GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


Obligatory Year-End Post 2021 Edition

The last week of the year always makes me think about what I’ve accomplished & what my goals will be for next year.

I’ve accomplished a lot that I never imagined possible in the last year. It mainly revolves around cycling, and I want to continue riding into 2022 but maybe push myself less to reach specific goals. I think a 30-mile ride is a nice sustainable practice, and maybe when it’s summer and outside riding weather again, I’ll want to try for 40 or 50. Or maybe not. That’s where I’m thinking of dialing it back. I spent a lot of this last summer working up to 30 for the Cycle 66 event. I didn’t focus on much else and didn’t spend as much time drawing and painting as I would have liked.

So this year I will focus more on creativity and I want to spend more time learning Spanish. I’m brainstorming ideas for my Word of the Year (and will share that on my podcast). I think it will help me determine what is really important as I navigate all the things I want to do.

This week, the time between Christmas and New Years, feels magical in that it’s sort of a void. The portal between celebrating a winter holiday, and the new year. It’s either quiet at work, or crazy busy. I’m practicing being in the moment, acknowledging the turn of another year but I also want to acknowledge the small turns that occur. Seasonal, lunar changes.

There’s been a lot going through my mind and I don’t feel like it’s all sorted out. Like a snowglobe that has been shaken, everything is floating and flitting around. I think having things sorted out may be overrated.

I look forward to sharing more of my rambling trains of thought in 2022.


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Reflections on cycling

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to really push myself on a 30-mile gravel ride that I ultimately opted out of. I rode a 20-mile gravel ride with friends previously, and that was pushing past my comfort zone (I’ll more about that on my podcast). 30 miles while probably doable, was more than I wanted to push right now.

I started thinking about the WHY of my cycling. I started 2 years ago for health reasons. My mom had passed away, I had turned 50, I didn’t want to turn into a “little old lady, piddling around the house”. That may still be my motivation for getting out the door, or starting a Zwift session but what do I get out of spinning it out?

Quiet time to myself, knowing that I can travel 30 miles easily under my own power. If it comes to where I don’t have a car, or can’t afford gasoline, I have reliable transportation. Noticing trees, butterflies, flowers, a slower way to travel, on paths that a car isn’t allowed.

Do I want to race? No. Do I want to ride gravel all the time, or roads all the time? No. I enjoy being able to ride in various areas. I’m not strictly a roadie or a graveler. I have zero interest in mountain bikes, bunny hops, or flipping over my handlebars after hitting a root.

I want to ride for fun, to see what my body can accomplish. Sometimes I want to ride alone, sometimes with my cycling friends. I don’t really know about riding events. I did two this past year. One I didn’t know anyone, and it was enjoyable. The 2nd was a larger event, but my cycling group was riding, so we ended up mostly together so it didn’t feel like a large event once we started rolling. I enjoy having a supported ride with traffic being stopped for us. I don’t want to ride with a large group I don’t know. Everyone I’ve met has been welcoming though, but I have my core group that I know will support and encourage me

I’ve accomplished a lot in the last 8 months in terms of my cycling goals. I went from a normal ride being 8-9 miles to it being 18-20 miles. I’ve become consistent, riding in groups when the weather permits, getting out on my own or with a friend on the weekend, or on my trainer now that the time has changed and it’s dark when I get home. I have 2 bikes (Frida, the road bike and Kismet, the gravel bike) and although I know the N+1 rule, there’s not a ‘next bike’ in mind. I’ve gone from flat pedals to clipless on my road bike. Although I don’t always embrace the term, I finally feel like a cyclist.

Looking towards 2022, I would like to learn basic maintenance & repair for my bikes. Maybe my next bike will be an upcycled scrapper I put together myself, just to learn to build one. I’ve done a few 30-mile rides so my next goal will be 50 miles (road miles – my gravel goal will be becoming comfortable with 20 miles and hills).

Mostly, I just want to keep riding.