Terii’s Cycling Babble

January 20, 2013, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

The weather finally improved enough to let me get out for another ride today.

It wasn’t really that the weather on the 18th and 19th was bad exactly. Just bitterly cold. Single digits on either side of 0 F. Other than that, it was gorgeous out. Sun shining from skies of flawless blue with winds light to calm. The deep chill made the air so incredibly dry and it felt rarefied as if high up in the thinner atmosphere of a mountain. So, I’d try to draw deeper breathes only to end up coughing. The ice forming in my nose didn’t help matters.

Definitely not something I want to deal with while trying to meet higher oxygen requirements of vigorous exercise.

Last night, the temps climbed. It was 6 F at 9 pm and 23 F when I woke around 5:30 am. It dipped a little colder before warming again, but around 10 am, I decided it was good enough.

Overdue too! Loke was being weird last night. A bit pesty and bugging Jens a bit when he wasn’t giving me the Husky Jedi Mind Trick stare and tail-wag. Generally, he gets that way when he’s desperate for more than walkies. One disadvantage of cycling so much. His stamina and energy levels go up and require more and more to satisfy him.

He made his increased fitness even more obvious by being the loudest I’ve ever heard while I got settled. Not only yodeling and woofing, but barking like a normal dog while bouncing on the end of his tether.

Glorious Day!

Glorious Day!

Though it had warmed up, the clouds held back so Loke and I rolled out under blue skies and golden sun. Clouds drifted here and there, but most of them were off at the fringes of the horizon. Though cold at 25 F or 26 F, I didn’t feel the need for my face mask though I did use my gloves. I was hoping that extra thick wool socks with my shoe-covers would be enough to keep my toes from hurting.

I worked to find a ‘happy-ish’ medium with my gears before they froze. Something that would offer a bit of speed on the flats and downs but allow me to climb the few hills without wrecking my knees. For once, I think I did pretty well.

The next few days are supposed to have North Pole temps again, so I planned to do the big loop that goes out toward the shopping center. Roughly 12 miles by itself, but adding the extensions I use to make the River Loop longer than 3.5 miles would give me a bit more toward the 113 miles I’d like to see before the end of the month.

Almost Frozen Across

Almost Frozen Across

The surface of the paths and roads was fairly cooperative. The two frigid days without new snow had let the roads pack down into a surprisingly smooth surface. The snow had also dried out so it didn’t pack into the mudguards which was nice. Loke pulled the trike along at a sharp clip, legs a blur as I tried to keep a balance between keeping up for exercise and not straining my knees. A bit of a challenge with only 3 speeds.

I still took the time to enjoy the day. We stopped for Loke answer nature’s call and I admired the sight of a magpie taking a snow bath against the gleaming smoothness of a little hummock blanketed in white.

Another moment that made me smile was when it began to snow. Huge, feathery flakes like fluffed down drifting from a dome of clear blue. The nearest clouds were far off on the edges of the horizon and the sun made the crystals give occasional gem-like sparkles. I think it’s only the 3rd time I’ve seen it snowing when the sky looks mostly clear. It’s beautiful, almost magical when it happens.

Interesting Sideways Icicles

Interesting Sideways Icicles

The thick wool socks with my cycle shoes didn’t make my feel feel like they were in a vice like I expected. Always good. But they didn’t completely take care of the freezing toe problem either. When I would stop, they warmed up faster at least. I really need to find a way to keep my feet warm even while moving or when it’s very windy.

My plans for a 12 – 15 mile ride was annoyingly cut short. Jens asked me to call every hour or so to make sure I’d not turned into a block of ice. I pulled out the Garmin to see how long I’d been and stared in dismay at 00.00 miles on the display. Oops! I’d turned the unit on but didn’t hit ‘Start’.

I wrestled the dilemma. I want to have as accurate as possible measurements for my rides rather than rough guessing. While I’ve done the loop that goes out toward Läby Church and then to the shopping center, I’ve never done the major River Loop extensions with it. So, I could only guess how much over the 12 miles it might be. The only way I could be sure of my distance was to do a route I was absolutely certain of. The full River Loop which is 7.88 miles.

Snow, Sun & Shadow

Snow, Sun & Shadow

Muttering about my inattention, I pedaled onward toward home instead of crossing the 272 for the longer route.

Loke still was a bundle of energy and not thrilled to be coming home so soon. He’s been bouncing around with his squeaky toy and staring at me wistfully. It’s almost as if he didn’t run almost 8 miles at all.

While I’ve been typing this, the clouds have moved in an the snow which had light is now coming down in a dense, swirling flurry. If it keeps up we’ll have quite a few inches in very short order. The forecast has changed, predicting temps in the 20’s for tomorrow. Dare I hope it might even get close enough to the magical 24 F that will allow my toes to endure another ride? I suppose it won’t hurt. It’s a small enough disappointment if it stays too chill that I can’t go so I’m certain I can bear it.

I’m feeling very uncertain about the possibility of breaking 113 miles though. I’m lacking roughly 38 miles and if that arctic blast we were expecting comes and hangs around, it could be tricky. I guess I’ll just keep watching the thermometer!



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