Earlier this week, Jen’s Bumpy Ride came out! One of the big things I wanted to explore in this one was the idea of a gratitude journal. The girls tried yoga and meditation in the previous books in the series, and gratitude journalling seemed like a natural extension of their training journals. So, for Thanksgiving today, I wanted to share a snippet from Jen’s Bumpy Ride, where coach Phoebe explains to Jen how to use a gratitude journal to shift her attitude after a tough day on the bike:

I’m the first one out of the tent and I sneak over to the spigot to try to get a little more water to clean up so I feel fresh for the day’s ride. As I fill my bottle, I hear the zip of Phoebe and Lindsay’s tent open and Phoebe climbs out and waves at me. “Do you want me to warm that up for you?” she asks, pointing at the bottle.

Absolute joy floods over me for a moment. “That would be amazing!” I say, my mood suddenly looking way, way up.

As she pours it into the pan and lights the camp stove, she pats the ground next to her. “So, how are you really doing?” she asks.

“I’m feeling kind of grumpy this morning,” I admit.

She doesn’t look overly surprised.

“Not because of my fall yesterday,” I add.

She raises an eyebrow.

“Okay, maybe a little because of the fall yesterday,” I admit. “But I’m not sore from it, I just felt dumb about it. I’m the road racer here and I can’t stay upright on a hill?”

“Sure, and I know going easier than you’re used to is a tough adjustment to make,” she says. “But I promise it’ll pay off—you’ll be fitter than ever at the end of this trip.”

I’m not really great at waiting: I want results now. I say as much, and Phoebe just laughs a little.

“You’re already making progress,” she says. “But you’re not noticing the small stuff.”

“Like what?” I ask.

“How much easier is it to pick up your bike now than when we first started?” she asks. “And how good did stretching after a long ride feel last night?”

“It’s a little easier, and I guess pretty good,” I grumble.

“Anything else making you feel less grumpy?”

“Hot water,” I say instantly, and she laughs as she passes the steaming pot towards me, and I take it using my towel as a potholder. After I use the water to wash the last of the dirt off my face, things really aren’t so bad.

“Maybe you should start a gratitude journal,” Phoebe tells me.

“A what? I already journal,” I say.

“A gratitude journal is just something you can do alongside of your regular journal, where you write down a couple of things that you’re thankful for—big or small. Like having hot water to wash your face this morning. Or the fact that at least Ali doesn’t snore too loud, since you’re sharing a tent with her.”

I giggle at that. “What’s the point of doing a gratitude journal, though?” I ask.

“It makes you realize that even when you’re not in a great mood, there’s still lots of good in your life, and it helps shift you into being in a better mood,” Phoebe explains. “Give it a try, I know you already do a great job of writing your thoughts down—this might just help channel them into something that makes you feel happier.”

“I’ll try,” I say, though I’m not totally sure if I’ll stick with it. Still, Phoebe is usually right, so it’s worth a try. But before I can write anything down, Phoebe has given me several breakfast prep jobs to do, and the morning speeds up so I don’t have time to write at all.

Ali and Lindsay are up soon after we have oatmeal on the camp stove, and we all dig into breakfast quickly—a combination of being hungry and ready to get on the road, I guess. We also pack up pretty fast, and we’re pushed off and pedaling away from the campsite in good time.

For the first few miles, we have a fantastic time. My mood is much better after my chat with Phoebe, Lindsay is being really funny, Ali and I are having an awesome conversation about what we’re both learning in biology this year, and while we’re not going super fast, we’re keeping up a solid pace. Everything is feeling great, until we roll over a big crack in the road, and suddenly, my bike starts to wobble…

And take a sneak peak at Jen’s First Gratitude Journal:

Want to read more? Get Jen’s Bumpy Ride here (and here in Canada)

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