Terii’s Cycling Babble

November 29, 2010, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Misc

Yep.  It’s happened.  Above is how the view of our ‘yard’ looked in May.

This past Saturday?  This is what we had.  One of my frequent readers commented there’s a bitter winter forecasted and it seems it’s come upon us a bit early.  We haven’t had this much snow at this time of the year in quite a while.  Last year we didn’t even get our first snow fall until almost Christmas!  November 11th was our first ‘real’ snow fall.  Almost 2 feet which vanished over a couple days.  Quite impressive!  We’ve had lows around -15 c (5 F for us non-metric types).  Brr.

Obviously, my cycling has been in front of a TV.  With the sheer amount of snow and cold, I’m going to guess my cycling season is over.  In many ways, it has been a disappointment.  I had such hopes and plans for it which mostly involved lots of cycle touring particularly during the month of the World Cup.  I never had a chance for even one cycle tour.  It was also one of my shortest years in terms of distance.  I think I even covered more distance my first year with the trike.  A measly 335 miles.

In a few ways, it was something of a success though.  The sheer number of runestones, castles and churches are a new record!  Most of what I cycled was new territory.

Churches – 31

Rune Stones, Grave Mounds/Fields, Carvings – 34

Castles/Manors – 10

Those are definitely new records for a year’s pedaling!  The places I covered were beautiful and interesting.  I especially loved the trip up north.  So, at least it wasn’t all bad!

I’ve noticed a few hits to my blog from searches for the Sverigeleden.  So, for those who are non-Swedish speakers, I found this –  http://www.svenska-cykelsallskapet.se/images/sveledeng.pdf

I loved how it had the totals for the distance.  The entirety  of the Sverigeleden covers some 11,000 km or a bit over 6,800 miles.  That sort of puts my ambition to cycle even most of it into a boggling perspective.  I still like the idea though!  Knowing me, I’ll add to it because I’ll look at a map and say, “Oooh!  A church just 5 miles off the route!” or “A castle!! Must see it!!”  I’ll be zig-zagging all over the place.

Random non-cycling information.  Uppsala was featured in a documentary called, “Clash of the Gods”.  It’s an interesting series where they touch on all sorts of myth and legends.  Everything from Greek and Roman, right down to Lord of the Rings.  I caught an episode today about Thor.  Uppsala was mentioned as they were talking about the conflict between a Swedish king who was determined to force his country into Christianity.  Uppsala was the sight of one of the largest pagan temples.  That much I already knew as well as the sacrifices, both human and animal, which were hung in the sacred grove now long gone.  What made me smile the most was when they actually showed the church and the mounds.  Places I walk and ride over so much year after year on a non-Swedish documentary which is shown internationally.  I think the only thing that would have made me grin more was if I’d caught a documentary about the tiny little ‘Spanish Fort’ I used to enjoy spending time at as a child in Pascagoula, MS.

Spanish Fort was not really a fort, but supposedly one of the oldest standing residential building in the state of Mississippi.  Old brick and ancient timbers of a tiny 3 room house.  I used to love going there as a child.  Walking around the silent rooms with their thick, plastered walls.  Back then, it was free and anyone could come and go on the grounds at will.  The last time I went in my late 20’s, it was disappointing.  They had to do massive work on the building and it felt like there was little left of it.  All reinforced with little glimpses at the old walls and floors through plexiglass.  It was a bittersweet thing to see.  So little left of what I loved from the long summer days there.  Stretching out under the shade of an old pecan tree to eat my picnic lunch after fishing and crabbing in the nearby bayou all morning.  Ah, the golden days of childhood.

So, that’s my ‘year-end’ blog.  I guess it’s now time to hit the trainer hard and make plans for when the snows give way again sometime in March or April.  Hopefully next year will see me touring.  I’m crossing my fingers.  Even my toes for more luck!

I Miss The Meadow Larks
November 1, 2010, 11:54 am
Filed under: Day Rides

I’ve been quiet here I know!  The reason is we had a cold snap and I have an aversion to chills.  This past week, however, the cold broke.  Last week Loke and I accumulated almost 35 miles!  No new photos though since it was just my short loops. 

The first trip was on Thursday and Loke was delighted when I held out his harness.  He loves running with the trike so much, he’ll put his head through the proper loop before trying to get his leg through the other one unprompted.  One of the main reasons I went for the ride was to give my husband a bit of a break from walking the Furry One both mornings and evenings.  I decided we’d do the full collection of the really short loops.  River Loop and its extension as well as the field loop addition.  It was a fun ride for all that it was over old ground.

The first moment of amusement came as we were pedaling up the wooded hill of the field loop.

Last March on one of our first rides of the year, Loke and spotted this little critter. —->  Loke was completely entranced with it and seemed convinced he could have gotten into the trees and caught it if he hadn’t been tethered to the trike.  Even after almost 7 months since we last rode the loop and saw the squirrel, Loke remembered.  The entire time we were creeping up the slope and then coasting along through the chill, wet autumn shadows at the crest of the hill, Loke had his eyes firmly fixed upward as he craned his head around.  He was so intent on finding that squirrel again, he didn’t even notice when another dog passed us.  I couldn’t stop laughing.

I think what amused me most about the incident was a few days before while watching a documentary on dogs,  I’d been impressed by the fact that Gordon Setters can remember where they found birds in a field even after a year.  Yet here was Loke remembering that squirrel almost as long.  Suddenly, Gorden Setter memory didn’t seem quite so special. *grin*

There was still more waiting for us as we zipped down the hill and under the 55 overpass toward the vicarage.  We’d slowed down to climb the long, but not so steep hill when this small orange-ish dog came running up.  She was barking furiously as her owner kept calling for her.  Once she got close, she was all tail wags and licking though.  The owner caught up and we ended up talking about our dogs for almost 20 minutes.  Laika (the same name as my in-laws Standard Poodle) got rather bored waiting for her owner to move on and climbed up into my lap for a nap.  Much to my surprise, that drove Loke crazy!  He kept trying to paw her off as he smooshed his nose against my cheek the way I taught him to ‘kiss’ when he was a puppy.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen any indication of jealousy from him.

When we finally moved on, Loke was still acting very weird.  For a mile as we zipped along at almost 12 mph, he kept his eyes on my face.  It made that section of ride a bit interesting.  Like most animals, a dog’s body wants to follow the head.  I had to grab hold of his harness to keep him on a straight course instead of swerving into the trike.  It wasn’t until we were almost home when he quit that intense staring.

The next day (Friday), I rode again.  This time I decided to do Ulva/Gamla Uppsala Loop with the River extension thrown in.  Loke was still happy to head out the door and kept a good clip.  We didn’t get to do the whole extension though.  There was work being done on the small bridge over a drainage ditch, but the rest of the ride went without a hitch.

Again, Loke was the most interesting thing on the ride.  Someone on a bike passed us as we were riding by some fields.  The sun already stays quite low in the sky.  Even at noon, shadows are quite long.  As the man was pulling away ahead of us, his shadow stretched some 60 feet or more out over a roughly plowed field.  Something about the play of the shadow of his head over the tumbled dirt really kicked in Loke’s prey drive.  The guy was riding hard and at a good speed, but Loke was determined to catch his shadow.  He kept his eyes riveted on the end of that long, black shape as it skittered over the earth and hit a flat out run.  I was more than happy to accommodate the Furry One and hammered the pedals as hard as I dared.  Laughing the entire time, of course.’

It was during this ride I discovered how much I missed the meadow larks or any singing birds for that matter.  The country side just felt so barren.  Most of the deciduous trees have dropped their leaves.  Fields have been plowed to wait the snows so they’re all black or gray.  With cloudy skies, conifer trees look more black than green.  Add in the lack of birdsong, it gave the land an empty feel.  I think I would have even welcomed kaya (crow-like bird with a dark gray head and black body) even if they aren’t that musical.

Saturday we took a bit of a break before heading out for another ride yesterday.  I’d started with my lesser favorite short ride, but the clouds thickened and the temperature dropped so I cut about 4 miles off.  That gave Loke a boost since it meant we were riding for a bit over ground we’d never been on.  It was along a busy road so lacked any real appeal for me, but it seemed to make him happy.  Not much else to really say about that ride other than ‘brrr’.

It was good to get a few more rides in though.  Unexpected.  Almost 35 miles!  I might even break 400 miles for the year when I do the totals at the first sign that winter is settling in for good!  *fingers crossed*