A breeze of a ride - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

January 9, 2021

A breeze of a ride

Team Anderson put in its 42 miles today (as it has every day so far this year!), but it felt almost like a semi-rest day.  With a modest southerly wind in the morning forecast to turn 180 degrees by about noon, it was easy to pick the route for the day: an out and back northwest along the Santa Cruz to the outskirts of Marana.

We leave home around 10 and enjoy a brisk ride north, not stopping even once before reaching the end of the Loop in this direction, 20.5 miles from home.  Not quite enough to meet quota, but Rocky has a plan for that tucked away under her helmet.

Our timing is spot-on.  Our tailwind slackens a few miles from the end of the line, and by the time we turn back toward Tucson it has reversed direction and stiffened significantly.  We’re going to get blown home!

We race south, but finally I decide to stop for a photo of the Tucson Mountains ahead, looking mysterious in the day’s slightly hazy sky.  The minute I stop Rachael dashes ahead, shouting ‘I shall return’ as she disappears in the distance.

And she does return, about two minutes later - but just keeps biking, now in the opposite direction.  By the time she turns back again, she’s put in nearly another mile - just enough for the team to meet quota for the day.  Our streak for the new year continues - 42 or more miles every day this year so far!

The Tucson Mountains are a compelling sight from any direction.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Rah, rah, Rocky! What a team player!
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Back on track again, we’re blown south until we come to the bridge over the Santa Cruz on Ina Road, the same spot where I saw the Jacana the last time I was out this way.  Have to stop, on the chance that he’s still wading around down there.  And he is!  I decide to try to get a photo of him with his remarkable feet out of the water so you can see how huge they are.  Proportional to their body size, they have the largest feet of any bird.  They’re long enough so they can stand on lily pads while they flip them over, looking for edibles hiding underneath. 

He’s too quick though - I watch long enough so that I can anticipate when he’s about to lift a foot up, but it just lasts an instant.  After about twenty unsuccessful shots, it finally occurs to me that a video would work better.  

Here’s a photo I downloaded that shows these amazing feet more clearly. This one is an African jacana - a different species than the northern jacana we have here, but all members of the family are like this. The Edward Scissorhands of the avian world.
Heart 5 Comment 4
Bruce LellmanWow!! What great evolution. I'd like to be able to walk on lily pads.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyWith one foot on lily pad
The jacana can't use toes to add
So he unfurled his fingers
From the tips of his wingers
And Scott looked and shouted "Egad!"
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbySo disappointed. I was interested to see what you came up with that rhymes with scissorhands.
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1 week ago
Jen GrumbyI may need a double dose of caffeine for that one!
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1 week ago

Rachael stops and watches for a few minutes, but the bird is too far off for a good view without an optical assist.  She bikes on ahead, and we agree to just meet at home.  I finally take my video and then start off again, and take my time the rest of the way since the pressure is off to maintain a good pace.

I make a few more stops on the way, mostly to get off the saddle.  For some reason I’ve turned quite saddlesore on the back end of the ride (heh, heh).  It doesn’t help the situation any either when I reach Mabel Street and rattle the last few blocks to the casita up what we agree must be the worst surfaced street in town.  After a month, we’ll be pretty happy to leave Mabel Street behind when we move out on Wednesday.

Blowing our way.
Heart 2 Comment 0
A heap of hexagons, just because.
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Counting down the days. We won’t miss you when you’re gone, Mabel.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Bruce LellmanI don't know why but I love beautiful shots of terrible road surfaces.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI feel the same way. They’re so much more visually interesting than a smooth surface. I really appreciate you showing us all those wretched roads in Myanmar, so we can appreciate their character without shuddering over them ourselves.
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2 weeks ago

Ride stats today: 42 miles, 1,000’; for the tour: 1,854 miles, 64,600’; for the year: 9 riding days, 384 miles, 12,600’, and 1 flat tire

Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 1,795 miles (2,889 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 1
Jen GrumbyThanks for the jacana video. Those feet might even be more fascinating than those of the coot!
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1 week ago