Terii’s Cycling Babble

Nearly Perfect Ride!
March 21, 2012, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

It was! Really! Nothing went wrong. The sadistic wind was no where to be found. Loke didn’t limp a single time. I didn’t need 3 layers (2 of wool) to poke my nose out the door with the trike. All three wheels stayed on the ground and seat attached. The rear derailleur had no meltdown. I wasn’t starving or nearly blind with a migraine.

The only things preventing me from declaring it a perfect ride are too minor to mention. I sound like one of those teachers who never gives anything more than an A- because ‘nothing is ever perfect’, don’t I? I’ll get to today’s ride after playing catch-up.

Friday before last (March 9) was the beginning of meteorological spring. The weather forecasters declare it so here in Sweden when an area has 7 consecutive days where each 24 hour period has an average temperature above freezing. So, when March 16th came, still above freezing, spring was officially here. Now, just need the equinox to make it doubly official!

Flash-backs of Öland.

Three days later? Snow! Not quite blizzard, but impressive all the same. The wind was howling around too. Fortunately, it was barely freezing and melted quickly on every paved surface, which I’m sure those city workers who had already started the annual ‘Great Vacuuming/Sweeping’ would have been pulling their hair out if it piled up.

During all this, Loke’s foot continued to improve. No more limping and the swelling was disappearing rapidly from his toe-webbing thanks to the most recent medication. THAT has been an adventure. A side affect of the anti-inflammatory Loke’s taken is increased thirst and urination. He more than quadrupled his water in-take and his morning pees were marathon sessions. He’d even lean against a nearby surface with his eyes closed. Except when Jens and I were sleeping, he was going out every hour and a half. Fortunately, his dosage has gone down by half and it’s more normal. It’ll get halved again in a couple days. If he’d stayed on the larger dose, I’d have been worried for his kidneys.

Since the last ride as well, I’ve been a bit sick which is why there’s been almost 10 days since I wrestled the trike out.

Today, I woke and felt okay. The morning was sunny with high thin clouds and the forecast said it could reach 14 c (58 F). Around 10 am, it was already about 10 c (50 F). I was going to do it! Loke was going to get a decent pace for the River Loop WITH Extension at the very least. I pulled on my normal cycle clothes with the idea of putting the extra layers over so I could get them off more easily if it proved too warm. Taking the trike body out first told me I wasn’t even going to need any layers. It was glorious! Birds singing and sun warm with calm air. I giggled.

Once I put his harness on him, Loke stayed glued to my right leg in ‘Hitched and Ready to Roll’ position as I tried to get everything else together in the apartment. Made it a bit more of a challenge.

About 10:45 am, I clipped in, released the brake and off we went! I could tell Loke expected a rolling walk. He didn’t try to drag me across the first street at Warp 7. He even gave me strange looks when I didn’t try to slow him down as he started loping. As we went on, I toyed with the idea of taking us further. 18+ mile Börje/G. Uppsala loop crossed my mind, but that seemed too soon to try with Loke’s feet. Instead I decided Läby church and then past the grocery might be better. That’s about 11 miles and not something we’ve done this year.

First Ride Of Spring!

Loke’s speed picked up when I didn’t make the turn for the shortened river loop I’ve been using for his rolling walks. By the time we reached the 272, he was loping along with the husky grin that I’ve missed so much. Coming down the first hill, I watched his stride very carefully, looking for any trace of a limp which I would have immediately turned home for. He ran smoothly and happily. It was hard to keep from fretting over it, but the beauty of the day began to work its magic on me. Soft, barely noticeable winds, a sun that was warm without being unpleasant and meadow larks! Those beautiful singing little birds I’ve missed so much are back! It sounded like dozens of them fluttered over every acre of ground singing their little hearts out.

Though it wasn’t a rolling walk, I did keep Loke’s speed down to around 7 mph, relenting only on the down side of hills for 10 mph. Since it was significantly warmer than our last dozen rides, I made sure to offer water every couple miles which he ignored. I made sure to torture him some too. Stopped at a bus stop around mile 4.5 to give him a brief, but intense brush down. Make all those singing birds happy.

Nothing Says Spring Like Green!

We made the turn toward Läby church and I felt a pang of nervousness. After all, it was along that stretch of road my derailleur gave up the ghost, but it went fine. A gentleman was walking his dog along the side of the road and Loke put on the speed. I’m sure he would have hit 20 mph if I’d have let him, but I kept him around 10 mph until we reached the rise of a hill and slowed to about 3 mph.

The hill was one of those that rises in stages and the road took a curve as we climbed. I had a pang of panic when along a small, dead-end road of dirt, from the corner of my eye, I spotted something large, brown and white bounding when we came to the next steeper section of the climb. Being so close to a cluster of houses, my first thought was ‘Crap! Big loose dog!’. As I turned my head to face it, I saw it was running away. A split second later, I realized it was a deer! Broad day-light and standing on a dirt road surrounded by houses. When I first spotted it, it had to be no more than 50 feet (15 meters) away. By the time I realized what it was, it was probably 150 feet away. I had to give a laugh of delight at seeing a deer so close mixed with giddy relief that I didn’t need to face down an aggressive dog.

Soon, we were cruising along curves and gentler slopes toward the 72. Loke still ran strong with a flapping tongue and giving me happy looks. In the distance, I could Läby church growing closer. As often as I’ve cycled past the church, I’ve never actually stopped there to look for rune-stones. I decided to correct the oversight and also take a picture of a runestone I’ve known about for a year though I’ve never cycled past it. I discovered it when my driving instructor had me drive past it during one of the lessons.

Läby Kyrka - 2007

Part of the reason I’ve never stopped at Läby church is because it lays on the opposite side of the 72. I’m not fond of playing Frogger across the traffic, but this time it wasn’t so bad.

Läby is tiny even for a country church and the church yard about the size of a postage stamp. Though the church and grave yard both date to medieval times, the earliest stones I could find had dates of birth in the late 1700’s with death in 1818. It took me less than 3 minutes to make the loop around the building.

The next turn I needed to reach the runestone was less than 100 yards up the road on the same side. Rather than risk the traffic on the 72, I made the scramble back to the cycle path and pedaled to the next spot that would let me cross again. That passage went less smoothly, but we made it in one piece.

03-21 b Uppland Runestone 903

It Pulls, But Will Have To Wait

Just around a curve immediately off the 72 and past a barn redolent with the smell of manure, I found the runestone I’d remembered. It felt wonderful to get the first runestone picture of the year! Loke sat impatiently as I pulled the camera out and stood to ‘collect’ it. He even woofed at me. Bossy furball. I sat back down to put the camera away and the view ahead caught my eye. I photographed it wistfully and stared ahead for a few seconds. The fields and road ahead which I’d never cycled called out to me. Regretfully, I turned the trike around. I wasn’t going to risk hurting Loke’s feet by adding who knew how many more miles.

Getting back to the cycle path was even more exciting than crossing to the runestone had been. Things were peaceful on the path though. Traffic may have roared along less than 20 feet away, but I only had to share my little road with one other cyclist who was out of sight less than 4 minutes after passing me. That’s on an arrow straight stretch of pavement. Yep. I’m slow.

Not far from the big grocery store Jens and I shop at the most, Loke actually drank the water I offered him which was around mile 8 or 9 I think. Quite surprising given he seemed a little warm coupled with the medication.

Only smooth packed dirt deep in a forest could be better.

Passing the cluster of stores, I made for the backside of the pet shop remembering a cycle path I stumbled on once. In spite of apartments on one side and street and shopping centers on the other, its a green haven of trees. Except for occasional glimpses of brightly colored building walls and the white noise of traffic, you could be miles from civilization. Though he hadn’t been laggard, Loke still perked up significantly when we paced into the shade of the trees. It felt almost chilly.

The entire patch of wood held a tangled web of paved and lit paths. It was less than 3 minutes of pedaling to the turn which I’d first taken when I’d made the discovery last year. Rather than head toward a service road and then through a neighborhood dense with little houses and side streets, I continued along the path which took me roughly the way I needed to go. Far more enjoyable than dodging cars and homeowners. My Garmin of course, showed no road.

The peaceful stretch of path ended on a small residential road  running along a cluster of fenced football (soccer) fields. I clutched at my brakes and smiled.

First Blossoms of Spring!

Flowers! Not just sprouts, but full blossoms! The first ones of spring! I stared at them blissfully as I offered Loke more water.

As I put the water dish and bottle away, a horn honked. Glancing up, I was met by a smiling man giving me a thumbs up in a postal truck.

I was in mood nearly as bright as the sunny day when I went on. The road came out in a familiar area and in minutes I was climbing the wooded hill along the Field Loop. The dirt path running between a natural park  and a huge field was a muddy mire with the snow melt seeping from the huge hill of the parkland.

Is it a dog or a rug??

20 minutes later, I was carrying the trike through the apartment door, a little sad to have the ride end. Though Loke had been quite perky the entire run, he came in, gulped water and laid down as I ran in and out. When I had everything in, I told him to get up so I could get his harness off. The only thing that moved was his eyes. He opened them and rolled them a bit to look at me before closing them again with a sigh. Don’t worry though. About half an hour after I started this post, he was chasing one of his toys around.




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