Happy New Year!

I started off the new year in what I think is an appropriate way: a little bit of laziness (sleeping until 9:00 or so and reading in bed until 10:00ish), a little more reading (an hour or so in the late morning), and a nice long bike ride (three hours with Hobgoblin down to the beach and back). After I write this post, it’s time for more reading. If only things could continue in that leisurely fashion! Or, rather, it would be leisure mixed with the kind of exertion I like: thinking hard about books and then pedaling hard on my bike.

As for what I’m reading, it’s Nicholson Baker’s novel The Anthologist for the second time, because one time with that book wasn’t enough. I read through it fairly fast on the first reading, and now I’m taking my time to savor the ideas and the language. More on that book soon. I’m also reading a friend’s mystery novel draft, which has been enjoyable. It’s set locally, which is always fun, and it has a good plot and interesting characters. I like having such talented friends.

As for cycling, today’s ride was perfect. Well, it was perfect if you set aside the cold (temps in the 30s) and the damp (puddles and slush, but no ice!) and the fact that I got covered in mud. But I felt strong and managed to stay warm, and halfway through the ride, Hobgoblin and I stopped at a cupcake shop for some dessert and coffee. Yum. My final mileage for 2009 is 5,097 miles total and 5,042 miles outdoors (I rode 55 miles on the trainer last winter).

And now for some thoughts on the coming year. I’m keeping things very simple in both my reading and my riding. I was planning on ignoring all reading challenges, and I ignored a lot of them, but I found two I couldn’t resist. One of them is Emily’s TBR challenge, the books for which are listed in my sidebar. And then I saw Kate’s short story challenge and decided it would be perfect for me as I’d like to read more stories this year. I’m going to try to read five collections, although I haven’t chosen the authors yet. I’m thinking one will be Lorrie Moore, and the others I will choose as inspiration strikes.

Otherwise, I plan to read book group books, books for school, and then whatever else I feel like.

As for cycling, my main goal for this year is to not be so numbers-obsessed. I’m glad I reached my 5,000-mile goal in 2009, but I don’t want any more mileage goals, and instead I’d prefer to focus on the kind of riding that will make me stronger for racing and that will keep me in shape for riding with my cycling friends. The number of miles I ride has little to do with these things, and in fact, I could benefit from riding fewer miles and concentrating instead on mixing low- and high-intensity workouts in a better proportion.

There is a limit to my ability to forget about the numbers though. When I told my friend Megan that I wanted to stop worrying about how many miles I was riding, she sensibly asked me why I don’t just stop keeping track. The idea was so shocking I hardly knew what to say. I can’t imagine not knowing. So I will keep logging my rides, but I’m planning on riding fewer than 5,000 miles, so there’s no point in worrying too much about how fast the total mileage is increasing.

I suppose I should have some racing goals too, but I don’t. Or perhaps I should make my goal something abstract like getting as much enjoyment out of racing as I can while not worrying about the results. As I’ve written here many times before, I feel ambivalently about racing, but I’m not quite ready to give it up, as it has nice benefits like making me strong so that my cycling friends don’t leave me behind, and also making me part of the racing community and allowing me to support women’s racing, which needs it. So I’ll race and get stronger and see what happens.

I think that’s it. I guess I’m not one for complicated and detailed resolutions.

I hope your year has started off well!

14 Comments

Filed under Books, Cycling, Reading

14 responses to “Happy New Year!

  1. bardiac

    Happy New Year! Sounds like a perfect day!

  2. Sounds like you started 2010 off right especially the reading in bed and the cupcake parts :) Your goals are very sensible and I hope allow you to have an enjoyable and stress-free reading and riding (and writing) year. Happy New Year!

  3. Happy New Year! It’s -10C here (about 10 F). But yesterday was a balmy 0C (32F) so I shouldn’t complain. I wrestle with keeping track of numbers too (pages written, read, etc) though not with biking. I better not think about it too long though or I’ll start counting blocks walked or steps or some such thing!

  4. Loved The Anthologist, and will probably re-read it too! Happy reading in 2010 :)

  5. Sounds like the perfect beginning to the year – and I think a reread of The Anthologist is a great idea.

  6. That sounds like a most idyllic day!

    I read The Anthologist quickly over once, and you’re right, I need to give it a slow read again. But I’ve already returned it to the library. I’ve decided to do some ‘non-obligated’ reading this year, no numbers, no challenges, so to really reap the joy of reading. Hope that won’t lead to procrastination!

  7. I think the year I read a short story a week was thanks in part to Kate’s short story reading challenge. I’m passing this year (am also trying to stay away from challenges for the most part) as I have plenty of my own plans, but I hope lots of people participate. I really do like short stories. I think a three hour ride deserves a cupcake. It sounds to me like your goals are very achievable and you sound pretty laid back about them. Happy New Year!

  8. Happy New Year! I am impressed at your riding in these cold temperatures! You definitely deserved a cupcake (and some hot coffee!)

    I still need to post my New Year’s goals and projects, but I’m going to make things less specific as well. I’m not going to join any reading challenges or knitalongs as I feel enough pressure without having my hobbies be stressful!!

  9. So glad I saw your post about the TBR challenge last year (how odd it still feels to say that) I may actually finish it.

    Congratulations on your riding total, wow, it’s always nice to track how much of a thing you’re doing as long as you don’t let that push you away from your real goals (quality etc) there’s no harm in it.

  10. zhiv

    HNY, D. Just getting back and I read this and the last few posts yesterday and wanted to comment, but now I’m sketchy on where and what. The thing I wonder about here, I think, to go along with your reasonable goals for the year, is the focus on cycling. Nice work on the 5000, which I trust is a great number, but am I wrong or did you not make a big leap forward on the yoga, pilates and swimming front? Can’t go to the training blog to research it in case I have it wrong. I made great progress on those three categories (yps) myself this year, but never managed to get the bike going.

    And I’m curious about your “big book” for this year. Infinite Jest was a strong play last year. Running over the TBR list, I guess Gravity’s Rainbow would work, but you won’t see me trying that one. I wonder what some of the other candidates might be. Unless I’m mistaken, you have Proust, Boswell, Don Quixote and now Infinite Jest on your list. I assume you’ve read Clarissa, although it was hard to find an unabridged version back in my day. Grandison? Unlikely. Decline and Fall? Dance to the Music of Time? I would recommend The Man Without Qualities in front of Gravity’s Rainbow.

  11. Thank you Bardiac! It was a great note to start things out on.

    Stefanie — thank you! Your comment makes me want to have a cupcake in bed and forget about the cycling part :) I shouldn’t do without the exercise, though. I hope you have a wonderful year as well!

    Lilian — it IS so easy to get obsessed with numbers, and I’m just obsessive enough to be in danger of it. I don’t want to start counting steps walked or anything like that — although it’s possible to do so!

    Gentle Reader — I’m glad you loved The Anthologist too and agree that it’s worth a rereading. Happy 2010!

    Melanie — another Anthologist fan and possible rereader! Reading that book made me want to pick up some of his other books again, particularly The Mezzanine.

    Arti — your non-planning plan sounds great and I hope you end up enjoying it. And if you got The Anthologist from the library once, you can always get it again :)

    Danielle — I admired how consistent you were with your short story reading. I plan on reading collections rather than individual stories, but I do like the idea of devoting one day to posting on a story. It sounds like quite a few people are signed up for Kate’s challenge already, which is good.

    Debby — the thought of hot chocolate or hot coffee makes it easier to head out into the cold — I really enjoy myself when I return! Your plan of not making many specific goals for the year makes sense. If the plans become a sort of unwanted pressure, it’s time to give them up, I think. They generally become a source of pressure for me too, so I know what that feels like.

    Jodie — I’m glad you are participating in the TBR challenge, and thanks about the riding. It’s fun to watch the miles accumulate throughout the year. I do have a tendency to take the numbers a bit too seriously, though, so I’m going to work on that.

    Zhiv — I did make a great leap forward with yoga and pilates. I’m not swimming anymore because I don’t enjoy it enough to make it worthwhile if I’m not doing the triathlon thing (which I’m not because of running injuries). But over the last six months or so, I’ve gotten in a pattern of doing a pilates class once a week and yoga classes three or so times a week, with possibly another session on my own at home. I’m not noticing myself getting substantially more flexible because the riding I do counteracts it, but I am getting more core and upper body strength, which has felt great, and I’m sure balance and overall tone is getting better.

    As for a “big book,” Gravity’s Rainbow is looking like it, largely because Hobgoblin wants to read it too so we can read it together. Also Lessing’s The Golden Notebook is another possibility. I have read the first four you mention, and also Clarissa, although not Grandison. I might try that one if I could find a cheap copy I was sure wasn’t abridged. I don’t know about Decline and Fall — it doesn’t appeal much. Dance to the Music of Time and The Man Without Qualities are possibilities. But this year I think I’ll stick to Pynchon and possibly Lessing, unless some intriguing group read comes up.

  12. Happy New Year! I’m trying not to go overboard on challenges this year but when I saw Kate’s challenge I just knew I’d have to join in. I haven’t posted about it yet but will get to it soon.

    Hope you read lots of great books this year.

  13. Happy New Year! That sounds like a perfect day, and I really hope the Nicholson Baker book turns up in the UK soon. It sounds like you have 2010 all sewn up – I do like the idea of simplicity!

  14. Iliana — thank you! I’m glad you’re doing Kate’s challenge; I need a little extra motivation when it comes to stories, so I’m glad the challenge will provide it.

    Litlove — I hope the Baker book becomes available in the UK too — and I hope you enjoy it when you do get a chance to read it!

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