Terii’s Cycling Babble

October 5, 2012, 8:10 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Flight? Booked.

Hotel? Booked.

Visit to ICE? Booked.

Jens seems a bit bemused by my plans. I think he expected that I’d given up on the idea of going to England after tentative plans this spring fell apart in a cascade of stress. It probably baffles him even more than I’m calmer about going alone than I was when trying to plan for his mother or one of his sisters to accompany me.

There’s a number of reasons for that. Firstly, I’ve had time to calm my mind over the London issue. I won’t actually be going INTO London except Paddington Station where I will catch a train to Falmouth. Big relief. No anxiety over trying to plan what I can or can’t do in London to keep someone else amused while accommodating my limited walking range or willingness (or lack) to stay up late.

The same is true of activities in Falmouth. If my ankles or back start bothering me, I can find somewhere to sit and relax. It might not be exactly what I want to do, but at least I can if need be without feeling like I’m ruining someone’s fun. Goodness knows I’d be running all over the place like a crazed woman trying to see everything in 1 day if I were physically able to. Before my ankles were wrecked, I did just that. Exhausting everyone around me as I ran about like a squirrel on speed to do this, see that, too much to do in x-number of days!! I have to accept that I can’t do that FOR NOW.

It’s odd I feel stress at that but when it was the other side of the coin, I completely understood when others wanted or needed to slow down, relax.

While bashing out the plans for my trip, I also went for a ride. Wednesday, I packed up the camera with the intention of finding the stones at a burial ground along my Läby/Grocery Store loop. Hard to believe, but there was sunshine! Real, honest yellow/white light from the sky in between clouds which for once didn’t drop rain! Loke was excited as we set off on the beginning of the river loop while I hoped that Gamla Börje Road was done being paved.

It was! The new smooth, pitch black surface felt incredible beneath my wheels. It even felt easy to climb that first steep hill right of the 272. All the tooth rattling, overlapping patches? Gone! The stretches of road where parts of it had subsided making for wonky angles unless one rode in the center? Level! The yards long cracks gaping up to 4 inches wide, waiting to devour tires or dog paws? Gone! I’m not sure how long it will last, but I enjoyed it all the same!

The colors out in the countryside were a little disappointing. In Uppsala proper, there are quite a few trees in brilliant oranges and blazing reds to take the breath. Beyond the city limits, the trees which aren’t conifers seem to be restraining themselves to muted yellows.

Even so, we enjoyed being out in the brisk 55 F air with a soft sun playing peekaboo with the clouds. After more than a week of dull gray skies and dimmed light it was glorious.

It felt like no time at all that I was crossing the 55 near the Shell station to putter down the dirt road to the parking lot for the burial ground.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the stones. I put Loke on his flexi-leash before tucking the GPS into the camera bag with my phone and settling the strap over my shoulder. There’s no clear path the burial ground, just slightly flattened stretch of grass for the 250 yards or so. I turned to start the short walk and found Loke standing in 5 inches of mud/water mix. When he picked up his paws, they were black with the thick slurry clinging to them. Immediately, I put everything back on the trike. A few stones could not convince me to wade through that muck.

Loke seemed a little disappointed at first, but the run back toward the gas station distracted him. When we reached the wooded cycle paths on the other side of the grocery stores and various other shops, we fairly flew! Loke wanted to do a flat out run and I humored him, reveling in the sharp curves through the trees.

Just as we came to the edge of the paths where they end at a residential district, I saw something very large and white moving between the trunks and undergrowth. So it was we met Atlas.

His owner spotted us and came back to us as the HUGE Great Dane came walk up off his leash. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him before, that huge white with black splotches pony-dog, waiting outside the Maxi grocery for his owner. He was even bigger close up. I stood up out of the trike to measure him, resting a hand against my side where his shoulders finally stopped to remember how high. When I measured it at home, I came up with 40 inches and that was in my bare feet. Probably add another inch for my cycle shoes for a total of 41 inches. Sitting in my trike seat, he could look over my head (helmet and all) without raising his own. I’m fairly certain that’s the tallest dog I’ve ever seen in my life and likely out-weighed all except the very large mastiff we met once. Atlas is a fitting name for him. He looked big enough to carry the world on his shoulders.

He wasn’t aggressive, but Great Danes rarely are. He definitely wasn’t impressed with Loke’s boorish behavior though. I think my trike spooked him some, particularly when he and his owner went to leave and I started rolling.

It wasn’t far after that we met another pair of dogs. The pair were socializing. One was a very pudgy black lab with gray on the muzzle. The other looked like a hyper husky who was trying to get the lab to play. Upon seeing us, the lab came over and the man and woman and husky came as well.

Again, the lab didn’t like Loke much for the same reasons most dogs don’t. He just doesn’t respect boundaries. He belonged to the man and after a few minutes of the lab posturing dominance and Loke ignoring it, they left. That left the woman and her husky with us to chat.

I saw very quickly the husky wasn’t a pure blood. She was bigger than Loke by a bit, her muzzle a bit thicker. Most telling were the ears. Broader at the base and about half way up, the tips flopped over. She was cute and very lovey. She actually greeted me before Loke by the straightforward method of running up to smoosh her nose into my cheeks repeatedly. Then she turned a play bow to Loke before the two of them started a boxing match on their hind legs with open mouths. Funny to watch.

It turned out she was a husky/golden retriever mix. I would have guessed golden or lab since either of those could have given her the nose, ears, size and people focus, but the rest of her looked all husky. We chatted a bit as the dogs continued to box. The woman was quite taken with Loke.

Sometime between meeting Atlas and parting from the woman and her husky mix, the puffy clouds thickened and smoothed together in a smooth lead-gray sheet. When we coasted to a stop outside the apartment for a total of 13+ miles, a few light spits of rain came. By the time I was wrestling the trike away, the drizzle was back.

Still was nice to ride in the sun!


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