All the pieces left behind – Conclusion

Some endings are explosive and ragged. The pieces left behind reflect the trauma and tearing apart.

This jagged rhyolite is from an explosive phase of the Toombullup volcanics and the Wabonga Caldera.

Sometimes endings are really beginnings, laying down the foundation of the future.

And some endings are not endings – they are just the flow of time, breaking down some things while building up others. Time may be linear and constant, but it is not always experienced that way.

Read more

All the pieces left behind – Days 3 and 4

4 kms (yeah, I know)

Day 3

There is that feeling you get when you wake before your alarm goes off. Do you peek at the clock to see how much longer you can sleep? Or do you just roll over and try to pretend you’ve not woken at all. If you peek at the clock, there is the relief when you see you’ve got a full hour to sleep until you have to get up or the disappointment when you’ve woken just seven minutes before the alarm.

Read more

All the pieces left behind – Day 2

33 kms (14 miles)

Have you ever had a day that did not really go as you had seen it in your mind? Have you made decisions on the information available that turned out to be a bit misinformed?

With mobile phones allowing you to google any question you ever wanted to answer in real time and allowing instant access to weather reports and radar, it’s easy to forget how to make decisions for yourself and choose the best option. I’m reminded of this on the short ride today.

Read more

All the pieces left behind – Day 1

53 kms (33 miles)

There should be rewards for getting up at sparrow’s fart.

The rewards I’m seeking when I get up at 4.50am today are a few hours of riding in cool temperatures with no wind or pesky flies.

But it is already 24 degrees when I get up and it is a very sticky warmth. It is very humid today which is a bit unusual for us, but not so much in a La Nina year like this. The pesky flies will join me just a few kms down the road.

However, the early start should help us beat the heat predicted (36C – 96F high) and the storms forecast after noon. The idea today is to pick up a couple new roads and get about halfway up the plateau, then find a place to camp before the storms come in.

Read more

All the pieces left behind – Introduction

22-26 November 2020

You don’t always know when the end is near. Sometimes you don’t even know when you’ve reached a conclusion until hindsight later on makes it clear. Some endings are cataclysmic; some just flow on the trickle of time: think early-phase volcanism or the slow erosion of high mountain peaks.

Yet so many times post-conclusion, there is evidence left behind of what once was. It’s the chimney of a house long since gone. It’s the shards of glass that escaped the broom. It’s the knowledge gained from experience that says, “don’t do that again.”

Read more

When all else fails… – Introduction

Some stories have no distinct beginning or end. They are just passing pieces of context between more major parts of plot. They are merely paragraphs within a chapter. They fill in some details but are not important enough to stand on their own.

And so that is the story of this tour. It’s not really a story. It’s a context-filler, a gap-filler, a few words and days between more major life events. You might think a week-long tour with seven mountain passes/summits might be a story on its own. But it’s not. It’s just what a woman who loves to ride a bike does when everything else in life fails and she’s waiting to turn the page for the next chapter. Read more

When all else fails… – Day 1

Salida to Houselog Creek (FR 690): Like old times… without the fitness

Tuesday August 8, 2017, 65 miles (105 km) – Total so far: 65 miles (105 km)

There was rain overnight. The ground moisture has risen in the still air and fog envelopes the Arkansas River Valley. It is not quite dawn, but it’s beyond first light. It is clear here, but the mountains appear and disappear as the clouds dance up and down the valley below the Sawatch Range.

My parents rise early to see me off. They have confidence in me all these touring miles later, but there is still some trepidation since they are parents, and parents never ever stop being parents. I load up the last of the gear and my dad photographs me leaving the driveway of their home. Their home has spectacular views and my parents never get tired of showing off the beauty. Read more

When all else fails… – Day 2

Houselog Creek to Blue Mesa Reservoir: Two Tertiary calderas in one morning

Wednesday August 9, 2017, 70 miles (113 km) – Total so far: 135 miles (217 km)

Last night, after a nap and a feed and the passing of the afternoon storms, I climbed the adjacent hill for a look around. It was a steep climb of several hundred feet to where ignimbrite sheets (i.e. consolidated pyroclastic flows) capped a long ridge. Where we were camped is on the northeastern edge of the San Juan volcanic field. This volcanic field covered much of the southern Rocky Mountains in the middle Tertiary (about 35-25 million years ago). The field spewed out impressive volumes of volcanic rock – at least 22 major ash sheets (each 150-5,000 cubic kilometres of rock) originating from calderas (10-75 kms in size) after a period of flows from clusters of stratovolcanos. Read more

When all else fails… – Day 3

Blue Mesa Reservoir to Killdeer Creek (FR 788): Just out there in the forest

Thursday August 10, 2017, 46 miles (74 km) – Total so far: 181 miles (291 km)

Nature has timeframes for her plans today that do not exactly match mine. Well, the timing is the same – the plans conflict. At 4.58 am, there is an unmistakable rumble of thunder. At 4.59 am, splats of rain assault the tent simultaneously with tent door-flapping wind. At 5.00 am, my watch alarm goes off. My plans to get going early to beat traffic and afternoon storms are thwarted. Read more