Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Always With Me

My Dearest Spyder,

It was three years ago that you transitioned across the Rainbow Bridge, but your loving and sweet spirit is, as always, here with me. I miss you and think of you often, and know that someday we will be together again on the Other Side.
 I trust you are resting peacefully, held tenderly in Love and Puppy Kisses.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Following My Heart

I was seriously considering racing the 6 Hours of Briar Chapel in a couple of weeks - and even had a teammate lined up - but after much thought, I've had a change of heart and believe at this point in my life I'd stand to benefit much more from taking an art workshop instead. This was confirmed by a conversation with my potential teammate today who, unbeknownst to me prior, is an artist! While she and I both love to mountain bike and enjoy endurance racing, neither one of us has been training at all nor really even riding much in general lately. Combining that with the fact that this race does not offer a female duo category, we'd have to compete against the men, so this would just end up being a largely recreational ride for us. With all that in mind, we both agreed that since we'd effectively be entering the race merely in order to casually ride the trail, we could do that anytime (with the added bonus of not having to pay an entry fee to basically ride for fun only).

She also mentioned to me that she had taken several art workshops in the past herself, and found they offered immeasurable rewards for anyone looking to hone their skills in drawing and painting. I realize I only began dabbling in art barely four months ago, so my artwork is obviously still very much at the total beginner amateur end of the scale. But true to my impatient nature, I've been feeling like I desperately need some guidance to help me progress. As such, I think the chance to get some hands-on instruction from professionals is something I really can't and shouldn't pass up. And as luck would have it, several art class and workshop opportunities with accomplished artists are coming available here locally in the coming weeks (some coinciding with the timing of the previously mentioned race), so it seems pretty clear to me where my heart is leading.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Return to Brunswick

The Brunswick Brawl Mountain Bike Race was today, and I once again entered the 3-Hour class. I didn't make the cutoff time for a fourth lap so had to settle for three laps again this year on the 9-mile course, just like the 2012 event. However, I did manage to cut a half-hour off my last year's time and still got a third podium spot (out of five entries with some incredible female riders) including cash payout! Also, the weather and trail were just perfect, so all in all I'd call it a very good day.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pushing Myself - Just a Little

The weather was lovely for mountain biking today and somehow I managed to scrape up just a tad of courage to try and see if I still remembered how to jump my bike. I'm surprised - and pleased! - to say I still do, at least a little.
Yes, that is air under the wheels of this old lady's bike!
I think the most pleasant surprise for me was the fact that I actually felt comfortable doing this little jump. And yes, I know the jump is teency-tiny, but I don't care. I did it, I had fun doing it, and I'm proud of my normally very hesitant self for trying it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Branching Out

I've been having so much fun drawing and painting with my ever-expanding collection of various art media -- watercolor, Gouache and acrylic paint; graphite and colored pencils; charcoal; and pastel pencils -- I figured why not give pastels a try as well, and decided to go ahead and pick up some small sets of those. After serendipitously finding a very encouraging website authored by Robert Sloan, and then another site he recommended by Karen Margulis,I'm looking forward to putting my new acquisitions to paper this weekend!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Soapbox Time

I think if I hear one more person refer to a mountain bike race - endurance or otherwise - as a "sufferfest", I may just snap and smack somebody across the head.

To those of you who think racing your mountain bike is "suffering", let me explain a few things to you. Having the opportunity to spend a few hours (or a day or two) just riding your bike is not suffering. That is a privilege. It's something you chose (and most likely paid) to do. The simple fact that you are fortunate enough to have the time, money and physical ability to do it is something you should be grateful for, not disparage.

There are plenty of people in this world who truly are suffering (many of whom could only dream of having the chance or ability to spend a whole day, or even an hour, riding a bicycle) and you call something fun like a bike race suffering?

Worse, if you're calling these events "sufferfests" just so you'll seem all badass for doing them, well in my humble opinion, that's a pitifully sad testament to your self-image and I hope in time you'll learn that you're perfect just as you are, and there is no need to thump your chest in false bravado as a feeble attempt to try to impress the rest of us.

Maybe I'm just getting old and senile, but as the years go by, I realize how fortunate I am to still be able to ride and even race a little, and it hurts my heart to think about how much time I wasted in my youth not being grateful for what I had. So I would hope that you'd appreciate the treasure before you when you head out to the trail to ride or race your bike and be thankful for the wondrous gift you've been given and to realize what a remarkable individual you are simply by being you.