorite now.


  2. Me too. Reading is definitely beating blogging these days. (Almost done with American Wife, thanks to you and loving it. More on that in the letter I just sent you.)


  3. I reread Emma just before watching the BBC series, and like you, found the TV adaptation very close to the source. I’d written a review on each of the three episodes. I’ve enjoyed this production more than the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow.

    I share your sentiment about blogging and reading. It’s ironic that book bloggers are torn between the two. Just take your well-deserved break Dorothy, and write whenever you feel like. Blogging is supposed to be relaxing… like a leisurely bike ride.


  4. Congrats on moving up to category 3! How exciting. I bet you won’t be just barely hanging onto the pack for long especially with all the riding you’ve been doing this year.

    I always think of Mr. Knightley as being super serious too. He and lively don’t go together in my mind. I’m going to have to see the new BBC version and reread the book too eventually. Now I’m curious!


  5. zhiv

    Perfectly good update post, with an excellent note on rereading Emma. The cycling season sounds fantastic, kind of a big breakthrough. It’s great that you’ve sailed through the 500 extra miles without really even noticing it: you were ready to make the leap. And it’ll have you in fine shape for moving up to the next racing category. It’s amazing how time goes by and when you keep doing something and stick to it, developing a routine, you do find that there’s some real and satisfying progress at times. Hoping that you stick to the blogging, even down to occasional updates. But the good weather is here and it really sounds like you’re enjoying it.


  6. Congratulations on Cat 3! You’ll do fine…you can relax more with more experienced riders in the race.

    I know Hobs wasn’t kidding about your ride. I’m sure it was torture, in a fun sort of way. Why are cyclists so into suffering? 🙂

    Hope to see you soon!


  7. Now that I’m posting more and blog visiting more than I was in March as I was dealing with some health issues, I definitely notice my reading has declined! Sigh. I love blogging and reading blogs but how do we fit it all in. So, I understand where you are coming from.

    And, I admire anyone that still went on that ride despite the way it was announced 🙂
    Congrats on the upgrade!


  8. It’s something about blogging for four years, I think. I am certainly struggling with my motivation. Glad you enjoyed the Agatha Christie and the bike ride!


  9. verbivore

    Well it seems many bloggers are hitting a slump at the same time. I know I’m having one. I’m reading as much as ever, but not finding the motivation to blog. That’s a bit troubling, because I do love the literary conversation that comes out of blogging.

    Congratulations on the bike racing. I am impressed. I love walking, I love running, I love hiking, but put me on a bike and suddenly it all feels like work. 🙂


  10. Ha Hobgoblin is so funny, but no I would never go on that ride (know a few boys with similar senses of humour who would though).

    The slump tends to come on when you’re thinking about other things you want to be doing, usually something a bit more challenging, so don’t be discouraged from changing your blog to a relaxing place where bits and pieces just flow on 🙂 We will still be here when you drop by.


  11. hmm. I am on a blogging break and a writing break and finding myself terribly restless already…that said I really believe I need this time off to, firstly, begin writing in my head again and secondly to make a conscious decision about how I want to take my writing forward. One of the things I’ve realized is since it’s unlikely I’ll ever totally earn my living as a novelist, I can now tackle it however I want to, instead of how I “should.” Anyway, if you are anything like me, as soon as you take a break you’ll have all sorts of great blogging ideas 🙂


  12. I figure if I read your blog I won’t have to actually get out there an exercise myself since I’m aching and out of breath just reading about it! To be honest, I have no idea how other bloggers keep up with almost daily postings. I’m happy if I can get two in a week. And then there are those weeks when I can think of nothing at all worth saying. But I always enjoy Of Books and Bicycles.


  13. I have been a HORRID blogger lately.
    TOTALLY preoccupied with the buying of a car, and working severe amounts of overtime.
    You, even in your alleged horridness Dorothy, are still blogging. And, relevantly.
    Better than me, thou’rt.


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