biking Writing

Publication Number Two!

Down in the Dirt Magazine liked my piece “Nothing Bad Happens” well enough publish it in their May 2020 issue:

Thanks to them, and thanks to all of you for your kindness as I slowly build my writing skills, which I couldn’t do without the blog’s self-imposed, twice monthly deadlines (loosely enforced as they are). More important, the rewarding jolt of attention from you, dear reader, makes my inner four-year-old very happy.

My adult self, meanwhile, has been drawing inspiration from my biking life. Several years ago, I stood in a friend’s driveway as he chatted with his neighbor about the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, a grueling hundred-mile, high altitude suffer fest. Registered for the race, he told us With two little kids and a job, I have no time to really train. But I’m not worried. I have a deep base. He’d raced in Leadville before, and spent years grinding out impressive mileage. I heard from my friend that his neighbor finished the Leadville 100 in only nine hours. For weeks we riffed about the deep base. I could ride that again, no problem. I’ve got a deep base. Writing muscles, like leg muscles, must be worked, then worked again, each repetition contributing to that under-girding structure.

The more I write, the more I realize that my writing base has only begun to be built. I wish it weren’t so. I wish the habit of writing was as ingrained as the pressure of my feet on bike pedals and the instinctive turn of my eye to the top of the rise. It took me years to learn the simple truth that the trick to riding all the way up a steep hill is to not get off the bike. The secret to writing, in the inimitable words of Annie Lamott, is to simply stop not writing. Get and keep your butt in chair. But I’ve been mountain biking—with a few lulls—for over twenty years. And I’ve been writing for only a few.

Well before the pandemic reared its ugly head, I struggled to keep consistent writing hours. And I agonize over finishing pieces.  Self-criticism screams at me to stop, but I am learning to roll my eyes at myself and just keep going. I only learned to stay on my bike on those climbs after I realized how hard it is to get back on it, to re-gain purchase on a gravelly incline is more work than slogging slowly along. I made a commitment to write because the satisfaction of making something beautiful has no equal.

I’ll have my deep base as a writer, eventually. The only way to fail at this is to stop and not start again. I may not be the most ambitious or self-disciplined person in the world, but I don’t know anyone more stubborn. My impatience and dis-tractability mask a mean resolve. I’ll keep pedaling. I’ll blog imperfectly, submit relentlessly, and take class after class. Every hour in the chair will be another mite of progress building that elusive base.

Downhill is differently wonderful. Last summer, near Keystone.

By Jenny-Lynn

Jenny-Lynn is a former psychotherapist living in Denver and in South Park, Colorado. Her essays have appeared in The Colorado Sun, Pithead Chapel, and Dreamer's Creative Writing. She blogs at and can be found on Instagram @writeriderepeat.

16 replies on “Publication Number Two!”

YaHOO, Jenny Lynn!! So so wonderful to hear about your second publish.
And I loved that piece on first reading and love it even more on second.

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What Ruth said! About Nothing Bad Happening. And the secret is not getting off the bike. Yep. Roll your eyes at yourself and keep on riding. Wonderful photo with this one too.

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Harry, I appreciate you seeing those in me, especially when I see my slow pace and missed writing days. But, when writing is fun, I can’t stop, unlike biking, when my mileage is limited.


Congrats on getting published again! Looking forward to reading your piece this afternoon when I recline in the Chicgo sun for a bit.

I am not a biker- recently started stationary bike after knee injury and I love killing 2 birds with one stone: reading while working out. Deeply commited to daily intensive workouts, while writing is my passion and I still need to force myself to carve out the time. Still clueless about submitting, perhaps hesitant because of the promise of rejection.

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Thanks for your comment, Ernie, and congratulations to you on Chicago sunshine. I had about 35 rejections in almost two years, which tells me the more I submit, the more I’ll get published, as, I bet, will you! (The Submittable website is very helpful.)
Happy reading. Stay well.


When you write, Jenny-Lynn, you take us with you on the bike. We see your mountain vistas, feel the gulf breezes, and transport to the rooms filled with your memories. You do all the pedaling; we are blessed to enjoy the ride. Your base is very deep to carry us all so.

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