Terii’s Cycling Babble

The Weatherman Lied!
March 11, 2011, 3:25 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

And in a good way!  We were supposed to have clouds and rain/snow mix with colder temps.  It kinda started that way.  I woke at 3 am to the pattering sound of melt and rain.  After failing to get back to sleep, I got up around 4 am.  It stayed gray for a while longer, but by 9 am, the clouds began to break!  Around 10 or 10:30, I poked my nose out the door and decided with my wonderfully heavy thermals (400 g wool for bottoms and 200 g weight top) I’d be just fine.

Loke showed a little more enthusiasm this time.  As I pulled on the thermals and rest of the layers, he was sitting by the door, his tail wagging.  By the time I burdened myself with the first load of things to go out, he started to get worried he’d be left.  When I came back from taking the trike out, he wedged himself against the door, determined HE would be the next thing to leave the apartment.  He gave a gusty sigh as if in relief when I picked up his harness.  Once outside, he waited with an amazing level of calm as I settled a few things before we were ready to go.  The main thing I did was switch the camera bag to the left side of the trike.  Every instinct in me wants to keep it on the side AWAY from passing cars, but I knew it would stay drier on the left.

We began and Loke, as ever, wanted to do his wild mile.  It completely baffled him when I yelled for him to go right, but he quickly picked up speed in the new direction as I guided us out toward the Vaksala/Gränby loop.  It’s the 2nd of our short loops and, at 14-ish miles, seemed a good choice since the muscle burn I had from the Ulva/Gamla Uppsala Loop.  With the chunky, studded rear tire and into a stiff breeze I didn’t really push too hard, but we still were cruising along at 7.5 mph.  Imagine how much faster we’d have been with all around slicks, no wind and pavement clear of the inch of gravel. *chuckle*

I tried to leave behind the busier road and go over cycle paths through a residental area, but they proved far too choked with snow and ice for me to risk.  Loke’s ears were flattened back a bit as he gave me irritated side-long glances when I did a 3 point turn to head back to the main road.

Random Scenery

Soon enough, we left the residental area around Gamla Uppsala behind for the beauty of snow covered fields, wooded hills and blue skies.  It actually felt warmer than it had on the 8th, but it might have been because of my different arrangement of layers though that wouldn’t exlain the warmer hands and feet.  Either way, I was quite happy with the temperature though my eyes teared quite a bit when the wind came from certain directions.

Studded Tire Necessary

There was a lot more ice on this loop.  At times we ran on thick sheets of it laying across the edge of the road when we had to let cars pass.  Sometimes it would give this loud POP beneath our weight and startle Loke.  His hindlegs would come up as if he were going to do a front paw stand as he’d shoot a worried look at the back wheel.  Amazingly, when he did that, he barely seemed to break stride.  Another section of road was nothing but ice.  Still hard and uncracked by the warming temps, it didn’t offer much purchase even for the studs as the tire slipped as much as it gripped.  For the 100 yard climb, I’m sure I pedalled for almost 200 yards worth.

Where it wasn’t smooth and hard, the ice resembled the shaved or crushed ice used in snow cones.  It crunched, popped, crackled and snapped rather like riding over an endless expanse of corn flakes.  It slowed me down quite a bit too.  At times, I felt like I rode through sand.  Other times, I was slipping in all sorts of wierd directions though with the trike I don’t have to worry about falling down.  The slipping didn’t seem to phase Loke much, even when he got yanked or shoved.  He kept trotting along, ears up, tongue lolling as he scanned the fields and woods.

I had a longish stop at one point.  One of the horse farms along the route apparently has a new batch of animals.  Two closest to the road completely freaked out when they saw us coming.  For a moment they even looked desperate and frightened enough to jump over or go through the electric fence.  I stopped and talked to them, even got up from the trike in an effort to calm them, but they were having none of it.  In direct contrast, two horses on the other side of the road were nickering as if they would have loved for me to give them a scratch.  After about 10 min, I decided there was nothing for me to do, but continue on.  I went as slowly as I could, talking to the frightened ones as the others walked along with us.  Finally, the skittish pair bolted along the back fence line so they were behind us.

It was rather amusing when the next horse stable down the road, they never even looked up from digging in the snow for winter-dried grass.

By mile 10, my legs were tired, but I was surprised at the complete lack of lactic acid burn in the thigh muscles that made the last 3 miles of my last ride so difficult.  It was around there the completely open stretch of road begins.   Nothing but flat, glaring white to either side for a quarter mile or more.  The wind which had been a moderate to stiff breeze the rest of the trip howled over that unsullied snow and tired me faster than the studs, hills, gravel or slushy ice.  It also sucked the cold from that frozen expanse and blasted it into my face.  My brow stung and, with the tears streaming down them to add to the chill, my cheeks burned.  Except for flatting his ears and narrowing his eyes to keep the wind out, Loke didn’t seem to notice as I hunched down miserably in an attempt to protect my face.  By the time we reached hills, trees and buildings again, my face felt sore and tender.

Then it was past Vaksala kyrka, looking beautiful in the snow with the blue sky as a backdrop.  I managed to work my way around the tangle of the new cycle paths so I didn’t have to cross a busy street.  The cycle paths on the other side of the mall were remarkably clear.  There were only a few small patches of ice and maybe three deep puddles.  As I cycled past a certain group of trees, I was surprised to hear the murder of crows gathering there already.  Every year for the past 3 I’ve passed by, it’s been the nesting place of those crows and who knows how long it’s been their place.  I thought it a bit early for them to start nesting though.  I guess I need to get busy brushing Loke on these rides so the birds can use his fur for nesting material. Hehe.

More Gray Than Usual

I felt pretty good once we coasted the last bit of the way home.  My legs were tired, yes.  Climbing the stairs was no problem nor were the three trips to get everything back into the apartment.  Loke flew inside and started attacking anything vaguely fabric like in a frenzy of face rubbing before he flopped down on the towel I used to get the worst of the mud and wet off his legs and tummy.  Two perfectly nice beds and he curls up on a thin little towel I laid down over a wet spot he left on the floor.  I guess that’s good though, the towel is easier to clean than his beds and even after 10 min of scrubbing, he still looked gray.

It was a good day.  I’m so glad the season has started!!


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