Week Three - Hiding From Old Man Winter - CycleBlaze

February 6, 2022

Week Three

What started out as a passing remark became the focus of my week. I dedicated the week to riding The Loop each day. I mixed it up, but rode four times clockwise, and three times counter clockwise. 

The weather here is finally warming up to my expectations. I got out of the door earlier and earlier each day to beat the heat. I received no sympathy at all from Jacinto! Hot is currently defined as high 70's/low 80's. The past two mornings, I've been out the door by 7:30 AM. Temperatures were 42-43 degrees. My fingertips were a little cold, and a wore a vest. It came off by the first or second rest stop.

I've gotten a little flack for riding the same ride seven consecutive days. Except, it isn't, really - with going the opposite direction. I found people and places to see each day that were new. I also saw familiar things/people that I could say, "Yep, there's the guy on the scooter today." Or, "I wonder where the dog is that always barks at me here?". 

Stop and think - at home, how many times a week do you ride your favorite ride? Personally, I ride up Rifle Gap probably 2-3 times a week. It's a quick exit out of town from our house, nice climbing, even better vistas, what's not to like? 

Yesterday I was thinking I should go for ten loops, but I have social commitments - lunch with Tom tomorrow, group rides Monday, and Tuesday. Look at me being the social butterfly! That doesn't happen at home!

I've seen coyotes probably 5 days out of 7 this week. I'd love to see another bobcat . . .  I did see a family of javelinas, eating fruit someone had put out for them. That's the first time in five years I've seen a javelina. The earlier I ride, the more birds I hear sing. There are numerous birds of prey here, with speckled cream and reddish brown chests. Some of them pay me no mind at all, and I get quite close.

I've seen many very tiny birds, hummingbird size, except these are perched in upper tree branches. They are dark blue, or perhaps black. What type of bird are they? 

Most days this year, I see hand trikes. That is new. I see far fewer dog set ups. There are a few bicycles pulling dogs in carts, and a few dogs in baskets. It seems in previous years I saw a couple of cute dogs getting a ride every day. This year I see happy dogs walking.

Perhaps I have gotten just a tiny bit tired of people watching. I consider it an advantage to starting early that I don't pass as many people walking. Usually I greet people from an appropriate distance with a loud, cheery, "Good morning!", then I pass then. I greeted a roller blading woman, who then snarled at me I was supposed to say, "Passing, not, good morning.". I was corrected. Now I add a bell, and also add the word 'passing' to my greeting. It gets a little tedious, but I like it when people greet me, as opposed to passing silently. 

Today (Saturday) I expected to be slowed down at the St Phillips Plaza area with walkers. There were only a couple. I think it was too hot. I know, such suffering, in February!

Thursday I saw several groups of cyclists 10-12 in a bunch. One group of 6 tandems. A large group (30?) of young men on mountain bikes out by the Roy Schoonover Trailhead. It seemed an odd day for  groups and odd to see that many.  

Early Friday while the weather was brisk, I saw a man walking towards me in what I would describe as a black cassock. He had a large black hat, almost a top hat, but without the brim. He also had a cross hanging over the top of his practical down vest. 

Today I had two women pass me at a brisk pace near Roy Schoonover. A couple of miles down the road, I saw a young boy (seven years?) riding his scooter this way, that way on the path. The next time I glanced forward, one of the woman, and the little boy were down on the ground! I stopped to see if I could help, but, no. The woman seemed basically ok except she was holding her elbow. That reminded me of Jacinto and the cat named Chevy. The woman was saying she shouldn't have swerved, but should have stayed the course. Kids are unpredictable. Even if they had announced their passing, probably he would have turned around to look, and they would have crashed anyway. 15 miles down the road, they passed me again, and didn't announce their passing. Hey - I'm all up on my trail etiquette, having been schooled by the roller blader! Even though I have mirrors, sometimes I don't notice people coming up behind me. Maybe that's where the Garmin radar tail light would come in handy. It is nice to know that the woman was able to finish her ride. Jacinto wasn't in riding condition after his crash with Chevy.

Let's see - what else was of note this week? I don't suppose you want to hear about the homeless guy with his pants around his ankles? I didn't think so . . . 

Ah, my new to me bicycle. That didn't work out. I took two test rides. I told myself, if I change this, this, and this, then maybe I would like it. Maybe. Should a bicycle be love at first ride? Maybe just being friends is acceptable? Changing all of those things would have cost money, just on the chance of the bike working. AD had already offered to buy the bike. Sold! He went ahead and changed the bars for tweener bars (for those of you who ride recumbents). That necessitated longer cables also. AD agreed that his butt also went to sleep on the hard RANS seat foam. AD changed the seat pad out for a thinner one, that, ironically, was less butt numbing. He rode the entire loop with it yesterday and pronounced it a fine bike. I was welcome to try it and buy it back. No . . .  I think I'll stay with the bike I love for now. There's no need to talk myself into liking this bike.

I pass by a pecan grove on the Santa Cruz Wash. It has many signs to not enter as there are holes in the ground. I saw several hispanic families searching through the grass for pecans. The many small children were running around. They didn't appear worried about holes. Later in the week I saw a cyclist throwing his helmet up into a tree, trying to knock down pecans. That didn't seem like an appropriate use for his helmet. Plus, even if he did knock down pecans, he would still have to search in the grass for them. I didn't dare take his photo for fear he would throw his helmet at me. Later, I took a pecan tree photo.

Hmmm . . . .  what else can I report. Not a single day has been boring. I've stopped a couple of times for tacos or Sonoran hot dogs. AD likes to stop at the Panda Express down by the VA Center. 

My best time riding the loop was four hours, fifty eight minutes. My worst time was five hours, forty one minutes. That day was windy. I had to fight my way home.  Riding 57 miles a day has really upped my mileage. I'm 141 miles above my goal at this moment. I do believe I'm tour ready, with no tour to go on!

I have two weeks left in my stay. I have been enjoying myself thoroughly. Having the recumbent club to ride with has brought a social aspect to my trip that I didn't have last year. I don't consider myself a club type rider, but these are my peeps!

Douglas pointed out all of the ceramic birds on this wall. I had been past here many times and not noticed them.
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marilyn swettHey - I remember seeing those!
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9 months ago
John RileyThe fellow with the black hat might have been an Orthodox priest. Greek or Russian.
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9 months ago
The Barcroft Dakota. I took it on two rides, totaling 25 miles. It was not meant to be!
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Kelly IniguezTo jerry witherspoonYea, no. Too aggressive for me. I’m a staid matron. No zippy bikes that will dump me!
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9 months ago
Mo and Steve have identical ICE trikes. They had not met before today.
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Our Tuesday morning group.
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You get the added bonus cyclist, Douglas, in my favorite photo spot.
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A mutant barrel cactus.
Heart 0 Comment 3
Bill ShaneyfeltI've never seen a barrel with any outgrowths!
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9 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Bill ShaneyfeltThere was another barrel cactus, with three perfectly formed outgrowths on one barrel. They weren't oddly shaped like these. Since I'd already taken this cactus photo, I thought to myself I would photo the three outgrowths one the next pass through. Have I remembered to look for it at the appropriate time? No . . . of course, it's at the far end of town from me. Hopefully I can get a photo in the next couple of weeks.
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9 months ago
jerry witherspoonOf course hummers rest. I see them resting in trees and shrubs all the time. Have even had them rest on my finger!
spoon
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9 months ago
I met Dave, eating lunch, along the Santa Cruz trail.
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It was another beauteous day!
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Food for a homeless person? When I came back the next day, the Vienna sausages were still there.
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Four Catrikes, orange, red, blue, and purple. Rainbow colors!
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This was a day brightener. It was gone my next pass through.
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The arches have intricate tile work.
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Tile detail.
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Pecan tree with a story.
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My first sighting in five years of a javalina.
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Kelly IniguezTo Rachael AndersonYour javelin parade wins the prize!
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9 months ago
Rachael AndersonI sure got lucky with it!
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9 months ago

Today's ride: 400 miles (644 km)
Total: 1,040 miles (1,674 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 13
Bill ShaneyfeltAll the time I spent roaming the desert back in the late 60s, I only saw a small "squadron" (I think a group is called) one time.
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9 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Bill ShaneyfeltRachael has me beat with the family she caught on camera crossing the path. That would have been a sight!
I'd guess there were at least six javalinas eating, only this fellow was brave (hungry?) enough to hold his ground when I stopped.
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9 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Kelly IniguezBeats my sighting! They saw my buddy and I and disappeared instantly.

Oh, by the way, the little blue bird is probably a bluebird. If it has orange on its breast, it is a western, and if blue all over, a mountain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluebird
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9 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Bill ShaneyfeltHmmm, I don't think so. It's at itsy, bitsy bird. Hummingbird size. Dark blue to almost black. Always in the tippy top of the tree/bush. But not flying around like hummingbirds. Plus, aren't hummingbirds brown? Tucson is an area for hummingbirds, I've heard. They like the warm weather, just like cyclists!

Maybe Scott will know what bird I'm talking about and chime in.
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9 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Kelly IniguezThere are 20 some species of hummers down there. They come in all sorts of colors. Costa's is one with blue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa%27s_hummingbird

If it was iridescent blue it was likely a hummer of some kind.
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9 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltThat’s where I ended up also. If it’s really this small there aren’t any other candidates.
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9 months ago
Kelly IniguezHeck. It's times like these I wish I had a good camera. I've actually had an opportunity this trip for quite a few good bird photos.

Do hummingbirds ever rest? These birds are perched in the tree tops, not flittering around.
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9 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly IniguezYes. They’ll stay still for quite awhile, really. Once you start spotting them like this you’ll probably see them quite often. It took me along time to realize they’re around, but they’re quite common in Tucson.
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9 months ago
Scott AndersonOh, and congratulations on your week. 400 miles! It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden that many miles in a week.
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9 months ago
Rachael AndersonWow, what a lot of miles to cover. Since I couldn’t ride because of my surgery maybe I could borrow some of those miles.
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9 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Scott AndersonI saw another one today. This one more light brown. I guess I have to rid myself of my life long opinion that hummingbirds never rest!

Thanks for the compliment on the 400 miles - I'm amazed myself! It sure wouldn't have happened as easily in a mountainous area.
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9 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Rachael AndersonYou are very good to average in your minimum miles for the entire year? Amazing, in fact! With nine months touring coming up, you will be back on track in no time.

I hope you are healing well.
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9 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Kelly IniguezMy splints in my nose come out tomorrow, so hopefully they will say all is good. I can’t wait to be active again but it will be more challenging here because of the weather. I can’t wait until we leave for Europe.
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9 months ago