More of one, much less of the other

The less part writes faster, so I’ll dispose of riding in a fell swoop:  I managed to get out for an hour last Sunday and felt encouraged, then I rode easily in the gym on Monday and Tuesday for 50 and 75 minutes, respectively and felt OK, happy that I was turning my legs.  I was all optimistic about launching a consecutive day riding streak, but work got in the way and the streak ended at just three.  Will try to launch another this weekend; we are having a glorious winter for cycling and my health hasn’t allowed me to take advantage of it.

I finished both Catherine and Rough Ride.  I loved Catherine the book and mostly liked her as a person, though I absolutely hated what she had done to Poland.  Rough Ride was almost disappointing in the tameness with which it describes doping in cycling.  I suppose we are so jaded by recent revelations of drug-taking in the sport.

In contemplation of a summer trip to France, I picked up Stanley Karnow’s Paris in the Fifties.  I haven’t started reading it and wonder what it will do to my fanciful romanticized impression of France 60 years ago.

Reading and Riding

Two favorite activities, one always enjoyed privately, the other almost always with friends.  I’ll post thoughts about the books I read and bike rides I take.


I’ve been off the bike for 12 days.  I didn’t ride for a week before Christmas and on Christmas morning I wore with my throat on fire and a fever.  I canceled that morning’s ride.  I spent most of the ensuing week in bed, yo-yo-ing between sweats and fever.  About four days into my flu, I took the dog out for a 15-minute walk.  When I returned I only had the energy to crawl back into bed.  I am improving ever so slowly.  Chills and fever are gone and I’ve graduated to hacking up brown and green loveliness.  I’d say I’m at about 80% and am somewhat hesitant to venture out on a bike.  Perhaps in a day or two…


All this should have left me with plenty of reading time — and it did, only I read wrong things, mainly my phone.  During breaks between checking FB, game scores, and eBay auctions on my phone I managed to find slivers of time for reading Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie and Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride.  Catherine is terrifically informative.  I would have even liked more depth and context but to Massie’s credit, you can fit only so much detail in 600 pages.  The book provides a different and much more rounded portrait of a monarch of a country where I grew up written from a perspective opposite to the Soviet view of the second half of the XVIII century Russia.  


Meanwhile, reading Rough Ride is almost cheating — it’s cycling autobiography about doping in the professional peloton in the early 1980s, although I haven’t gotten to the doping part yet.  I’d read it ten or more years ago, then one day in December I found myself without a book, so I bought it on iBooks and am re-reading it on my phone.  I suppose not all the phone reading is wrong.