Terii’s Cycling Babble

June’s Bumpy Start
June 6, 2013, 6:48 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

And it has been. Still managing to get some miles though. All thanks to the push of necessity.

I finished up May with another ride of 9.39. Just the River Loop and nothing special about it. My Garmin even behaved.

Things got rough right on the morning of June 1st. Jens came blinking blearily out of the bedroom, announcing that Loke had been licking his foot. Worried, I got up to look but saw nothing untoward. A short time later, Jens came back from a short walk with Loke to say that the furball had limped a few times. I dug out the paw scissors and sure enough, the thick hair had hidden a raw, red spot. Immediately, I went to dig out what I needed to treat it. The only problem was discovering the ointment bottle was empty.

After finding a left over prescription with a refill on it, I rushed off to the apothecary. I’m glad Loke doesn’t make much of an issue about getting the various treatments. On Sunday however, the foot looked even more uncomfortable and red. All the skin between the paw pads looked like wet raw meat. It was edging up between two of his toes as well. On Monday even after the two days of treatment, the progression continued in the wrong direction. By then, it should have been drying out with reduction of the swelling and affected area.

So, bright and early Monday morning, off to the vet we went. I went to the one across town since they open at 8 am. It was yet another vet who treated Loke this time. The poor puppy had to get his foot shaved which I think he hates more than getting the kennel cough squirt up the nose. The infection was far more extensive than I’d known. It goes up the side of his foot, the space where it had been edging up between the toe was actually quite an angry pink. At least we caught those spots before it looked moist and near bloody. The vet took a sample to be sent to the lab and prescribed a different kind of ointment.

Monday morning, Jens also had to leave on a business trip to Copenhagen for the week. So, Loke’s bathroom needs fell to me. Since he limped so badly after the shaver torture, I settled for walking in the area around the vet. A short stroll away and across a road is a nice forested area leading to a open green park and residential stretch. Another very short walk around lunch and the last just before I went to bed, all done close to home.

Loke spent most of the day letting me know he thought we should be doing more.

The First Lupins!

The First Lupins!

Tuesday, he really was a pain in the rump. The foot looked better after just two applications of the new ointment. Dry with the flesh looking less swollen.

The short little walks weren’t going to be enough for him though I wasn’t up to longer ones. That left… rolling walks. Loke did his best impression of ‘demented rock wallaby’ bouncing off the walls as I got dressed. Once he was hitched to the trike and we went out the door, so came the predictable conflict of wills. I wanted him to go along at about 5 mph. He wanted to charge at full throttle. I managed to wrestle him into a compromise. He could go as fast as he wanted, but only at a trotting pace. Amazing how much speed he cranked out of that just like a sulky horse.

Naturally, he tested my resolve from time to time when the downgrades and even the flats beckoned with the cool, chill air of the day and playful winds.

Gorgeous in white too!

Gorgeous in white too!

And yes, it really was chill. The temperature was hovering around between 50 F and 52 F. Dense gray clouds hid the sun adding to the lack of warmth in the day. Definitely one of those rides where I was glad of my yellow windbreaker, though it wasn’t bad enough to require wool and gloves… quite. In all honesty? I loved it! Rather layer up then be roasting in the bare minimum!

The ride wasn’t much of a work out for me. Just a few tiny hills to climb as we did the absolute shortest River Loop of about 3.5 miles. The cool day had energized Loke amazingly so he did most of the work, making even the hills easy on my legs. With a sock firmly on his right paw, the furball didn’t limp even once. His legs were a blur with a metronome like precision as he ticked along at my prescribed pace. The disappointment that filled him was palpable as we rolled back to the apartment with just a short distance.

At least it was short for Loke. I decided to take advantage of the cool, if gray, day. I saw him settled in the apartment with fresh water and charged out the door for a solo ride. I wasn’t sure exactly where, I was feeling whimsical.

And whim first took me zipping along to the mosque where I made a left turn on Vattholma Road. From where, I powered on toward the grave mounds of Gamla Uppsala. Since I didn’t have Loke with me, another flight of fancy seized me. At the start of the gravel trail just past the museum, I stopped to mount my GoPro and hit record.

And there it is. The bumpy ride at my full speed beneath cloudy skies past the grave mounds to rejoin the River Loop paths.

From there, whimsy carried me on toward central Uppsala. I was going to explore the castle.

After the grave mound stretch and following the paths to Uppsala’s castle, I was actually feeling it quite strongly in my legs. I guess it goes to show much harder I hit the pedals when I don’t have the fuzzy one to regulate my speed. It made the climb up the castle’s hill quite slow and I was glad of the flat top.

Uppsala Castle's Sheriff's House

Uppsala Castle’s Sheriff’s House

Just past the tiny parking lot on the east side, I stopped to examine a sign and then look over a patch of short clipped lawn. It is the remains of the sheriff’s house.

After collecting the site, I pushed on down the path behind the castle which goes along the hedge hiding the governor’s garden. From there, another nasty climb which I crept up onto the castle’s paved courtyard.

Uppsala Castle

Uppsala Castle

I didn’t remember cars and such being allowed up there. Disappointing to reach the top only to discover a glorified parking lot around the fountain. There was also a bus with a load of high school students out for a field day.

I took my pictures and scooted away, to make the descent from the high hill carefully. I would have hated to get splatted by a car coming up or run over a dozen people meandering along.

My impulsive mood continued and I headed for the salon where a friend of my husband’s family works. She grew up with Jens’ sisters. The gray in my hair is now quite prominent and I thought it would be a nice surprise for the hubby if he came home to a wife with rich chocolate brown hair instead of faded chocolate with a couple inches of silver roots.

Rather than dealing with the narrow streets packed with car traffic, I headed for the walking street. Granted, it has its own challenges. Being so low to the ground while riding through a sea of people means going slowly and paying close attention. Nearing the central square, I heard the sounds of flutes and drums with a distinctive Native American flavor. There were hints of guitar as well. I loved it and went a bit quicker toward the music.

I stopped to listen and watch when I found them. The man shaking the rattles wasn’t playing at that moment. He smiled when he saw me and approached to crouch down to talk. In Swedish, he explained this was was Ecuadorian Native music and showed me one of the CDs in his hand. I looked at curiously and regretted leaving my wallet at home. I adored the flutes and rhythms and certainly would have bought at least one disc. When I apologetically told him I didn’t have any money on me, he just nodded with a smile and told me to have a nice day.

As he went back to the group, it occurred to me I could take a video of them with my iPhone and that’s what I did.

Leaving my wallet at home might have prevented me from purchasing music, but it also stopped me from getting ice cream, which is a good thing. If it had been a Saturday or Sunday and I’d had my wallet, I’d have gotten a few scoops of strawberry to enjoy. One of the hazards of downtown during the summer and the wonderful strawberry ice cream that Sweden has. A little tart and very strawberry tasting. Not like the stuff I remember from the States where all I ever tasted was sugar sweet and very little berry. Might as well have been vanilla… gah!

I made my stop by the salon, but she had all the rest of this week booked. Since I don’t know if I’ll be able to winkle the car out of Jens next week, I didn’t make any appointments. Ah well.

My legs were more than tired as I trundled by the river, going along slowly so I didn’t run anyone down. The muscles all through my thighs had the fiery lactic acid burn.

The Resiliency of Life

The Resiliency of Life

In spite of the discomfort and how much harder it is to get going again after stopping when the legs ache like that, I made a stop to photograph an old tree.

I’ve cycled past that stretch of river more then a dozen times and I’ve never noticed this stubborn old tree. Of course, for all I know, it was a whole tree last year, but even so how could I not see something with such a thick, twisted and hollowed trunk? It’s at least a yard in diameter. What made me smile most was the fact that despite the center of it is gone and the top chopped off, there it is putting out the beginnings of new limbs and fresh leaves of bright green. I admire that tree.

Obviously, so does the city. Otherwise why would they have bothered to keep the stump let alone put a neat section of decking around it?

Once back onto paved and wide paths, neatly divided into pedestrian and cycle halves, I found some scrap of stamina and managed to push up to over 10 mph for the last mile or so home. I had to grit my teeth to maintain it, but it happened.

I finished up with around 14 miles when I coasted to a stop behind our car in the parking lot. The burn! I was so glad I didn’t have to fight the trike up the apartment stairs for 2 or 3 trips. I just wobblingly slung everything through the hatchback and staggered inside.

The ride really showed me how hard I push myself when Loke’s absent. The 25 miles he and I did a couple weeks ago had left me feeling a bit noodled limbed and slightly achy, but no worse. 14 miles alone and I was feeling the same aches and muscle fire as when I hammered out 41+ solo miles in less than 5 hours against headwinds, through pounding rains from Munkfors to Karlstad (June 2012).

I know a lot of riders would make a contemptuous sound and think, ‘Pppft? It took you more than 2 hours to do 40 miles?’, but for me that was hauling butt especially with the wind. I also stop to explore things or admire scenery while taking photos. That consumes time. Let them think what they will, but I remain quite proud of that day.

Then yesterday was another River Loop in lieu of walking Loke. We went a tiny bit further though his paw didn’t improve much between Tuesday and Wednesday. I just kept it protected by the sock and kept his speed down to a trot. He fought me a bit more about it, but I remained steadfast. I didn’t follow up with a solo ride, deciding the slow, short distance was a recovery outing for me.

Today? Loke and I will be going out for another short loop since it’s better for both of us than me walking him. He gets to go a little further and my back, which is bothering me this morning, won’t end up flattening me. Probably no more than 4 to 4.5 miles at trotting speed for the furball. I may or may not go solo somewhere. It would certainly help my mileage for the month and the year.

My Garmin software is showing Loke’s mileage at 391, but adding in the ride that was lost when the GPS crashed, he’s over 400 miles. That’s comfortably more than half of his 2012 distance at 700.3. My mileage is around 494 which is over half of last year as well. So, maybe I should do a solo ride to tip it over 500?

I’m still vacillating about my goals for June. Last June was my highest mileage month of 2012 with 166.3 miles followed by September with 113.2. This year with 4 months of riding (0 miles in February), all have been over 100 miles. A first I think. Saying ‘Break 167 miles’ sounds lazy even if it would be my highest mileage month of the year so far. 350 miles sounds extremely ambitious given what I’ve been managing thus far. Maybe over 200 miles? It pushes the month into another bracket while exceeding last June. Sounds fair. 200 miles it is! If I crush that in good time, I’ll toy with adding an extra 150 miles – yeah… right. 150 miles is more than I’ve managed any month this year.

And to wrap up, Loke’s foot made modest improvement over night. If there’s still lingering redness and such by Sunday, I’ll at least call the vet to see if she wants to change the medication or add another week with the same treatment since it was prescribed for just 7 days. Poor Loke.

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