Terii’s Cycling Babble

Oops! I Almost Broke Loke!
June 19, 2009, 5:36 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Or something rather close to it any way.  We’d had almost a week straight of rain, or if it wasn’t raining then heavy drizzle at least.  Finally Monday night it stopped and the forecast for Tuesday was mostly sunny.  After being cycle-less for so long, it felt good to go out.  I was feeling that the Ulva/Gamla Uppsala loop would be just too short.  It’s not even 2 hours even at Loke’s pace.  So I headed out to do the Börje/Gamla Uppsala Loop at the very least.  The sun was shining and the breezes were cool as Loke and I headed out.  It was just one of those perfect days to be out and moving.  Even though we were on ‘old ground’, Loke was happy to be out as well and was keeping a good clip.  20 miles abruptly seemed rather short as well.

I decided to aim for something between 25 and 28 miles.  There was a large extention I’d added to the Börje Loop once which came out to be about 35 miles, but I remembered there had been an unpaved turn sort of in the middle of it that I was fairly sure would cut about 10 miles off the loop.  I thought that was just perfect so I headed for it to at least check out the condition of the road.  Worse case, I’d get to the turn off to see that it looked too bad to cycle on and turn back to finish the Börje route with a single out and back extention.

The turn was as I remembered it.  The dirt was hard packed with patches of loose gravel piled up where vehicle tires didn’t go.  Even with a week of rain, the earth was damp but not loose trapping mud.  Off we went.  Loke was delighted with the new ground and was keeping a good pace.  I did my best to have him run on the smooth packed ground even when it meant rattling my teeth out with one of my front tires in the rocks.  It wasn’t bad going and scenery was pretty.  Mostly fields, many of them flooded.  A large ditch or canal ran along a large section of it as we went and was full to the brim.  I’m sure another day’s rain would have had the road underwater.

I kept looking at my GPS and trying to judge how much distance Loke and I were going to accumulate.  I was expecting some sign of coming out near a place called Skuttunge, but we just went on and on.  The road meandered quite a bit and then we finally came to a junction with another dirt road.  My first thought was, ‘Hm.  Potentially not good.’  There was a sign for Oxsätra which was a tiny collection of houses and farms on the 35 mile loop I had been trying to cut short.  Off we went in the other direction.

I was feeling okay even as we hit mile 20 and we still had at least another 10 miles to go.  It was still a very nice day.  The clear skies had been cluttered up with fluffy white clouds.  It gave the sky some character and the passing cloud shadows were good for Loke as well.  While, he is a husky and bred to chew through the miles, he’s not made to do it in June even if it is a June day in Sweden.  I made sure we stopped every few miles to brush him out to dissipate heat trapped under his fur and offer water.  So, jogging in the shade of passing clouds was a good thing for him.

Country Road

Country Road

One amusing moment occurred shortly after we had made the turn away from Oxsätra.  The turn was sharp enough that we went almost parallel  with the road we had turned off.  There was a narrow wedge of a pasture between them.  It was almost a lake, covered with water a bit over 2 feet deep and a small hill in the center with boulders and a few trees.  In the pasture, about a dozen cows were snorkling for grass.  Cattle are funny.  Most other animals (sheep and horses, even other dogs), generally freak out when they see us.  It’s probably more the odd shape of my trike AND the fact I have a dog attatched that scares them.  Not cows.  They have such a strong sense of curiousity, they’ll watch us intently as we go by.  Or, even more fun, they’ll some times follow us along the fence line.  Which is what these water cows did.

It usually makes Loke nervous when cows do that.  He’s fascinated by them until the lumbering begins and then he’s nervously looking over his shoulder as we go along.  I suppose there’s something about many, many tons of heavy flesh and hooves pounding behind him that makes him uneasy.  It was even worse this time as there was all the huge splashes of water flying everywhere as they followed along.  Loke dragged the trike into a run about then.

Finally, we came out off of the dirt road and my concern heightened a bit when I saw where we were.  My Garmin Forerunner GPS read we had cyled about 23 miles and I knew we had at least another 10 to get home.  Definitely more than the 28 miles max I’d been aiming for.  I let Loke rest for about 10 minutes in a shady spot tethered to a tree, making sure he was well watered as I debated just parking us and giving my husband a call.  What actually decided me was the fact that Loke was still restless.  He was a bit warm, but wasn’t laying down.  Every time I shifted on the trike, he’d stand up like ‘Go?”.  With him still looking energetic, we pressed on.

Pretty Little Stone Bridge

Pretty Little Stone Bridge

After a few more miles, we came to Bälinge.  It’s a small town about two miles from Ulva Mill, so we still had about 9 miles to home.  I remembered a little restaurant along the way through the town and Loke and I both could use a break longer than 10 minutes and maybe a bit of something to eat.  We’d been burning a lot of energy and silly me, not expecting to be out for more than 3 hours or so, hadn’t packed any food for either of us.  Behind the place was a football field surrounded by a grassy section with some nice birch trees.  Parking the trike, I leashed Loke to one of the trees and came back with an apple for me and ice cream for Loke.

By then, Loke was quite happy to get off his feet.  He was rolling around in the grass when I walked off.  He did stand up when I came back.  He KNEW I had something for him.  He laid down sphinx like and licked his ice cream with a dreamy look to his half closed eyes as I held it and munched on my apple.  I do believe that’s the slowest Loke has ever consumed human food.  He still appeared to have plenty of go the way he jumped up when I went to throw away the wrappers and such.  So, I pedalled us on.

The rest of the way was pretty much Ulva/Gamla Uppsala Loop.  The furry one was still running good, though he did seem a bit disappointed as we whipped by the mill.  My guess is, he was hoping for more ice cream since I often stop there to buy him that.

Finally we got home roughly 6 hours after we’d left and the GPS read almost 35 miles.  Still, Loke seemed fine.  He went up the stairs a bit slower than usual, but he’s done that even after 20 miles only to want to go cycling again 2 hours later.  I was relieved.  Though the Långtora trip was around 34 miles and Loke was perky a couple hours after it, we’d had that 1 month+ of no cycling and since resuming we still hadn’t been cycling much or far.  That’s brutal to stamina.  He came in, gulp a bit of water, flopped down on the floor and turned into a panting rug.

There was no indication of anything unusual until I came home from the grocery about an hour later.  Loke came to meet me at the door and he was limping badly.  When he’d sit, he’d hold his left paw off the floor.  I cleaned it and could find no indication of a wound.  Near as I could tell it had to be some sort of soft tissue injury.  A bruise or pulled ligament.  He slept and limped most of Wednesday, especially in the morning.  I felt horrible watching him hobble along when I took him out for his business.  I was determined to take him to a vet by Thursday if he didn’t improve.

Improve he did.  I think he sensed the impending vet and he doesn’t like it much.  By Wednesday evening, he was barely limping and even wanted me to throw his ball a few times.  Yesterday, his normal energy had returned and he was getting that ‘attitude again’.  The one where he’s telling me, ‘Trike! NOW!’


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