GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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.

Travel Excitement

I have a few drafts of travel adventures when I was young but work has gotten crazy busy.   I  may post them in future or scrap them all together.  Even if I’m not writing, I have been thinking that the enjoyment I’ve had in travelling outweighs the few problems and snags that have occurred.

I am excited now about my upcoming work trip.  I’m in single digits countdown and while it would be unrealistic to think I won’t have a few short moments of  sudden panic, I am genuinely excited.

I contacted a geocacher in the area and have made plans one evening after training to pick up some easier caches.  No bushwhacking, tree climbing or playing tunnel rat (like I’d ever go into a tunnel anyway!).   Just some simple skirts and I’ve solved a few puzzles to sign as well.

Then today scrolling through IG, I realized an art friend lives in the area.  She’s always hiking and posting photos so it should have clicked sooner.   I messaged her and yep, her AND another art friend lives there.  I’ve known them through social media for years so we’re planning on meeting another evening.

I’m kind of bummed I’m going to have to spend the day doing work stuff before I can hang out with friends.


Merry Go Round

I was leery of publishing my post from yesterday, but I’m glad I did.  Once I hit publish and closed my computer, I didn’t think much about the situation.  I watched TV as the puppies played until it was time to get ready for an Urban Sketching workshop.

For every down in life, there’s an up.  The workshop was great fun, and I was able to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in 6 months, or more.  There were some new faces and I hope they begin to attend our Urban Sketching meetup.   We’re a small group right now but we’re also less than a year old.

After sketching at the workshop, I sketched some more at home in the evening, finished up a Buddha painting I plan on hanging in my meditation/yoga room.  I’ll post photos of it to Instagram this evening when it’s hanging.

I try to stay positive, and present a sparkly rainbow bunny to others, but I think squashing down those instances of frustration and anger cause them to brew and bubble.   Festering like an infection that you ignore until amputation is required.   I don’t intend to become a chronic complainer but speaking my truth in all aspects of emotions.  Events yesterday were good, and I enjoyed myself.  Honestly, events on  Saturday were good with the exception of a few interactions.

My intention for this week is to speak my truth, and work on being heard when in a group.   If I feel I need to be heard.   It is more fun to observe and note how others interact.


Obligatory End of the Year Post 2017

If I’m not consistent with my blog posts, I am consistent about doing a year-end post.  Unfortunately, those were all on my previous blog and now lost.  Probably for the best.

I noticed on my Facebook Memories for Dec 31st, there’s a common theme of “this year sucked, I’m ready to get it over with”.   I could say this year is no different, but instead of focusing on the bad things that happened, and there have been a LOT of challenges this year, I want to focus on the things that were good about 2017.

  • I started with a new company in January 2017, finally getting out of the unstable oil & gas industry.
  • With the various deaths in my family, my cousins & I got together for a dinner for the first time ever.  I would like to this to become a regular thing.
  • I’ve also become more at peace with death and dying, and how people grieve in their own ways.
  • I started sketching in public and now our little group is an offical Urban Sketchers chapter.
  • I started geocaching again, and recently hit my 230th find.
  • We got our 2nd corgi, Vision.  It’s been fun to watch him & Jarvis play and wrestle.
  • My daughter self published a book.
  • My oldest son returned to school for automotive maintenance.
  • My youngest son enlisted in the Marines.
  • I finished 21 books.
  • I finished 2 sketchbooks.
  • We have a roof, food and water, and clothing.
  • I’m reasonably healthy.

I’m sure next year’s Obligatory End of the Year post will have a longer list.  I’m going to work on focusing on the good that happens daily, and keep a daily Gratitude Journal.

I was thinking of what my focus word will be for 2018, and I did one of those quizzes that analyzes your Facebook page, and the word given to me was Family.  That is fitting for 2018 so I’ll stick with it.

So farewell 2017.  I’ve learned a lot from you and look forward to 2018.

Happy New Years Y’all.