Terii’s Cycling Babble


Crazy for Winter Riding!
December 9, 2012, 6:56 am
Filed under: Misc

Written December 8

Or is it just plain ‘Crazy’? I feel a bit self-abused at the moment. I have a content husky rug next to me as I type this, as well as some photos of winter scenery and the makings of another video. Also an intense work out with a few moments of sunshine.

Something took hold of me this morning and I wanted to ride again. I would be thrilled to pieces if I can break the 800 mile mark so I thought I’d take a stab at doing a longer ride than the River Loop with its extensions. Wasn’t convinced I could manage Ulva/Gamla Uppsala. 14 miles through the snow is a lot of work not to mention there are a couple of killer hills which would be even trickier with said snow.

The Vaksala/Granby Loop crossed my mind. There’s the ‘roller coaster’ section, but the hills are small even if close together and not insanely steep. I decided to take the car for a look at the condition of the roads and paths.

Loke looking everywhere but at me/camera.

Loke looking everywhere but at me/camera.

I’m glad I did though I was disappointed to find that getting out of Uppsala would be a nightmare. The paths were tightly constricted with walls of snow. Definitely not wide enough for my front wheels. The main road was slick as… well, ice. I could just imagine someone deciding to do 70 kph, round a curve and slam on the brakes upon seeing me only to have their stopping point some meters beyond where they smooshed me into the road. The back residential streets looked as if they hadn’t been touched since the snowstorm/mini-blizzard. Just car tire sized grooves in the foot deep snow. Again, no way to push my front wheels through that. My disappointment deepened as I went out to the country lanes and found a breath-taking winter wonderland. The sky was pearly gray with a feathery fall of snow like the softest goose down. The trees draped with snow, white fields. It begged to be ridden through and photographed. Enjoyed! The roads didn’t look too bad really. Better condition than the residential streets in Gamla Uppsala.

Bummed, I returned home and resolved myself to slog around the River Loop yet again.

Jens to the rescue! Hearing me grumble, he offered to drop off where the paths were passable and pick me up again when I wanted. I didn’t waffle about it very long.

I chose a building just past the parking for the Grave Mounds. A red barn-like building where they were setting up to sell Christmas trees. Just to one side was a big plowed circle that used to be a bus-stop. No traffic and plenty of space for me to set the trike out and loop away onto the cycle path! Jens shifted around, shivering in the cold as I organized everything.

By that time, the downy snow-fall had ceased. The clouds broke into large tatters, showing patches of blue sky and glimpses of sunlight. I couldn’t quite decide if I was disappointed  about that. The drifting snow had been gorgeous.

Pretty, Isn't It?

Pretty, Isn’t It?

Look!! Sunshine!!

Look!! Sunshine!!

Right away it was a hard slog down the first stretch of cycle path. The trike did its usual bucking and sliding as Loke frantically tried to drag us into a high speed dash. I’m actually learning to use the front brakes as a sort of corrective steering which works better than yanking the wheels around. Within the first quarter mile, I stopped us to let a woman jogger pass and take photos for a panorama.

We pushed and swerved along at about 8 mph until reaching the rail crossing. It took a bit of rocking back and forth while encouraging Loke to pull even harder to get over a line of chunky snow. That was followed by making a left turn onto the main road from someone’s plowed out driveway. The spot I usually make the turn had a 3 foot high wall across it. Traffic was light though and soon we were on the smaller country road.

Love It!

Love It!

Sun-touched Snow Beyond The Trees

Sun-touched Snow Beyond The Trees

The opening in the gray to the blue sky beyond brightened the snow draped landscape spectacularly. While I chewed along at barely 6 mph through the unforgiving sand-like road surface in my lower gears, there was such beauty to savor. Going slow just meant I had more time to enjoy it. Loke didn’t really agree. He had at least an inch of extra tether pulled out from the spring in his bar and his head down in dogged determination. I wasn’t the only one getting a work out on the ride. As hard as it was with Loke pulling like the Husky he is, I shudder to think what it would have been like without the fuzzy one.

So Worth The Effort!

So Worth The Effort!

On the other side of the E4, trees enclosed us, changing the nature of the wonder of the white world around me. As many times as I’ve ridden the stretch, it felt mysterious, secretive and new though nothing had changed except to be draped in a dazzling cloak of brilliance. The snow mounded over rocks and earth and clinging to tree limbs bowed beneath the weight hid things nearly as well as leaves in high summer.

Don't you just love panoramic views?

Don’t you just love panoramic views?

Every now and then, a few flakes would drift by from the fragments of cloud above. The wind was nearly at a stand still so the only windchill to the 24 F I had to worry about was what little Loke and I created with our speed. With a few layers of wool and windproof thermals, mittens that could be opened to free the fingers and my shoe-covers, I was perfectly dressed. It felt like there was little to detract from the ride.

A landscape of golden-peach, cream and silver. Maybe a hint of pale rose?

A landscape of golden-peach, cream and silver. Maybe a hint of pale rose?

Okay, I’ll admit to one concern while going along. My right knee.

The day before I began this cycling frenzy (Thusday, December 6th), I fell while walking Loke. Three times! I managed to not land on my face or tailbone, but my knees and hips took the abuse. Only my right knee seemed to suffer from the tumbles. The remainder of that evening was spent, reclining on the couch with the leg stretched out to keep a heating pad on the knee. I also took anti-inflammatory pain relievers. Obviously, it eased up quite a bit since I went for a hard, if short ride yesterday to follow it up with yet another today.

Just an old building

Just an old building

The knee made itself known a few times over the course of today’s outing. Nothing too serious. Just warning sort of twinges that forced me into lower gears and slower pedaling. Just thing to bring joy to Loke, the speed freak.

I shouldn’t complain that he doing his absolute best to propel us faster. There have been many times when he’s gone dragging along at 5 or 6 mph and I’ve wanted to pull my hair out. I’ve rarely made him run faster than he wanted and only for short periods, 100 yards or 200 at the most, to hurry us through difficult or potentially hazardous situations.

The roller coaster stretch really made Loke wild. He’s used to us zipping through parts of it at over 15 mph with hill-climbing at roughly 8 mph. Not uphills at 3 mph and down at maybe 8 mph… if he was lucky. That section of the loop is not only hilly and shrouded with trees, but curvy too. Loke and I both love curvy roads. For me, I have the urge to go onward to see what they hide. I’m uncertain what the draw is for the furry one. All I know is he gets bored on a long straight path, but as soon as curves appear or we make turns, he speeds up.

I adore horses. It's nice when they're curious rather than frightened.

I adore horses. It’s nice when they’re curious rather than frightened.

We finally came out from the trees. Right where they ended was the beginning of a horse pasture. One horse, standing at the near corner of the fence line, was startled by our approach and bolted into a gallop. I love to watch a horse run though I felt badly we’d alarmed him. It was especially stunning to see the animal move with snow churning around his hooves. Loke whined and wanted to run with/after him.

The spooked horse reached his pasture companion who watched us from a distance. As we continued, the calmer horse came prancing through the knee-deep whiteness. The one we’d frightened came along though hid as best he could behind the other.

Beautiful Animals

Beautiful Animals

I stopped and talked to them which really intrigued the braver one. He stretched over the fence, risking getting zapped as he gave the deep gusting breaths that horses and other large animals make when getting something’s scent.

When nothing bad happened, the timid one came out from behind the other and took his turn to sniff at us. Loke wagged his tail and stretched out his nose in an attempt to greet him. An absolutely lovely moment.

Those two weren’t the only horses. There were others in further pastures and paddocks who watched us with raised heads and perked ears. Just past the first pasture, Loke and I saw familiar little friend.

Isn't she cute? The gray is pretty too.

Isn’t she cute? The gray is pretty too.

We’ve passed by this adorable black and white pony a lot this year. Every time she’s seen us coming down the hill at a run, she gallops for the fence to race with us to the end of her pasture, often whinnying a greeting. The delicately built gray pony is more timid, but has followed the spunky little Shetland a few times. This was one of them.

I’ve wondered a couple times if this is the same pony who used to do the same thing but was in a field along my Ulva/Gamla Uppsala loop. I didn’t memorize the spot pattern or gender of the Ulva one who we’ve not seen in years. That one also would come running with perked ears and often an excited call of greeting.

Snowy Farm Building

Snowy Farm Building

After admiring the ponies for a few moments, I reluctantly went on.

I was tiring pretty quickly though we’d barely made 4 miles by this point. These snowy rides have tired me as much as 30 mile rides on a moderately windy days. I mentioned on a forum that if I can keep this up, I’ll have legs of iron and the stamina of a draft horse come spring!

We were coming up to the next major road. There was the parking lot of some kind of factory right at the juncture and I’d told Jens that I might stop there for pick up since I hadn’t been able to tell if the cycle path along the very busy thoroughfare was navigable by trike. Sturdy traffic booms across the entrance put a jinx on that idea. They couldn’t really stop me, but it meant we couldn’t get our car into a decent area to load the trike.

I had no choice really except to make the made dash across the slippery road, hoping the path was clear.

More Lovely Scenery

More Lovely Scenery

I didn’t have to wait long to cross in spite of the traffic. A nice man in a pick-up truck slowed, flashing his lights for me to go as traffic in the other direction cleared briefly. I thought that was incredibly nice.

I aimed for the bus-stop near the runestone along the road though I didn’t expect to be able to go further. The swaps sides of the road at the bus-stop and on the exploratory drive the way was blocked with more snow-wall. A plow had been chugging down the road ahead of me and it had apparently cleared the way. With my thighs burning and my knee being more insistent about stopping, I made the dash across to slog my way to the mall.

I ended the ride there, exhausted but pleased though it had been only 4.86 miles.

December 9th

I didn’t make an issue about it yesterday as I wrote the above about the ride, but a couple hours after I returned home my throat started bothering me. Maybe I wasn’t over the previous cold and the strenuous exercise weakened my immune system enough to let it regain its hold on me. Perhaps it’s a new one. Either way, it’s a cold and I’m feeling a bit petulant about it. Granted, I’d decided I needed a day of rest for my legs today, but I prefer an illusion of choice and not something enforced by sore throats, sneezing, wheezing and sniffles.

If the ride did let the cold get a grip on me, I have absolutely no regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was just too glorious to be out and I enjoyed the ride far too much.

Not only did I write this post yesterday evening, but I also spent last night and part of this morning to put together a little video from the recording from my GoPro. Still silent. I guess as I rest to let the muscles in my legs repair and build up while I fight the cold I could find copy-right free music sources and maybe learn how to use a video software other than iMovie. My poor little Apple Air struggles so with it. I looked at Microsoft Moviemaker, but was appalled at how clunky and unfriendly it was to use compared to iMovie.

But here it is! My ride through the Winter Wonderland!

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2 Comments so far
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Comment by Juegos Online

Hi back to you and welcome! Thank you so much for the compliment of sharing my blog!

Comment by Terii




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