Terii’s Cycling Babble


Few, Far Between and Short
July 8, 2009, 11:39 am
Filed under: Misc

That’s how my rides have been lately.

After the ‘rotissarie’ ride, the weather just stayed the same.  Quite warm with temps in the mid-80’s and absolutely cloudless.  I simply couldn’t face it.

When did I turn into such a ‘heat wimp’?  I used to cycle in southern Mississippi in August where mid-80 temps would have been a blessing.  Now, here I am with a bit over 4 years in Sweden and last week,  just taking Loke out for a short 20 minute walk in the sun for his business leaves me nauseous and light headed.  The only thing I can guess is that in Mississippi, after I pedaled or hiked for a while, I could slip into the delightful chill of air conditioning.  Something that is nearly non-existent in Sweden.  Thankfully, we had a storm front come through and since then the temps have been blissfully back down into the 65 F range.

This summer has been a wetter one then the past few and up until last week, cooler as well.  It’s been showing it self in huge swarms of mosquitoes in places I’ve never really seen that many of them.  About half a mile from home, there’s a lovely short stretch of green.  Large old trees shading the unpaved bike/foot path with cool packed earth and leaf loam.  Loke stopped in that section for a potty break last ride and in seconds we were swarmed by a few dozen of the little blood suckers.  I’ve ridden that stretch for 90% of my rides and Loke almost always stops along there for bathroom breaks and I have never had that happen.  It was almost surreal.

It’s been a rather rough year for cycling so far.  Most recently the fairly warm days and me getting heat sick.  Loke also had a health incident.

Woke up on July 1st (Loke’s whelping day incidentally) and Loke was walking funny.  A few hours later, he could barely walk.  His hind legs were doing weird things as he tried and he couldn’t sit for anything in the world.  When he’d lay down, he’d just kinda… flop for lack of a better term because he couldn’t do the initial sit to slide into lay.  There’s a vet a very short distance from here (3 min walk) that we drove to since Loke was in no condition to get there under his own leg power and we had no idea what might need to be done to him.

Thankfully, it wasn’t anything too serious.  I was a bit worried when the vet was baffled and ordered up x-rays.  Loke’s brother from the same litter was put to sleep after he was afflicted with some sort of mystery but debilitating pain.  After some poking and prodding, the vet discovered what it was.  They knocked him out and the next morning, he was vastly improved.  The day after that (July 3rd), he was harassing me to take him out with the trike.

But all these little incidents keep adding up.  Blinding tooth ache, tendentious, cold/flu for 3 weeks, heat sickness, my tent ordered on July 23 still hasn’t shipped and is holding up my touring plans, yadda, yadda, yadda.  I had hoped to break over 2,000 miles this year.  That’s roughly 750 miles more than last year since I had a 3 week period where I had to desperately try to find a replacement left crank for my special, now out-of-production road chainset with 155 mm cranks and a few shorter stretches (vacations, etc) where I couldn’t add miles.  So, I figured if I started as early as possible this year and keep to it as long as I can before winter shuts me down, 750 miles is nothing.  Right? *sigh*  I’ll settle for 1,500 miles.  Or even 1,300.  As long as it’s more than last year.

At least this winter I can still keep some condition since I found a trainer that could be adapted to my trike!  I’ll just rack up an insane video rental bill as I watch movies and pedal like I did all through January and February this year.

July 6 - Gamla Börje Road

July 6 – Gamla Börje Road

Any way, since the rotisserie ride I described in my last post and the above mentioned Loke incident, I’ve only taken 2 very short rides.  One on Monday was just over 8 miles.  I had planned to do the Ulva/Gamla Uppsala Loop, but was keeping an eye on the pads of Loke’s feet and wasn’t sure he could handle a full 14 miles without booties.  And I didn’t have booties.  It was fairly cool and mostly cloudy.  As you can see in the picture, it’s not that uniformly gray sheet over the sky, but those vibrant broken sort of clouds that give such beauty and character to a leaden gray sort of day.

I do have to say that from spring to autumn in Sweden can be so incredibly full of vibrant color   Spring often has a slow start, but then it just explodes.  Trees burst into leaf almost over night.  Crocus spring out of the ground with incredible shades of purple, white and yellow.  Daffodils everywhere.  Then for summer, the greens deepen to become rich calming shades that are still very strong and alive.  Throw in that the plant that produces canola oil is a common crop here and its flowers are bright yellow, you end up with vast stretches of intense yellow against backdrops of  blue (or gray) sky and deep earthen greens.  One place I want to photograph in the next couple days has these bright lilac flowers pushing up between wheat stalks.  Just a carpet of blue-ish purple and pale green over an entire field with a canola field beyond it.  Yellow, green and purple.  How Mardi Gras!  Throw in the ‘weed’ flowers that grow along roads but are still in intense shades of red, purple, white, and yellow.  With my trike so low to the ground, it’s most often those weedy road flowers I see.

The last ride which was yesterday, I didn’t have booties again, but I didn’t plan anything more than my ‘river loop’.  The River Loop is the equivalent of a jog around the block for someone who can run 5 to 10 miles.  It comes in 2 flavors   Unextended which 3 miles.  Extended which adds a 2 mile out and back stretch along the river.  We did the extended.  The extension is actually a fairly new addition.  I rode it one time before they paved it.  It was rough going for both Loke and I.  Two narrow gravel strips where the tires of cars might have passed a few times with a bit of weed pushing up.  Taller weeds down the center and pushing from either side of the track.  Loke had to hop through the weeds more than walk or jog.  I had to force my way over/through with weed stalks getting caught on every part of my trike.  About a month after I’d discovered the path, they closed it off and started paving and lighting it.

River Loop Extension

River Loop Extension

Now, it’s a comfy stretch of pavement that follows the river bank past crop fields.  The weeds can still get rather high along parts of it, but the paving holds them at bay.  Believe it or not, to the left of that wall of tangled stalks is a picnic table.  I can’t imagine anyone using it.  Most people aren’t going to push through weeds tall enough to lose a small (or even not so small) child in.  To the other side is the river.  Last year, there were the weeds, but they were covered by bright white flowers that looked a bit like daisies.  Much prettier.

So, this is my non-route specific babble.  Hopefully in the next few days I can change that.  I’m hoping to do a longer ride before the weekend is out.  Maybe my first planned stretch of the Sverigeleden which I figure is 50 to 60 miles.  Fingers crossed!

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