Colossal Cave - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

January 7, 2021 to January 8, 2021

Colossal Cave

Another two day entry, but there’s not much to be said about the first one, on Thursday: a 42 mile out and back east along the Loop to the Harrison Greenway.  Just a ride for sanity, to take our minds off the unfathomable chaos in our world today while keeping our distance.

Today was more interesting though, and worth a few words.  We drove east a few miles and parked the car near the Pantano Wash segment of the Loop as our base for a ride to Colossal Caves, a mountain park southeast of town.  This is the second time we’ve taken this ride, and it won’t be the last.  The Colossal Caves loop is one of the best rides from town.  All of the roads have decent shoulders and feel quite safe, and the mountain and desert views are quite memorable.

Speaking of memory: as if the world isn’t fully depressing enough already today, it ended on a more personally depressing note when we received a phone call from dad this evening.  We’ve known that my mother’s memory has been worsening over the last year, but it’s sounding like it has become more serious.  There’s no big surprise in this, of course - she’s nearly 96, after all - but it’s sorrowful and sobering.  I spoke to her afterwards, telling her what we were up to down here, and she was quite surprised.  It took awhile to realize she thought I was my brother.

She and dad, like so many others, have had a difficult year.  They’re in a good and well managed living situation, but it’s been pretty much in lockdown for the last 10 months.  No one in the family has seen them since the pandemic broke out in earnest last winter.  There’s good news finally in that they received their first Covid vaccination a few days ago, so hopefully we’ll be able to see them in person again before many more months pass.

And, there’s my own memory that’s a concern - not news either, but I don’t like being reminded of it.  When Rachael and I were admiring the views from Colossal Caves today, she suddenly started laughing and told me that I hadn’t actually made it up to the top on our first visit here.  I was sure she was wrong, because I was certain I had stood here before.  She’s right, and I’m wrong.  I’d totally forgotten that I was stuck at the bottom of the final climb with a bike that wouldn’t shift into its lower chainring, hearing her faintly calling to me from far above.

It’s one of those moments I’d swear I’d never forget, but I did; and it was less than a year ago.  If we hadn’t blogged that day, the memory would have been lost to me for good.  It’s the main reason I’m doing this, really.  Thanks for following along and helping us keep disciplined.

Video sound track: Arizona, by Paul Revere and the Raiders

Here’s a bit of art I haven’t seen before, if my memory serves me well. It’s a third instance of these delightful bat sculptures, this one along Pantano Wash up on the turnoff to Broadway.
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Southbound on the Old Spanish Trail - a beautiful cycling road that skirts the western boundary of the National Park.
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Looking east into the National Park from the Old Spanish Trail.
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As we continue south we enjoy close-up views of Rincon Peak.
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Still on Old Spanish Trail. Colossal Caves Mountain Park is up in those hills straight ahead.
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Ascending the final climb to Colossal Caves, for the first time. Nice having a complete set of gears to work with this time!
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Kelly IniguezLook at those calves!
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1 week ago
The view north from Colossal Caves, looking back on the Old Spanish Trail. Yes, I’m certain I’ve stood in this spot before.
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At the top, ready to roll again.
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Westbound on Pistol Hill Road. After a short climb to the summit on this road it’s a long, gradual descent for miles.
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Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI’m thinking you’ve been getting too much rain up that way. I also saw your Instagram post of your first daffodils of the season, but I’m not fooled. We’ll stay down here a bit longer.
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1 week ago
Mount Wrightson, from Pistol Hill Road.
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I recognize the saguaro, but what bird is this? Not a cactus wren, not a thrasher. A mockingbird possibly?
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Bill ShaneyfeltDove? Pigeon?

The "irony" of not being able to specifically ID it is not lost on me.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanIt's the rufous chested generic?
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1 week ago
Scrimshaw on the Houghton Road bridge.
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Now I know we’ve been here before. These are the two new miles of bikeway along Julian Wash that we discovered just a few days ago.
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Northbound on the Harrison Greenway. I love coasting down this part of the Loop, watching the Santa Catalina Range swell as you approach it.
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Kelly IniguezMy extra bike was at Any and All Bikes in Denver for service. We had a chance to look around while there. They are long time Bike Friday dealers and had 6-8 Fridays there. One had a belt drive! As a side note, Vi (owner) said that the factory is out of many parts and production is greatly slowed as a result.
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1 week ago

Ride stats for these two days: 88 miles, 3,000’; for the tour: 1,812 miles, 63,600’; for the year: 8 riding days, 340 miles, 11,600’, and 1 flat tire

Today's ride: 88 miles (142 km)
Total: 1,753 miles (2,821 km)

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Suzanne GibsonSorry to hear about your mother, but as you say no surprise at 96. And I understand your worries all too well as I notice how often I have difficulty finding words. It's kind of humiliating and hard to accept.
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1 week ago
Jen GrumbySorry to hear about your mom, Scott. Hopefully they will receive vaccinations soon so that family can enjoy in-person visits.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonThank you, Suzanne. Aging is certainly an interesting process, full of pluses and minuses. As I was biking today I had Paul Simon’s song Old Friends running through my head the whole time. How terribly strange to be seventy.
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1 week ago
Kathleen ClassenThinking of you and your mother. We went through something similar with mine. I have one moment that always makes me smile at my own foolishness. Once early on in her journey with dementiaI I called and she thought I was my sister. I tried to tell her which daughter I was...and finally ended up shouting into the phone (she was quite deaf)“I AM MY SISTER” which made no sense at all 😂. After that I simply pretended to be my sister when she confused us, then called my sister to tell her she had had a lovely chat with Mom. My sister returned the favour when it happened to her and I like to think Mom felt less confused. Best wishes to you and your family. It isn’t an easy journey.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen ClassenThanks for your thoughts, Kathleen. It was startling to have mom mistake me for Stewart, and sort of funny in a way. She was surprised to hear where I was and why, and she said I was stealing a trick from my brother. He just got back from biking in Europe and is down there too, so I should look Scott up, she advised.

It occurred to me to try to straighten out the confusion, but I knew that would never work. Even if she understood, it would just embarrass or hurt her. I did the same thing you did, and gave a heads up to my brother.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThanks, Jen. I hope so too - it would be awfully nice to see mom again while she still remembers who I am. I’m pretty sure if she saw me in person she’d make the connection.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanSo sorry about your mother, Scott. As tragic as it is to lose one's memory or to be confused and as hard as it is to witness such things it's also important to keep smiling. I think there is always humor in there somewhere and that helps us deal with it. It seems you and Kathleen figured this out already.
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1 week ago
Andrea BrownScott, my dad died with Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson's, a broken hip, and a compromised brain. But even on his last day his sweet essence was there. Your mama will always know who you are because she's always known you, even before you were born. But brain disease makes it hard for her to tell you that in the ways she used to. I hope you get to see her soon, and I know it will be heartbreaking for you, but it'll be okay. She's still in there.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownThank you, Andrea. I know she’s still in there too, but is starting to drift out and lose the thread. I expect she’ll still be there once we can finally meet up again, but the sooner the better, of course.

Mostly I feel lucky to still have them both still with me, this late in my own life; and I feel grateful for the model their lives have served for the family. Dad said that when they go out for walks now he has to hold her hand because she’s getting frail; but he’s been holding her hand through 70 years of marriage, and won’t stop now.
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1 week ago
Kathleen Jones+1 on dealing with a mom with dementia. Not an easy road and I feel for you and your family.
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5 days ago