Terii’s Cycling Babble

A Ride & The Solstice
December 22, 2012, 9:49 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Not only was yesterday the end of the Mayan Calendar, but it was also the Winter Solstice. A day that usually lightens my spirit with the lengthening duration of sunlight and the tipping point where we begin the gradual climb into the gentle temperatures of spring. Thought of tours and rides start to swirl through my head in dreamy anticipation of the new cycling year.

It’s a day I look forward to even more than Christmas. I suppose it’s almost like my New Year. Alas, I spent most of it feeling stressed and anxious.

Loke’s appetite has hit rock bottom. My vibrant, perky husky has become sluggish from lack of food. His coat feels more wiry and coarse as his bones seem to feel more prominent when I stroke him. He can be encouraged to take a mouthful of wild pig ham here. A bite or two of cooked ground beef there. No more than that. The vet told me to give Loke his meds with food. I think what’s happened is the antibiotics for his ear made him feel queasy, so he didn’t eat. Then the next dose made him feel even worse because the few mouthfuls of ground meat I get him to eat isn’t enough to buffer his tummy. The vicious circle has lead to this.

At least, I hope that’s what it is and not something more sinister. I have the feeling that taking Loke to the vet would only get the same verdict… with a 400 Kr bill. Just another few days and I’ll know. *sigh* This worry would be adding to my gray hairs… if I hadn’t gone prematurely and totally silver years ago.

Wide View of Familiar Stretch

Wide View of Familiar Stretch

At least he’s still had some interest in going out with the trike. He perks up and paces around while I get dressed and still woofs a bit at my laggardly start where I’m fiddling with gloves and GPS. He even tries to run a short distance though the snow bogs the trike down. It lacks his usual verve, but better than flat-on-the-floor apathy.

He still managed to turn the last ride into the hardest since getting the Sprint.

The first stretch posed no difficulty other than the snow. Another inch or so had been laid down but not yet plowed. On the roads, light traffic on the little residential strips had packed and churned it, giving it usual texture and color of damp sand. It was tougher work to chew through than the ride before. Loke helped as much as he had energy for.

Then we reached the cycle paths. The fuzzy one’s manner suddenly changed. The lightly packed and graveled surface of the path itself grabbed his attention. His nose went down as he swerved erratically to and fro with what little play the tether offered. I had to hold an arm out, elbow locked, to act as a buffer to keep him from veering his lowered nose under the rolling wheel. Then, he stopped. ‘On By!’ and ‘Leave it!’ got no response. He appeared to be determined to sniff every inch of the path. At first I tried dragging him along for about 100 yards. Then I let him sniff to see if he’d get his fill of whatever it was. No. He sniffed a little patch for almost 10 minutes and then moved one step and seemed as if he was doing to do the same to that new spot. At that rate, it would have taken us until supper time just to do 2 miles!

Images of a thousand female dogs in heat parading before us with sirloin steaks strapped to their paws, spreading their special scent of fertility and food capered tauntingly through my mind’s eye. Gritting my teeth, I set to pedaling onward, dragging the balky Loke as he continued to snuffle along. He’s never acted that way on a ride. Not in all of the 5+ years he’s gone with me.

I never thought the river loop would be as tiring and as difficult as the rain-drench attempt at a tour this year. The one where I had to drag the trailer and gear through miles of clinging mug, mostly uphill and without Loke.

Pretty With the Snow

Pretty With the Snow

A reprieve came when I turned back onto a section of residential streets to head for the road where I do a little out and back toward the gates of a military base. Whatever fragrance had fascinated Loke was lacking on that stretch. There, the snow was packed and/or cleared enough that we hit 11 mph. Even in his lower energy state, the fuzzy one had enough ‘oomph’ for that. He loped along with a flopping tongue, even trying to pull us faster until I stopped for winter scene photos.

More Snow Scenery

More Snow Scenery

I snapped one. A second shutter sound made me frown and check my camera. Then I heard it again, but not from the camera. It’s origins were elsewhere. My skin prickled at the idea of someone hidden taking pictures as I craned around for the source. Only the distant sounds of traffic were to be heard. Starting to come off my guard, I saw a fluttering in the tree overhead.

A magpie! Smiling I tried to get a good angle to separate a black and white bird from the black and white contrasts of a snow dusted birch tree. I made the shot and blinked as the shutter sound came right back at me… from the magpie! Much as I love corvids, I never knew magpies could mimic. I know some ravens can imitate human speech. I’ve heard magpies around here sounding like a malfunctioning smoke alarm, but thought that could be just a natural call for them. Of course, for all I know, so was this one.

The way back down the road went a little faster still. I find I’m still quite wary of speed on snow and/or ice since my tumble early this year. Or should I say, more wary than I was before the tumble. The feeling of skidding and wobbling to and fro has always left a nervous knot in my belly, but it’s been more powerful since my helmeted head thumped on the road.

Snow Draped Path

Snow Draped Path

We made it safely to the short little path connecting the base’s road to another little residential area. This one was decently plowed and packed so Loke and I made quite good time through it.

Things came to a screeching near-halt again once we returned to the main path. I’m surprised Loke’s lungs didn’t pack full with ice with all the snuffling he did at the snow. Given the condition I’d lost because of almost 2 weeks with that bad cold, working the trike through the snow while hauling his furry rump along was almost more than I could take. I started to wish Loke wasn’t with me for the ride. Of course, the irony was, I probably wouldn’t have gone for the ride in the first place except for him. Jens was due back from Las Vegas that evening and it would be nice if we didn’t have to worry about doing more than taking Loke for a short pee walk before bed.

I’d also toyed with the idea of going for a short walk around the grave mounds with my snow-shoes to start getting used to them. The screaming muscles of my thighs put an end to that plan! All I was going to want to do when I got home was collapse.

An Ice Column Really

An Ice Column Really

Part of the river loop goes by some industrial buildings. Eyesores really. One of them surprised me a couple rides ago by offering something impressive.

The place looks to be one big room though from ground to eaves, it’s nearly as high as a 2-story house. Needle like spears of ice, many of them over a meter or two long dangle like the jagged teeth of a nightmarish predator. In just one place though did the ice reach the ground. It’s probably more than a foot and a half thick near the roof. This blemish on the landscape, thanks to wasteful loss of heat due to poor insulation, had for the first time offered something impressive and even beautiful.

Definitely a good idea to stay away from that wall come the next warm spell!

At least stopping to get a few pictures of the more spectacular icicles gave Loke a few minutes to sniff the path without interruption.

I don’t think Loke looked up once the the last mile or so home. We even passed half a dozen dogs or so and he was oblivious.

12-20 g Ducks 1 Pano

I Think They Dream of Spring!

Most amazing were the ducks failing to trigger his predatory instincts. While I put the camera away after taking their pictures, the feathered creatures began to stand up. Shaking their tail-feathers and stretching wings with vigorous flaps, they migrated across the snow. Some even came quacking toward Loke and I. When they swerved off, I saw most of them were tightly focused on an older woman with a little dachshund in a coat. Tethering the little dog to a sapling, she continued forward until surrounded by the eager, babbling hoard of ducks. Clearly her offerings of food were a regular occurrence.

And Loke continued his intense sniffing, the antics of ducks and the small dachshund yapping at him ignored.

I was only too glad to get home. My legs were weak as over-cooked noodles. Sheer will was the only thing that allowed me to get the trike back in the car. I spent the rest of the day cuddled under blankets and dozing until Jens walked through the door.


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