Terii’s Cycling Babble

Here Comes A New Decade!
January 27, 2020, 7:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Seriously?! I forgot to hit PUBLISH?!

(Written January 1, 2020)

I have to say though, the last day of 2019 was an emotional roller coaster with dizzying lows.

As I’ve mentioned before, Loke has a pattern to his days at the moment. Most mornings, he’s sluggish, unstable. The past couple weeks, he’s taken to frequently bringing up his dinner, completely undigested after sitting in his tummy for 8 to 12 hours. It’s like his entire stomach and intestinal system slams shut sometime before he has the last meal of the day. This past week, his appetite might have taken a nose dive. He won’t eat his treats and often ignores his food, though he’s still interested in human food which he can’t have.

Jens wonders if it was simply just him being stubborn like he was between ages 9 months to 2 or 3 years. His own food (always dry kibble back then) would ALWAYS just sit in his dish for sometimes as long as 36 hours. Any time we’d eat though, he’d be there, staring holes through us and a puddle of drool around his feet, begging for what we had. It was bad enough that he weighed perhaps 40-45 lbs since I didn’t want to train Loke that he could have everything we did. I was determined he eat HIS food. Jens sometimes derailed that by breaking as this clearly was before we discovered Loke’s budding allergies.

It was bad enough at one point that the vet commented on how thin he was. I assured the vet, he had food available, he just wasn’t eating it. Later that visit, I caught one of the vet techs, offering Loke a piece of kibble on the sly, testing to see if I was a cruel woman starving my dog to death. Loke politely took the piece of dog food, looked at the tech with an offended expression and spat it on the floor. The very image of a starving dog, desperate for any food, yes? She caught me looking and gave me a sheepishly apologetic look.

The problem now of course, is that Loke absolutely cannot have anything we eat. That first time when he refused his own food only to desperately beg for ours, Jens could slip him something and he’d probably be alright. Now? It could well be a death sentence.

An additional problem with Loke leaving his food, even the soft food, in his dish, is he wasn’t getting his medication. The very critical medication that keeps him from having seizures and muscle pain. Jens suggested ‘making’ Loke take it. My answer was that he was welcome to do it, but reminded him that the last time I tried that, Loke curled a lip and snapped at me when I came near him. I refuse to turn my dog, who had never growled or snapped before, into an aggressive, defensive creature who fears my approach because I’m prying his mouth open to put a pill on the back of his tongue. It would be time to say goodbye before I do that. I was miserable and clearly he was miserable with being forced to take his meds twice a day.

So, my desperate and abruptly reasonable husband, urged me to go buy some deer meat, boil it, blitz it in the blender so I could water it down and mix the medication. I feared that as the last time Loke had deer meat (reindeer), he was in the hospital for most of the entire first week of 2019. Jens, reasonably, pointed out that he would rather risk giving Loke something tasty he likes and have to say goodbye to a mostly happy husky, then to watch Loke be so very, very hungry while also having his brain turn to goo from seizures.

I suddenly realized that I wasn’t going to have to fight Jens when it came time to say goodbye. Jens wasn’t going to be there wanting to keep Loke going because he didn’t want to let go. I didn’t have to worry about alienating him over this.

So, I got the meat. Instead of reindeer, moose, or roe deer, I picked up red deer meat. Loke’s had a lot of the first 3 over the years. I don’t know about how close the in type the allergy triggers between all of the deer types might be, but decided to go for what he’s has the least of.

Either, Loke has become a bit less allergic to deer over the year, or red deer is just different enough from the rest that it doesn’t seem to be triggering him. We’re keeping it in very low amounts. 2 table spoons of deer goo per meal. One scoop by itself in the bottom of his dish, well mixed with his medication. The other, spread through his kibble and soft food to encourage him to eat. The solo medicated scoop goes down quick. The mixed one has had mixed results.

So, most mornings, I’ve been fretful. Is it time for the final farewell? He’s not miserable, is he? Then sometime between lunch and 7 pm, this decrepit, fading husky is replaced by this bright-eyed creature, woofing at us, stomping his feet and pacing restlessly around as he seeks out stuff to get into, especially if it involves food. He’s even managed to get the pantry open a couple times. In short, he drives us CRAZY with all this energy and mischief.

So, yesterday morning, December 31st, Loke was his new ‘normal’ sluggish self. So I thought. I took him out for first morning walkies at about 7:30 am when Jens and he emerged from the bedroom. Something was off with him. He was even slower than normal and much more unstable.

He started out kinda okay, but slowed to an inching, barely moving pace in the first 50 yards. He kept stopping and was staring off in odd directions, not as if he was looking at something but as if he was lost or, just not there. He was often wobbling while do it. He was so unbalanced I didn’t want to pull the leash so I was trying to coax steps out of him. At one point, he managed to totter over to me and leaned against my leg before laying down on the sidewalk. It took a few minutes to get him back up as I wondered if I was going to carry him back to the apartment.

Then he threw up the previous night’s dinner, completely undigested, as he does about half the time any more. Combined with his weirdness and increased instability, it worried me so badly, tears started streaming down my cheeks. Somehow, we got back to the apartment without me dragging or carrying him. 200 yards took us almost 20 minutes. The worst he’s done since that fateful April-May of 2018 when his health crashed so badly I was hours from calling the vet to say goodbye.

I felt it was time to call the vet again as he flopped down on the floor, breathing laboured. New Year’s Eve day though, I guessed it was going to be hard to get through. Probably 1 vet working the whole hospital. It seemed best to call around 10 am and hope for the best.

I had hoped that when Loke’s time came, we could have done it at ‘our’ clinic. They know us there and they have a considerate set up for people who have to euthanize their pets. You can pay in advance and schedule a later time. When it comes, you call them to let them know and arrive with your pet. Instead of going in the usual way, there’s another area with another entrance so the animal doesn’t associate it so much with the vet. A quiet spot, secluded where you can be with your furry family member for those final moments. When it’s time to go, you don’t have to go through the crowded waiting room, grief stricken and teary to stand at the counter and pay. You can just go.

But our clinic is closed until Jan 2nd or 3rd.

I mixed up the deer gloop and Loke’s meds. When I offered it to him, he didn’t want to get up and eat. He’s never done that before. Sticking the bowl under his nose, he’d lick, but even when I moved it away, he just laid there, looking at me. Still, at least he took his meds.

Jens asked if I’d go get us Starbucks, promising he’d keep a close eye on Loke. I agreed and dragged myself out the door. As I drove there, my phone suddenly dinged with sent texts. My heart dropped into my stomach, convinced that it was Jens letting me know Loke had gone into a grand mal seizure or stopped breathing.

I don’t handle my phone when I drive and there wasn’t an easy spot to pull over to look. I had to wait the 2-3 minutes until I got to the mall parking.

Turned out, no. Loke was fine. Just a couple minutes after I’d left, he’d gotten up, started pacing, woofing at Jens and trying to get into the pantry. From halfway through death’s door back to our lovable pain in the butt who was apparently going to start the ‘good’ phase of his day much earlier than usual. He had even eaten about half of the scoop of kibble Jens gave him before going back to trying the pantry door again.

Out of all this with Loke, I swear, the up and down is the most gut wrenching.

Earlier in the week, I’d committed to going for a New Year’s Eve ride as well as a New Year’s Day ride even though I’d not ridden the trike since September 24th. The weather was supposed to be mild so it seemed likely I could bully myself out door in spite of the funk I’ve been in. Before I left for Starbucks, I’d posted on the trike group that it wasn’t likely to happen and why.

With Loke’s bounce though and the fact that the clouds had blown away and it had turned into a SPECTACULAR day for the first time in weeks, if a bit on the nippy side (38 F), I decided maybe I was in a good enough mood to go out even if just for a short ride. Even if I’d ridden very little this year what with my feelings about Loke’s decline and issues, I could at least see it out with a few miles.

As I started dragging on thermals, the now-bouncy Loke was abruptly in the way. Head on my leg, tail doing a cute little wag, and eyes becoming huge pools of puppy pleading. I was taken aback. Loke’s not done this kind of behavior in response to the cycle clothes in years! I honestly believed that they had lost their magic power over him. Yet, there he was.

Jens saw this and suggested I try taking him with me. Loke, the dog who just 3 hours or so before had been most of the way toward death. I had pretty much stopped taking Loke (and stopped riding) because in my mind, I’d retired him due to weakness and instability.

I agreed as long as Jens was willing to come get him the instant I thought Loke might need it. He agreed.

Loke seemed to like the idea. I picked up  his harness and he came right over, helpfully putting his head through and lifting the proper foot to help get it on.

As we got out at the storage, I was a bit wary about Loke’s behavior. As we walked down the ramp, he was waaaaaay over by the far wall and laid down as I opened it. There he stayed as I aired up the neglected tires of the trike and got things settled. Once I pushed the trike out though, he heaved himself to his feet and ambled over to come stand at his running bar without the least bit of prompting. He gave me an expectant look and wagged his tail.

He needed a little help to get up the slope, but once at the top and I sat in the seat, he was wagging his tail.

20191231_113247 alt

Even slow, this is nice to have him with.

We rolled out and he shuffled along at what I would say was a respectable speed for his age and ability. We crossed to the sidewalk where I typically ride in the grass to help Loke’s feet and give him lots of trees to sniff. He pretty much ignored said trees and wanted to move. A little further on, I had to get off the sidewalk and onto the street. Loke sped up into a kind of scuffling jog at just under 5 mph. I was impressed.

The jog didn’t last long, but it had been there. Even when he slowed and got a bit wobbly, he was still clearly happy to be out. After he’d done his ‘wild quarter mile’ as it were, then he was happy to stop and sniff. He was alert to his surroundings and taking interest.

As we continued on back toward the apartment on a 1 mile meander, I found myself abruptly feeling more peaceful about how things are with Loke. It’s gut wrenching, yes. Sad, yes. And yet, even after such a bad morning, here he was out doing what he loved doing for much of his life. A kind of serenity came with it.

Once I got Loke back home, I headed out for a few solo miles, planning to go out toward the grave mounds at Old Uppsala. The poor fuzzy was disappointed I was leaving without him, but he’d gotten quite tired. When we stopped at the light to wait to cross, he’d wobbled and leaned against the light post. I wasn’t gonna keep him going until he collapsed no matter how much he might want to go.

My solo ride ended up around 3 miles. Having ridden not at all since September 24th and not been to the gym since December 23rd, I was feeling a loss of conditioning. As I came to that 1 mile slight climb between home and the mounds, I slowed down. Throw in a 15-20 mph headwind and I was doing a ridiculously not-fast crawl through an area I’ve seen 100’s of times and I really didn’t feel like spending half an hour enduring it. The pretty weather couldn’t trump crap scenery and fathomless boredom. I turned around and took the trike back to storage. Roughly 4 miles for the day.

Where Has It Gone?
December 26, 2019, 7:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m not sure where my passion for riding has gone. I’m hoping it’s just buried under the burden of watching Loke’s decline into the final days of his long (for a husky) life. Every year since getting my Sprint 26, allowing me to ride through the ice and snow of winter, I’ve bolted out the door for a roll on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, often both. Same for New Year’s Eve day and New Year’s Day.

Not that snow and ice are a common problem the past few years. This year, started to look like as if we were going to have a real winter. Now, except for daylight hours of less than 6 hours, I could be sitting in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast in the States. Quite a few days have been in the ‘summer’ range. I’ll grant, it’s a cool summer range, but still completely plausible for Swedish summer. Hazel pollen is out and causing havoc with Loke.

But, I degress. I’ve just not been feeling the riding vibe or much else. I’ve felt apathetic about pretty much everything. Jens, bless him, has been trying to get me motivated to choose a Christmas gift, probably a computer monitor as the one I have has been through 2 or maybe 3 computers. It’s gotten kinda dim in a way that turning up the brightness doesn’t correct. A yellowish tint to what should be crisp and white. Something a little larger would be nice to facilitate my 3D work.

Also, still haven’t gotten my big 50 years-on-this-planet gift either.

I’ve been hardcore slacking on my gym attendance for more than a week too. It’s a sort of ‘meh’ triggered by the holiday hours. I don’t feel the pull to go to the old gym location which lacks the machines and tools I use for my current workout routine and the larger location I’ve become accustomed to hasn’t been opening until 8 am. Sloshing around in a workout with smoothie in my tummy or starving until 10 am, neither appeal.

My energy levels are down, a result of cutting out animal products from my diet.

I never thought there’d be a day when I’d be able to say, “I’m trying to be a vegan” with a straight face without following it up with a howl of laughter and ‘APRIL FOOLS!’

My husband’s youngest sister found out yesterday while talking with her parents. ‘Jens and Terii are coming to dinner tomorrow and she’s trying to be a vegan!’ Becca couldn’t believe it. “Terii? Seriously?!”

When she came over to get something out of storage to take back south with her, she was very effusive in her amazement and even how proud of me she was that I was making the attempt. That was very nice to hear.

Don’t get me wrong, Jens has been incredibly supportive, but not verbally so. When I started dabbling my toes in the whole diet shift, he came back from a shopping trip. In his bags, he had a meat substitute made from peas for me to try something with and a big can of chocolate protein powder for me to toss into my smoothies. So, while tight lipped about my choice, he’s been a man of action to show his support. Come New Year, he’s been talking about joining me.

I’m trying to expand my diet within the vegan parameters. A bit tricky as I really detest beans except for split pea soup. Oh and curry. I despise curry to the point I’d rather chew a bar of soap liberally sprinkled with lemon peels. I would probably dislike the taste less. Just something about it tastes bitter and unpleasant. Yet, seems about 90% of the vegan recipes I find are curry. *shudders*

But dinner yesterday was tasty with my in-laws. My darling mother-in-law made a batch of meatballs from scratch from a soy meat replacement. Mashed potatoes with the dairy replaced with oat substitutes. With some lingon preserves on the side as I would with the same dish made in traditional fashion and I could hardly tell the difference. Was awesome really.

When I get back into riding, I’m not sure how much of an impact the diet change will have.

I do have a determination to get back into riding at some point. Still, I miss staring out the window, imagining how it would be riding that road or spotting places that would make a good space to camp if I were cycle touring. Wondering about alternative routes if the road is unsuitable. I’ve not been doing that.

But we shall see what the New Year brings.  I suppose, a lot of it comes down to Loke.

Fading Echo
December 10, 2019, 4:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yes, again I’ve been very silent of late. Truly, it’s because I’ve not been riding. I could say it’s the weather and such, but that can be overcome.

The Rugby was fun to watch, but frustrating as New Zealand wasn’t able to pull off the hat trick to walk away with the cup again. Just too lackluster and I don’t think they’ve jelled as a solid team since the retirement of a slew of their best after the last cup.

I’m simply in a funk. I guess that isn’t really so simple, but there it is. I have no energy for even daily tasks and have to bully myself for pretty much everything. Just getting laundry folded is a titanic struggle and that’s necessary. I can go without riding. Throw in short daylight hours.

It’s harder to drag out of it now because I think I’m in a Christmas funk. Christmas has had a lot of bad to it over the years of my life. Jens has worked hard to make sure my Christmases are quiet and pleasant as possible though we don’t open celebrate, but the stuff still lingers.

Mostly though, I think a lot of this is Loke. I feel I have to be here for him. He can’t be left alone for long. Many days, I feel bad enough when I have to go shopping while Jens is at work and I make sure he’s only left alone for perhaps 2 hours at the absolute most for one time during a day. It’s hard to watch my furry, constant companion fading.

He still has good moments. Going on walkies on a new route I found. He especially likes it when Jens takes him the full length where I drop them off at one end and pick them up at the other 2 miles away. A pretty good distance for a 14+ year old dog with neurological issues. It takes them a while because of Loke’s pace, but he still loves it.

Then there are the bad times. One entire day where his hindlegs just wouldn’t cooperate. He’d try to get up and manage it on the front, but the back wasn’t cooperating. I thought that was going to be the end, but as usual, the evening rolled around and he improved though he stayed sluggish and lethargic, at least he was able to function.

He has also become even more sound sensitive, so bad at one point he couldn’t eat his kibble out of his bowl because the noise of the hard little bits rattling on the metal made him jerk around as if being electrocuted. I had to dump it out on the floor for  him. Snapping fingers. Sound of a door lock turning. Crunch of gravel under foot. Let’s not even get into what crumpling plastic or paper does to him, but that one has stayed consistent.

Sunday, December 8th, Jens and I were going with him for the walk and as we were pulling into the parking spot, he began to give these soul wrenching howls. It only lasted for 5 seconds or so, nothing obviously wrong. He’d stopped by the time we got over our shock and Jens got the car parked. He wasn’t stuck in some weird, painful position in the car. He moved as well as he ever does once we had out of the car. No explanation, but it had me sick with worry right up until I picked them up at the other end.

Most days, he’s sluggish, weak, and unstable, but evening rolls around and he finds energy and strength to be a PITA.

In all this though, I’ve noticed one thing. The good is never as good as it was in the previous days and if one averages out the bad in a given week, each is a little worse than the week before. If the sound of an echo was his good moments and the silences between were the not-so-great or bad, he’s fading into the silence.

The good is never as loud and clear as it was the time before. The bad is always a little deeper and longer. It takes a toll watching this happen as I care for him in his decline. So much energy and combined with the fact that I can’t bring him out for rides and I save the time to leave him alone for necessary things like buying food or appointments, I just haven’t been riding.

I guess it’s also possible deep down, I feel it’s a sort of betrayal to leave him to do what he used to love so much when he could be enduring a seizure alone in the apartment.

It comes out sounding so bad on here, but really, Loke’s not in pain near as I, and the vets can tell. He has good appetite. Mornings and to lunch maybe sluggish and unstable, but in the evenings, he’s bright-eyed and relatively strong. He’s still happy to go on walkies most of the time, though yesterday he seemed less so. Perhaps another fading.

As long as there’s more good and it’s of acceptable quality, than there’s bad of pain-less, then he’s still with us. It can be just so hard.

Slumped Into Rugby World Cup
September 30, 2019, 5:23 am
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Odd as it sounds, I love rugby. Sadly, Sweden doesn’t really have any way of viewing games elsewhere and has no real rugby team of its own. Well, it does, but it’s small and they can only play during the summer which limits their ability to compete on the world stage. Who’s really gonna get out for tackle practice when there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground, or frozen mud?

When I started my challenge back in August, I completely forgot this is a World Cup year for rugby. So, just as well that my challenge was canceled when it was. The World Cup is the only time in 4 year blocks when I can watch to my heart’s content and cheer on the team I’ve decided to love and support, New Zealand All Blacks.

There is no way I’d have been able to keep up with the 77 miles per week needed with matches held pretty much every day for the first 2-3 weeks of the event. Saturday and Sundays have 2-3 games which is 3 to 6 hours. I watch them ALL. Even 51 miles a week for my modified challenge isn’t really doable.

I’ve fit a few rides in around the games, but not many and I can’t really remember much about them, my brain full of rugby. The trike is an afterthought at the moment.

There is another time I can watch rugby and it happens once a year. Six Nations, but those Six Nations don’t include the All Blacks. It’s just Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, (and I think) France, and Italy. It’s fun to watch, but doesn’t give me quite a big a dose of rugby and lacks the team I really go nuts for.

So, the rugby will be easing off a bit as they get into the semi-finals. There will be fewer teams playing and they’ll need some days to recover from previous games, so there will be days when there’s no games and I’ll push myself out the door to ride again.

Until then, RUGBY!!!

Month 2 – Week 5; Off With a Bang
September 17, 2019, 5:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, Saturday, August 14th started the 2nd month of the challenge.

I wanted to start it off strong. A test, if you will, on the feasibility of doing the extra miles needed for my corrected math. So, I looked around for a longer ride possibility even though my legs were still feeling the workout and ‘push it’ ride of September the 13th.

Perhaps even just have Jens drop me off somewhere to make my way home. The most ‘obvious’ place that came to mind for a start point was a church a bit north of here in a village called Björklinge. Loke and I have done a few rides in the area. For a short, but ‘other where’ ride off my local hamster tracks, we’ve done a loop around a little lake near the village several times.

I’ve also ridden from the church directly too home too. I seemed to remember that the distance was about 17 miles. Good enough.

I double checked it on my route planner and nope. Just 14 miles. Well, pooh. I wanted more than that. Then it occurred to me, I could add the lake loop and then head home. That would be about 22 miles. Acceptable. I was a little wary though. As I said, my legs were feeling the the gym and ride from the previous day.

Jens solved the problem by saying it would be no problem to come get me if I crashed into ‘The Wall’. Fair enough.

Loke was a bit disappointed as Jens drove off, me at the church. I wasn’t going to have Jens sit around waiting for me to call to let him know the furball had tired out. His stamina is so unpredictable. It could have been 20 minutes. Or it might have been an hour. I made a plan to go ride by the apartment and take Loke back with me to the storage when I reached Uppsala.

Other than Saturday being September 14th, and so the start of Month 2, my other reason for really wanting to go on Saturday was Sunday, all through the morning was supposed to rain.

Well, Saturday morning was mostly clear, which was nice, but it was nippy. About 44 F. A bit breezy too.

I put feet to pedals and started off on the steep-ish half mile climb that would put me at the intersection to cross the big road and go down the country lane that flanked the western side of Långsjön (The Long Lake).

I almost turned around to just do the 14 miles back first digging into that climb. My legs were tired. They had very little strength and ‘oomph’. There was a little argument in my head as I slooooowly cranked the pedals and crept up that first hill. Sensible me, knowing I should take it easier if my legs were that tired. I shouldn’t risk breaking myself. Stubborn me, with her teeth in the goal, refusing to let go and yelling, “NO! I need the MILES!!”

It was circumstances that decided the winner of that internal conflict. It was still raging as I crested the hill, scooted across the road and started the 1 mile (or longer) glide down to the lake’s level.

Oh, that part of the loop never gets old. Trees, and fields and sun shining on the lake off in the distance. Out on the waters, reflecting back the blue of the sky, I could see the white specks of some kind of water fowl bobbing on the waves rippled by a soft north-western breeze.

Once I was down that fun hill, the course was set as the idea of cranking back up that mile lacked appeal even knowing what climbs I had in front of me.

I turned the pedals lightly, not worrying about speed and just admiring the countryside. Though it was later than I had intended to start, the mid-morning light still had a touch of that golden quality. For about a half mile stretch, the lake shore is screened by slender birches well spaced and the ground between covered with lush green grass. There was a faint hint of autumn’s yellow blushing the leaves and combined with the tone of morning sun, it was magical.

Then it was climbing a bit more to get past the manor house with its stable and other outbuildings. Across from the main house itself a trio of horses watched me curiously as I crested the gentle climb and took off at higher speed down an even milder descent.

Before I knew it, the lake was out of sight and I was in the open with fields all around as I trundled down the part of the ride that is dirt road. The unpaved country lane wasn’t too bad as such things go. A little rough in spots, but the stones were small or just a bit of churned earth. Other sections had some wash-boarding, but swerving over into other parts of the road solved that. For one quarter mile or so, it was flawless. Hard packed and smooth as freshly laid asphalt with nary a dip, washboard, or pothole. Alas it didn’t last too long.

Along that stretch, Mother Nature gave a call. Actually, she’d been calling and I’d been racking my brain of where I could go as well as searching for somewhere acceptable. Finally, I found a spot with a road boom where a gravel track curved away, lined by shoulder high field weeds. Good enough.

Done, I came out and was fiddling my gloves back on before getting back on the road, when I heard a hawk’s cry. I looked up and there it was, circling the small, freshly plowed field across the way. It wasn’t so close I could make out the fine details, but enough that I smiled. I settled back in the trike as it continued to search the field. Against the blue of the sky, it looked peaceful though I’m sure it was hunting. That was about 5-8 minutes of just relaxation. Me, blue skies, and a hawk.

My return to paved surfaces was a relief since most of the dirt lane wasn’t as perfect as that single .25 mile stretch. Also, where the pavement returned was the end of most of the fields. It was back to pasture and farm houses, cottages, and the like. That was especially welcome as when I’d come around a curve on the lane, I discovered all those newly plowed fields had been fertilized with pig poop and I was downwind. Never pleasant.

The downside of that return to pavement were the hills I had to climb. That last 3 miles or so of the 8+ mile loop have the steepest and longest hills. Some fun parts to come down, but you pay for it in sweat and effort. My knees weren’t particularly thrilled.

I bulled through and then was within sight of Björklinge church again. It had been a bit over 2 hours for those 8-ish miles. After 11 am and I was feeling hungry. Rather than juggle around with trying to make my sandwiches on my lap in the trike, I headed for the picnic tables at the church parking lot. Full circle.

Filled my belly in relative comfort and ease, though when not moving and sitting in the shade, it was a bit on the chill side even with an extra layer of wool on my top. I also discovered a bathroom available on the church grounds. All the years I’ve ridden there, though not often, and this was my first discovery of the restroom.

Feeling refreshed and invigorated in a small way, I forged onward. At the very least I was going to reach Skuttunge church. It was only 3 miles away or so.

Within the first half mile, there was a drop in the landscape to a small stream, part of which has been dammed to create what I’m sure is a small mill race. I always come down that hill a little too fast to admire the stream below the dam, but given it’s on a blind curve, not too wise to spend more time there than absolutely necessary. So, it was just down fast and then push up as fast as I could to get to better lines of sight with traffic.

As I came up from the hollow of the stream course, I spotted a man at the intersection ahead. Bright yellow vest on and with a little red flag in hand. Huh. A race in the area, clearly.

He greeted me as I made the turn and then called out that ‘Vanliga cyklar’ (common/normal bikes) would be passing me from behind soon. Since he was behind me by time he said it, I gave him a thumbs up to show I’d heard.

Given the speed of racing bikes, it was surprising that it wasn’t until almost 15 minutes later they came. As I was rounding a gentle curve in the road, the view behind in my mirror blocked by road growth, I heard them before seeing. It’s a sound like a huge swarm of angry hornets really. A high pitched buzz of chains smoothly engaging over gear teeth and hum of narrow, high pressure tires on asphalt.

It was a tightly grouped race, I’ll give them that. The first and only pack of them blasted by, some 30 all at once, most of them wearing the same matching blue and white outfits as if on a single team. Between that first passing and the finish line, a spot in the small country road flanked by a pair of cones and a white slash of paint across the asphalt, there were only a few stragglers, less than a dozen. The only thing I could think, was it was a short race.

It seemed odd to have the finish line in such a no-where patch, but I guess it was a precise distance from the starting that mattered rather than a finish line of convenience at Skuttunge church less than half a mile away. Most of the riders didn’t even stop at the line, but pushed on to the church which makes sense. Convenient place to stop, out of random traffic and plenty of parking space to regroup, cool down, and perhaps load up bikes. At least the official there had some company. I wonder how he figured out how the individuals of that tightly clumped pack placed.

Winding through the last bit of road toward the church, where it curves around yards and pasture land, I was climbing a bit of a hill, quiet slowly because I was so tired, when I spotted an older man walking on the road side toward me. His pace was pretty brisk given he was using a walker. Seeing me, he gave the biggest smile and waved. “What a neat bike! Not part of the race though are you?”

His smiles was infectious and he had an impish humor as he teased about great a workout my arms must get. His name was Åke. I found this out because someone from the yard on the other side of the street called out a greeting to him. We said goodbye and went on our separate ways.


A horse eating rose-hips. A first for me to see.

Sweet relief to crest that climb and start the final roll down to the church. As I passed a small, overgrown pasture for that last stretch to the gravel parking, I saw one of the wild rose tangles rattling and jumping around. As I made the curve, I was finally able to see the gray horse determinedly yanking off mouthfuls of rose hips and munching them down.

I was so tired, but that stubborn part of me wouldn’t let go. Somehow, I scraped up the energy and will to push on.

I did a brief stop at Skuttunge’s vicarage near by, but it was closed up. I guess it’s considered more a private residence now than a show-case of Swedish culture as it used to be.

Between there and the outer fringes of Bälinge, things are kinda fuzzy. Only one thing ‘interesting’ happened and it wasn’t anything good.

There have been times lately, when swapping around my gears, I’ve been in my larger front chainring and clicked to go down into the small. And it didn’t happen. The chain just stubbornly stayed on the middle ring, making the hill I was struggling with even harder.

During the second half of the September 14th ride, it started happening more often than not. At one point, I had to get off the trike and physically move the chain to the lower ring. Once that happened, I stopped using my higher gears and just slogged along with the lower 11. That dropped my speed by a bit.

The other thing notable was that for about 2 miles, I did sort of have company. As I came up to an intersection with a sign indicating a riding ‘school’, a man and girl on bikes came out on the road in front of me. I’m slow, but amazingly, they made me seem a speed demon. Maybe it was the fact their bike tires were so low on air they were practically riding on rims. I’m baffled how they weren’t getting pinch cuts in their tubes. Seriously.

While the traffic wasn’t a steady stream, it was surprisingly busy on that narrow country road. While I might have been faster than they on the flats, I couldn’t remember if there were any significant hills. If there were, they’d be faster than me on those out of necessity if they wanted to stay upright. It seemed silly to do leap frog with them on the narrow way.

So, I went slow. The man did pull over and called for the girl to do the same to let me pass, but I waved him on with a cheery “please go on” and stayed back. I looked upon it as a sort of rolling rest.

Wouldn’t you know, I think it was the flattest 2 miles of the ride. They also turned off less than 100 yards from the start of the next considerable climb.

Up the hill and I was in Bälinge. Not much happened. It was just a matter of rolling through the village. I was looking forward to the next stage of the ride from there though. A cycle path.

Over 2 miles of it actually and along one of the bigger roads I’d be on for any amount of time for the ride. While there is one long climb, it’s a fairly mild grade and the rest of the path I’ve always been able to get descent speed on. That meant it was going to be a bit easier on my legs for a while.

And my legs were so tired. My knees ached. Yet it felt as if I were so close to home that it was silly to call for a pick up.

The first bit of the cycle path, I could just slump on the seat and go limp as I glided with gravity and a tailwind for help. That stiff breeze was welcome on the climb up to.

Before I knew it, there I was, leaving the path, whipping around a curve at a decent clip before taking a left, a sharp, fast plunge to the millrace at Ulva Mill. That of course, meant the hard slog back up.

Tired or not, I decided take the gravel cycle path along the river instead of the road.

So exhausted and my knees were complaining. It didn’t help it was only my lowest 11 gears that were usable so was pedaling more than I might otherwise have done.

Reaching Old Uppsala was a blur. Through the fog of pushing on, the reminder to myself that I was supposed to get Loke and ride back to the storage with him glimmered through.

I stopped at a junction at the burial mounds. Right was the mound path, the more direct way to the apartment. Left, was the way to take the road-side cycle path more direct to storage. Left meant mostly downhill, firm fresh pavement of the designated ‘cycle highway’. Right was steep (if short) climbs and loose gravel to make going harder. I fumbled for my phone and told Jens I was going to the storage. I was too wiped to come for Loke.

It was so nice to just kinda sit and let gravity do all the work for a mile or so.

During the last push for the storage,  as I was coming out of an underpass, I came into a tangle of dogs. What else would one call 5 dogs on leashes, all bouncing around to greet each other?

3 of them belonged to my friend who lives in the apartment building across from us. 2 Chinese cresteds, and one Chinese crested cross with chihuahua. Another was a black Staffordshire Terrier who belongs to another neighbor in the same building as my friend. The 5th, belonged to a man in his late 20’s, a pure white, Siberian Husky puppy just 4 months old.

She was so CUTE. I could tell she was going to have a personality like Loke. Doesn’t give a flip about most people and right up in the faces of all the dogs around.

I stopped as they tried to get the tangle out of the way, but ended up talking to everyone, asking about the puppy naturally, as well as general chatter. I ended up with one of the Chinese cresteds in my lap. At one point, I made a kissy sound as I petted her and she tilted her head and put the top of it to my lips to receive the kiss. That was just so sweet.

Finally, everyone pulled loose from the mayhem and we all went our ways.

24.95 miles when I rolled to a stop outside the storage. I could hardly walk. Everything hurt. Jens came promptly to get me and said he had sushi waiting for me at home. Bless my darling and thoughtful husband. And by some miracle, I was home just before 3 pm. The exact amount of time needed to savor 10 pieces of salmon sushi with plenty of pickled ginger.

The ride gave me pause in considering the whole challenge.

I’ve come to the conclusion, I need to temper it. Jens has been encouraging me to do that anyway, afraid I’ll hurt myself or burn out. I pushed so hard for those 25 miles and yet, I still was going to need another 53 miles before the week was out. I needed at least one recovery day from that big ride so over the next 5 days, I’d need over 10 miles EACH and every day of the rest of the ride-week.

Maybe I could do it, but the time it would take and how broken would I end up feeling only to have to hit the ground, spinning hard, for the week after that. I know there’d probably be a point where it would get easier, but would it come before or after I’d wrung myself out and ended up behind because I crashed and burned? Those extra 25 km a week were gonna be brutal. Worse than the first 2 weeks of my challenge were, I’m certain.

If I’d started training up before the challenge, perhaps it would have been manageable. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that.

Throw in that winter is coming and I don’t know how the cold is going to impact me. Are we to have a mild winter? Or a brutal one? Something in between? Studded tires – that says plenty all by itself. Harder work pushing those around. Harder still with studded tires and ice and snow and gravel strewn everywhere.

I’ve toyed with dropping the distance to 51 miles per week. That’s doable (at least before snow and studded tires and winter cold) and still gives a nod toward my birthday challenge. Jens thinks I should do a more modest 40 miles.

One thing we both agree is that I should keep some kind of goal as it is motivating me and the results have been noticeable. I’m smaller. I’ve had more energy, though it’s been hard to tell with how I’ve turned right around and burned it all up with pedaling the trike around like a mad woman. I’m sure it’s there though.

I want to keep that forward push. I would love next year to be a year of long countryside rides and perhaps even loaded camping tours.

I want to soar like that hawk.


Slumps and Surprises
September 16, 2019, 7:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, Wednesday, September 11th, I didn’t ride because, as I mentioned in the previous post, I seemed to be developing a cold. Gratefully, it never materialized beyond that sense of throat-scratchy, sneezing, and feeling ‘blah’. By that afternoon, I was feeling fine, but it was raining. With such a near miss of annoying illness, it didn’t seem wise to go out and tax my system with getting wet and chilled.

Thursday, September 12th, I felt fine, bounced out of bed to trundle to the kitchen for a morning drink of water. In my head, plans for the day played through. Scurry to the gym as it opened at 5 am, then Jens would drop Loke and I off at the garage where I’d roll him home before heading back out to get some miles. At the sink, I turned on the water with one hand and reached out to grab a glass with the other. The moment I tried to grip the cup, I yelped and cradled my hand. I couldn’t hold the glass.

I have no clue what I did during that night of sleep, but I couldn’t use my hand for anything. Any attempt to hold or grip anything sent a spike of pain through my wrist. So, the gym was out. I wouldn’t have been able to do the rowing machine for warm up, or swing around my kettle bells. Even just getting up and down from the floor for stretches would have been difficult. It put a monkey wrench on any plans to ride too. No way I could manipulate my twist grip shifters.

That was a fun day (sarcasm). In between walkies with Loke, I spent it as a vegetable on the couch, watching educational YouTube videos on my tablet to passively progress my skills as a 3D designer and modeler. Yep. Even spending more than 2-3 minutes at a time on computers was out. I kept my wrist stable and immobile with one of my exercise wraps.

There was no bad luck for me the next day, Friday, September 13th. I woke up and my wrist was fine as if I hadn’t needed to spend entire previous day coddling it. I put off going to the gym though as I’d over-slept. After doing a few tasks and getting Jens Starbucks, THEN I went to the gym and did a kick-butt workout.

I went back home to get Loke before heading to the storage. The furball had been quite a pest right when I’d gotten out of bed, so I figured it was safe to take him for a bit of an outing with the trike. It was even going to be something more than our usual ‘roll down to the football fields, past the fields, over to the swimhall and home’ mile. Not much more, but at least different directions for him and a tiny bit more distance to see how he’d do. After all, the past couple times I’ve taken a longer way back to the storage from home, he’d done very well.

He was quite interested as I readied the trike. We started across the park and he had a brisk pace and interested in his surroundings. Once we were out of the park, he picked up his pace, tail above the level of his back and a spring in his jogging step. We ‘cruised’ along at roughly 4.4 to 4.6 mph. I was moderately impressed.

Loke back at home with Jens and his scoop of lunch kibble, I headed back out to go buy the furball some more soft dog food. I sped off and just, wow. I felt great. Even having worked out hard that morning, I had plenty of ‘oomph’ and zipped along, pushing myself as much as I dared. Did a smidge over 7 mph average. Very good for me especially with kinda tired legs.

That wasn’t even the best or most surprising of the day. After finishing the loop of over 7 miles, I stopped back at the apartment to get Loke to roll with him back to the storage.

He was so happy! A husky smile, a spring in his old legs, and, delightfully, his tail was still up above the level of his back. I clipped him to the trike and he gave me an impatient “Woof!”

I loosed the brake and my ancient furball threw his weight into the harness and made the spring in his running bar squeak. Kangaroo hopping and pulling me into speeds of exceeding 15 mph are beyond him, but he was doing his best to pull. I accommodated him with more speed until we were rolling along the little residential street at over 5 mph. I was grinning happily at his enthusiasm. We cruised through the residential area and past the school at a pace between 5.4 mph and 5.7. I was very impressed.

On the other side of the school where the route goes from residential streets to cycle path, we approached the underpass. The trike had just begun to pick up a tiny bit more speed for the descent. Abruptly, Loke gave a lurch and my heart jumped into my throat, fingers twitching toward a hard breaking, expecting a seizure or his legs collapsing. Shock froze me before I clenched the brakes as, much to my amazement, Loke was RUNNING. I honestly can’t remember the last time he showed any inclination to even attempt a run. Yet, there he was, loping down the path to the bottom of the underpass. Once the ground leveled and then started back up out of the pass, he slowed back into his 5+ mph jog.

I’ll admit it, I got choked up. Tears in my eyes and all.

As we came up to the 2nd underpass, I was kinda ready, curious if he would do the miracle again. And he did and even better. I wasn’t sure how much better though as I was focused on him rather than looking at my Garmin for speed information.

It turns out, my furry old cycle partner hit 11.1 mph.

We got back to the garage with another 1.25 (give or take) mile and I think it was one of his best times in months. I gave him a hug and praised him effusively. I was still in a state of bemusement as I put the trike away. Loke had done most of the whole way at almost 5.5 mph not to mention two times he ran. Okay, so he ran for less than 100 yards between the two times, but he RAN. I can’t emphasize enough how significant that is.

Just beyond words how it really made me feel.

Loke Da Butt

Not just intense stares, but woofing, stomping, and whirling too.

Later that evening though, it got quite exasperating. Here he was, having gone with the trike for the longest this year and the fastest as well, and being a complete PITA.

He paced around harassing Jens and I both. He stomped his paws and woofed demandingly. Every time I moved, he’d give an excited whirl. I don’t know if his 40 minutes of a brisk pace and a short spate of running sharpened his appetite or what, but he was insufferable right up until I fed him right as I went to bed.

It almost made me regret that he’d been able to run. But only almost. Brat.

I can’t remember if I mentioned, but there was a sad bit of news about a week ago. I’ve been FaceBook friends with the lovely Norwegian couple who also had taken home a furry little member of the ‘E’ litter 14 years ago. One of Loke’s brother, Eric. Unlike Jens and I, they left his name as Eric. Loke was named ‘Ezlo’ at birth, but Jens had set his heart on Loke before we even found a puppy.

So, over the years, I’ve heard about Eric’s adventures. Winning races, going on hikes with his people. A few months ago, he abruptly went deaf. Still happy and energetic, but couldn’t hear a thing. About a month ago, they found a cancerous tumor, but Eric was still pain-free and loving life. Then in a week, the tumor apparently got very big and ugly and started to affect Eric’s quality of life. Just a few days after the 14th anniversary of bringing Eric the puppy into their home, they had to say goodbye to Eric the old man.

I cried. Tearing up typing this too. I’ll miss getting updates about Eric’s adventures. It was nice to feel a connection to Loke’s ‘greater family’ as it were.

This sorrowful news also gave me an irony. While Kerstin (Loke’s first human ‘mommy’) managed to keep track of most of Loke’s brothers and sisters, a one them did ‘disappear’ much to her distress. But of those there is still contact with, Loke appears to be the last. It’s very likely, he is the last of the ‘E’ litter born in 2005.

Strange to think, that out of the perfectly healthy ones, it’s Loke, plagued with health difficulties galore since the age of 4, and being allergic to pretty much everything that has outlived them all.

The Challenge Continues – Week 4
September 11, 2019, 5:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

September 4th, first day of the continuing challenge. Did I go out and ride? Yes! Jens worked from home. While he had back to back business calls and couldn’t really take Loke out, he was at least home to keep the furball company. I was gone for less than 3 hours any way.

I keep discovering that my countryside loops are smaller than I recall. The Ulva Mill/G.Uppsala Loop is a perfect example. I have a clear and, I thought, certain memory it was 14-ish miles. Nope. Less than 13 and that was after I added a bit of distance to it with a small River Loop extension. The only explanation that offers itself is perhaps I made a consistent habit of adding the northern river side out-n-back when I rode it. 12 or so miles, plus the 2 for the out-n-back comes to the right number.

It was a lovely day. I’d say the first day of 2019 that felt truly autumnal. At least until I got out into the countryside where the air was dead calm and under the full brunt of the sun which is still quite intense. In those conditions, it still felt as if summer had some fight left. In the shade or when I actually got some speed going, it was brisk. Delightfully brisk. How I loved it.

Since I’d gone to the gym first thing in the morning, my legs were a bit tired and knees somewhat fussy. That just meant taking it easy. I did push from time to time, testing myself on the flatter portions and managed some respectable RPMs (for me) and a decent cruising speed. When the knees gave even the least bit of a grumble, I dropped the speed and gears. Some of the steeper hills made them fuss even in the lowest gear, but they were fine as soon as the climbs were done. No harm.

It was a nice ride.

It did bring home the fact that food remains an issue with my cycling,  combined with the challenge. I wound up eating in the evening. Without the late supper, it was just silly that my entire day’s worth of food would have been a serving of fruit yogurt, a Starbuck’s hot chocolate, 2 clementines, and a sandwich to fuel, not just my basic daily calorie burn, but over an hour at the gym and 2 and a half hours of riding. I swore I could feel my body attacking my meager muscle mass for protein. It’s almost like I need to wake up and cook ‘supper’ to be eaten at 7 am to be sure I have more than 800 calories for my new very busy days.

September 5th. It rained until about 9 am, but with errand and tasks to do until about 11 am, it was no real issue.

By time I was done being responsible, it was sunny, about 68 F and ‘breezy’ I thought. At first I was pretty okay with the idea of getting out for 12+ miles. As I got dressed and started thinking about essentially riding the Ulva Mill/Old Uppsala loop again, I started to feel less enthused and downright ‘meh’. Still, I packed up some fruit and a Snickers bar, anticipating I wouldn’t be home in time for my ‘supper’ before 3 pm. Not to worry though, I had a nice big ‘lunch’ at 9:30 am.

To be sure I had extra miles for ‘just in case’, I decided I was going to be certain to add the ‘out-n-back’ of the river path that runs north of Uppsala’s edge. As I pedaled it, I discovered that ‘breezy’ was an understatement. The wind was fierce and whipping any bit of plant life within an inch of its existence. It was roaring straight out of the west too. The very direction I needed for the loop.

As if that was not enough to dissuade me from riding out into the countryside, the 2nd toe on my left foot started killing me. It felt as if the toe-nail was being slowly peeled back every revolution of the cranks. It finally got bad enough I had to stop when I came up to a path-side bench. I dug around in my bags and came out with a roll of duck tape.

Sitting on the bench, I pulled shoe and sock off and poked around the toe to figure out what was going on. Nothing obvious and the toe-nail seemed fine. Not knowing what else to do, I wrapped the toe with several layers of the tape in such a way there was a open space at the end. It was stiff enough to act as a sort of cast and protective bubble. It at least let me pedal as long as I didn’t flex or wiggle the toe itself. Uncomfortable, but still an improvement.

I didn’t want to combat high winds head on for 5+ miles on a route I was feeling ‘meh’ about with a toe that could start screaming any moment. Not to mention, Uppsala is kinda weird. Start riding west – into a headwind. Turn north – into a headwind. Turn east – into a… you get the idea.

Feeling bored and lethargic, I settled for just doing a loop through the northern fringes of the city. Trees and structures to shelter me from the worst of the wind and the hills aren’t quite so bad.

Just 8 miles which left me short of the minimum distance needed for my 5 rides a week. Actually, 8 miles a day for 7 days wouldn’t have been enough.

Friday, February 6th, I headed out with some errands in mind along with needing to make up some miles.

It was an absolutely stunning morning when I headed out with Loke to start the riding. About 58 F, flawless azure skies, and not much wind. The lack of wind was a welcome change over yesterday’s insanity.

I had decided to try taking Loke for his mile roll because it was the first morning in a couple weeks when he’d had energy and strength enough to display an attitude. He was bouncy, demanding, and just a pain in the rump almost from the moment I woke up. A nice change from the furry slug he’d been.

He did pretty good and soon I had him back home and headed back out the door to go buy him another can of soft dog food and then planned to ride across town to the biggest sporting goods store in the area. All this riding and going to the gym, I need more cycling/workout clothes.

It was another of those ‘coddle the knees’ ride. I did push it here and there when not dealing with too much in the way of climbs, but for the most part, just took it easy. The vet receptionist asked about how my challenge was going and then we talked animals briefly. She spent the evening taking care of a 9 week old kitten. Neurological damage and the little guy couldn’t blink. So, she had taken him home with her to get up through the night to moisturize his eyes and close them again to get him back to sleep. He’s improving.

When I mentioned about how I’d considered talking my hubby into letting me get a Maine Coon cat when Loke has passed, she gave me the name of a breeder, she trusts.

From there, I pushed off back to the cycle paths along the river to follow it all the way north. As I headed for the end of the path, I was given a real treat.

Pedalling north, I was startled as a large bird, less than 10 off the ground and 25 feet away, swooped across the path. A raptor of some kind, perhaps a common buzzard. So close I could see the barring on the feathers, the sharp hook of the beak, and speckles on the pale breast.

Where it had crossed, there was some open ground with tall grass. Perhaps it was looking for a meal. As it reached the tree line just 30-40 yards away, it banked to fly parallel to trees and path. I pushed the pedals faster to sorta keep up. Where the tree line came back toward the path, the bird darted over the path again and disappeared through the trees on the other side of the river.

I couldn’t stop grinning and my heart was racing. Barely 50 yards further on, it reappeared, flying lower and practically over my head as it headed over another plot of open land before climbing up and disappearing over the trees. I waited a few minutes to see if it was going to come back, but no such luck.

With an utter sense of delight at the experience, I went to the northern end of the path and doubled back to join up with the southern section of it where it goes right through downtown and out the south side of Uppsala.

The rest of the ride was uneventful as clouds moved in and it warmed up to almost 70 F. I made it to the sporting goods store, but found nothing I wanted. Then, with it coming up on 2:30 pm, I darted into a ChopChop for some orange chicken. That gave me the energy to push onward back home.

The solo ride of over 17 miles took me a smidge over 3 hours. I popped in at the apartment to grab Loke before heading to the garage. He was very interested as we rolled out, and still seemed stable, so I decided to give him a bit more distance than the measly 0.5 mile. 1.4 mile instead.

He did great. He was alert and engaged with his surroundings. Coming down the slope of an underpass, he amazed me by breaking 6 mph. It would be nice if he could build up more strength and muscle, but he’s had issues with his muscle mass and tone even before the health crash that brought him so low. Still it would be nice if he could start going 3-4 miles with me.

The distance more than made up for the previous day’s short fall. When I tallied up the total, I had to smile. Though I hadn’t made the 61 miles for the week yet, I was, however, just 3 miles away from getting the minimum distance for the month and with 8 days to spare. I was so thrilled! I’d done it!

Or so I thought. I since discovered that there was a miscalculation in the distance needed per week. I thought it was 100 km. If I wasn’t doing some kind of complicated way of tracking months/weeks/days, it would have been true. But no. I can’t do things simple and I did a way with a few weeks over the course of the 12 months. The ‘extra’ days for rest or catch up. Because of those, I need 125 km a week, coming to roughly 78 miles. 17 miles more than I’d been allowing myself.

61 miles had been hard, but 78 will be harder. Kinda. I’m stronger now I think so perhaps 78 miles will be as hard as the 61 miles were when I first started this insane challenge. Still, the problem is the time. I had figured that 61 miles was going to take 11-14 hours a week. 78 miles? I’m guessing that’s closer to 15-16 hours. Practically a full time job.

This realization came upon me on Sunday, September 8th.

That was a very lazy day. The realization I was actually behind in the mileage didn’t come until that evening. Thinking I was ahead of distance, I took Sunday as a full on rest day. A real rest day. Not one of those rest days where the only rest really is that I stay off the trike while running around like an insane woman. Walking the dog, zipping around town to do shopping and slogging back and forth with laundry bags for the wash. Nope. Sunday, September 8th, I was a lump and Jens was nice enough to do all but two really short walkies with Loke.

It felt so good even though there was that twinge of guilt. Jens heading away on business for Monday and Tuesday so my riding would be especially restricted. There was a little voice whispering that I should be taking advantage of the fact he was home. Nope. I didn’t even do house chores. Just languorously draped myself on the couch and watched TV. Then that evening discovered my miscalculations.

Then Monday, September 9th, it was tipping down buckets of rain. No ride then either though I did scurry around with shopping, walking the dog, and some laundry.

Tuesday, September 10th, I got out for a ride. The last day of week 4. Just a bit over 9 miles in my complicated morning. I headed out, by car, to the gym where I did a vigorous workout. From there, I drove to the storage and jumped on the trike, not only to get miles, but also Loke needed more soft food.

I had a  nice chat with the receptionist. She asked about my challenge and I explained the mess up with the math. She gave me some encouragement.

I did the latter part of the northern river path twice for the extra distance. I considered adding the burial mound paths, but started feeling stressed for time. I’d left the apartment at about 6:30 am and by time I returned to the storage, it was pushing 11 am. Off to Starbucks, where I finally had some calories. Jos, the barista I’m quite friendly with, gave me a pep talk about my rides and drew a cute little bike character on my cup.

Then shopping and home around 11:30 am. 5 hours I was gone.

Loke didn’t seem to care. I still felt guilty though.

September 11-13 are ‘free days’ before the new month begins on the 14th which also will reset my cycle weeks running from Saturday to Friday instead of Wednesday to Tuesday. Optimally, I’d be riding to catch up from my mess up with the math. Now, it looks as if I’ll be fighting a cold.

I felt fine when I woke up this morning (September 11th), but in the last 2 hours, I’ve gotten a sore throat, sneezing, and a general feeling of ‘I’m not feeling good’ sluggishness.

I’ll try to put the down time to good use though. Fold clothes and solve my rain/cold difficulties to keep riding through the harsher days of weather.