Archive | November, 2010

Back on Track-ish

29 Nov

I’m done with the novel! Whew. What a grind. Satisfying, revealing, grind. Every day (for November, for NaNoWriMo) you have to do about 1700 words; I kept up with this count nearly every day of the month, with occasional spurts to get ahead of the curve so I could coast through rough work days.

In that sense, it was a lot like some of the longer bike rides I’ve been on. Except 28 days long. You reach what you think is your limit, then you reach down a little further and put the one foot (or word) ahead of the other, one day surprising even myself with around 6000 words in fact.

Ironically, while the novel is mostly about bicycle racing, with some long descriptions of such, I felt oddly out of touch, said descriptions felt quite ‘wooden’ and/or ‘rusty’ since I hardly rode at all in November. In fact I don’t think I’ve commuted to work in nearly three weeks. Partly due to crazy weather, but mostly due to the hectic press of events and my daily obsession with keeping up with NaNoWriMo. As a result, cerebrally I feel as fit as I ever have. It’s amazing what a confidence boost it is to know that, no matter what, you can march out a certain amount of words as needed. To come up with two main intersecting themes, supporting plots, supporting characters… often on the fly in sweet inspiration… well, it’s cool. I realize this literary bragging is analogous to the bicycle bragging I often put forth here, so hope that’s okay.

The down side is, I’m flabby, pasty, easily winded, and in short completely out of shape. I went to the gym twice this last weekend and it was like I was having to start all over. I cringe to think how it’ll be getting back on a bike. The way I look at it, however, is thus: I’ve had my ‘winter layoff’… this was it. The month of November was my winter pause. Now I’m going to get back on the saddle and aim like a (poisoned) arrow at my 2011 biking goals. I know it’s not January yet, but here they are:

  1. Winter Training Series with the Randonneurs
  2. Beating that damn bridge for the Beat the Bridge 8k run
  3. Ride nearly every day for the May commuter challenge
  4. Rapsody in August – one day run with SurlyLady and hopefully some pals
  5. High Pass Challenge – gold medal buster!
  6. At some point, in some cycling fashion, go for an epic bike trip – say Seattle > Darrington > Highway 20 > Mazama > Wenatchee > Highway 2 Stevens > Seattle; or around the Olympic Pensinsula; or from Banff Canada to Montana, along one of those Adventure trails.
  7. And, of course, as much mountain biking and random road biking as can be fit in.

I’m also going to work for world peace yadda yadda, and put out an album or two of music. Oh, and edit this horrible mess of a novel I just created.

So look for me on the Burke, ‘cuz I’m back in bidness.

NaNoWriMo NoBlogMu

6 Nov

Social media friends! Apologies in arrears and advance. I’m taken up with keepin’ up with the 1667 words per day as prescribed by the NaNoWriMo madness.

As such I haven’t been able to update this here blog much. SurlyLady, in putting up with my “I have to go write on the nice computer” ‘plaint has also given up the ghostwriting.

Interestingly, I have found a way to write a novel about biking, so in a sense (and if only in my own mind, and offline from what you can see certainly) there is a continuity. BTW, a continuity editor is what I really need during NaNoWriMo, as so far my writing (I’m about 1000 words above schedule) is about 95% dialogue and about 5% exposition and somewhat rough around the edges.

And, just as you may find while you’re on the hunt for elk you suddenly see all kinds of deer, so too all the bicycle-based story ideas abounding in my life. For instance, seeing the four older bicycle guys meeting in the restaurant, clearly a post-ride beer lunch, each guy in his 50s, thin legs, slight paunches, thin tops, thinning hair, driving SUVs on top of which were pinned Rivendells, Bianchis and Treks. Yes, I felt some affinity, and envy. They had that cold ride glow about them, that certain smugness of imbibing after jersey & bibbing, the justified thirst-slaking mood you get after a long ride. (Whereas I’ve been taking it easy this week and feeling pasty and fatsy as a result).

The bike relations continued with a Craigslist adventure to a chap selling a bunch of Speedplay Frog pedals; I picked up three pairs for dirt cheap. Asked him why he had so many pairs, and it turned out a friend had given him a bunch of cycling equipment, including tandem bikes, as her husband had passed away many years ago and “she just wanted to get rid of it, have it go to a good home”…

I’ll admit, on paper it sounds sketchy, but the fellow didn’t have any kind of thievin’ vibe about him. What sort of reinforced the pedal pedigree was that he was also selling two pairs of Sidi shoes, one MTB Dominator and one road style. Two pairs of shoes, four pairs of pedals, two tandems… it sort of added up; otherwise the guy’s haul had been a spectacularly comprehensive crime. He mentioned the Sidi shoes and had me try them on. They’re an older model, when they were still made in Italy, and looked about 80% new. They were several sizes too big, but for some reason they fit pretty okay, if cinched all the way down. I couldn’t pass them up. It was a bit odd to think I was literally putting myself in a passed-away person’s shoes… but in that sort of awkward on-the-spur Craigslist haggling I couldn’t help thinking about this fellow, with his love of Sidi’s and Speedplays, and how actually I was kind of honored to carry things forward a bit.

And then on the drive home from buying the pedals and my new favorite shoes, it hit me: the perfect plot foil for my new book. I dutifully incorporated it into the book a few nights ago, the beginning seeds of it at least, and I’ll be damned if it may not prove to be the biggest ‘gotcha’ plot point of the whole shebang. All due to coincidence, accident and an odd moment of reverence.

So, maybe not so many bike posts in the next few weeks. But, perhaps, a nice bike-related novel out of the deal.