11 October 2012


Cold Shivers Point, 2005 Ride the Rockies

I signed us up for the 2012 Fall Blaze bicycle tour in Durango back in February. Before I crashed and broke my wrist and camera. Before something happened inside my back that stole my summer from me.

I signed up for the 60-mile ride. The Lizard signed up for a century, which is 100 miles.

In June, I thought I had something that would never heal. I wasn't sure I'd ever ride again.

In August, I began riding, but progress was much slower than I wanted. I could not manage more than 21 miles, no matter how hard I tried.

At the end of September, we traveled to Grand Junction to see the Blue Angels. To shoot fall color atop the Grand Mesa. And to ride Colorado National Monument. The Monument is a tad easier climb than Deer Creek Canyon, which I haven't attempted since before Ride the Rockies. Yet still, the Monument is a stiff climb. I wasn't sure I could do it, but I wanted to try. The Fall Blaze would be the following weekend, and although I knew I couldn't do 60 miles, I wanted to do at least part of the ride, which would include yet more climbing, as well as rich fall color.

Blue Angels

Sunrise on Colorado National Monument

Grand Mesa

I've done Colorado National Monument enough times to know the most difficult portion of the climb is the first seven miles. With the exception of about one mile of Independence Pass to watch the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, I had not climbed more than about an eighth of a mile since Ride the Rockies. I'd successfully taken the mountain bike up the first 200 feet or so of the Colorado Trail. It's steep. So I thought the Monument, which isn't as steep, might be doable on the road bike. I thought the smooth ride would be easier on my back than a single-track mountain trail.

I told myself if I could just reach Cold Shivers Point, I could make the entire 33-mile ride.

I was slow on my bike before whatever this injury was that took me down for so long. Now, well, I think snails crawl faster than me.

But I can move, and I can move uphill. I stopped to stretch so many times, I lost count. But stretching helps. It eases the pressure on my back.

The tunes on my iPhone helped me keep my mood positive by flooding me with just the right songs at just the right time. I always keep the iPhone on "shuffle," and I'm continually amazed at the timing it achieves, just when I need it.

First came the cheery and desert-appropriate "Soak up the Sun." Singer Sheryl Crow is a breast cancer survivor. If she could survive... So. Could. I.

"I'm still the king of me"
-Sheryl Crow, Jeff Trott

Then came a Pink Floyd favorite that always lifts my spirits. As I pedaled onward, I kept thinking about Pink Floyd being an unwitting symbol of breast cancer just because of the name!

"I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life
- David Gilmour

And then, as Cold Shivers and my Lizard finally came into view, Van Halen rocked me.

"We'll get higher and higher
Straight up we'll climb
We'll get higher and higher
Leave it all behind
So, Baby, dry your eyes
Save all the tears you've cried
Oh, that's what dreams are made of
-Eddy Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar

All the tears I've cried. I could see in my mind a string of them along a snowflake I wanted to make as soon as I got back home. I'd made it to Cold Shivers Point, and I'd proven this stupid back ailment is NOT going to define me. I still had seven more miles before the screaming downhill would begin, but the rest would be a piece of cake. Or a stick of cheese in my case. I knew I could do it. I knew I could finish. I had the confidence. And I had hugs and high fives from my Lizard! (the best medicine of all)

She's back, Ladies and Gentlemen. She's BACK.

What Couldn't Be Done Was Done... and FUN!


  1. What a lovely smile on your face! Congratulations! Brazilian kisses...

    1. Thank you, Ane! I was truly happy that day!

  2. you are so motivated and should be proud of you tenacity to press on, no matter the odds. you are such an inspiration to me, especially when i need it most. if you can beat the odds then so can i.

    1. Thank you, Jody. I am likewise inspired by those who are told they can't and then press on to prove the naysayers wrong.

  3. She is BACK! Yay!!!!! You are such a determined and strong woman that I had little doubt that you'd find your way back. What a beautiful place to take your first big ride! Lucky you to be there in the fall!

  4. That's funny ... I just commented on your poem post with those very words. You're BACK! :)

    You are indeed. I'm heart-glad for you.

    Can't wait to see the string of tears snowflake.

    1. Thank you, Sue. I can't wait for you to see my Cold Shivers Snowflake, too. It's my new fav, I think!

  5. Its my favorite snowflake you've made. In fact, I just finished stringing beads so I can make it myself. :)

    1. Thank you, Raychel! (beautiful spelling of your name! makes me think of sun rays!) I haven't made another one since I published this pattern, but I hope to make more. I've got some great beads I think will work up nicely in this snowflake! I'd kind of like to do my entire tree in flakes with this pattern, one day, maybe after I retire...


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