Terii’s Cycling Babble

Where Did He Go?
August 31, 2013, 7:35 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Yesterday was a ‘landmark’ ride on several fronts, but it was overshadowed.

In spite of having several days where I was just too sick to even want to walk through the apartment, I managed to squeeze in a few rides. The goal for August, to break through last year’s mileage, dangled within reach and I didn’t want it to slip away because my body delights in inflicting suffering upon me. So on one day, even though each half turn of the pedal felt like a punch to the gut, I yet managed to go chip off a few miles. Just 2 River Loops, but miles are miles.

The 29th, since Loke had been so draggy on the previous 2 rides, I took him with me as I decided I’d ride to make an a salon appointment with a friend of Jens’ sisters who’s been doing my hair since I moved here in 2005. Yes, I could call, but it felt good to get out for a ride with a definitive goal in mind rather than simple ‘Get Miles’. All that’s accomplished with ‘Get Miles’ or ‘Get Exercise’ is River Loops.

And again, Loke was ploddy and slow. Even when we made the turn away from the River Loop to head into Uppsala proper. I guess we’ve done the city too much of recent for it to excite him enough to put bounces in his steps.

The day was a murky gray, medium shade where the general clouds hid the blue but studded here and there with cells of dark-bellied threats of rain. A tiny bit on the cool side, though humid and almost windless. We dragged along and finally cut in toward the cathedral. As I rolled down a slope of cobblestones, I came out into an area and realized it wasn’t a bad shot of the big church. Still not ideal, but as tall as the Dom Kyrka is it would need a LOT of clear space to truly capture it’s magnificence. That’s often in short supply even in the smallest European cities. And I would use the tripod.

I pulled it out and set to making all the adjustments. Just as I went to slot the camera into place, there came a gust of wind and… you guessed it. Rain. Hurriedly, I crammed everything away and for once I didn’t have to hustle Loke along. The wet came down dense enough that he didn’t like it and probably hoped I was heading for shelter.

I was! That rain was cold! Protection from that chill deluge was found near the river through the city. There’s a little ice cream kiosk with awnings erected over its tables at the back, right at the riverside. I found a spot to put the trike where I hoped its seat would mostly remain dry and took the handlebar bag to table to wait it out.

A family sat not far away eating ice cream. They had Loke’s complete and undivided attention. It probably could have rained cats or other small animals and he never would have noticed. He sat cutely with an intensely hopeful look on his face as he watched them. Any time one of them looked at him, he’d perk up and wag his tail. A few times, he even woofed. It made them all smile and the kids giggle.

After that it was a slow coast through the crowded shopping district which is an entire walking street. It was packed. Clearly, Uppsala is full and bustling again. I parked outside the salon and darted in. Jenny was with client, but called out hello as I made an appointment with her through one of the other stylists. It turns out, Jenny hadn’t seen Loke since he was a puppy. Certainly, she’d never seen the trike. She seemed to enjoy being able to look at both though it was through the window as she worked.

We finished up with 7.2 miles leaving 8.7-ish miles left to break the goal and 2 days of the month remaining.

The most frustrating parts of Loke’s behavior on the rides after he’s been so sluggish and listless over the miles, is he comes home and is bouncing around, often being a pest. Add to that, Jens teasing me about how I’m slacking and must not have taken Loke out with the trike at all. It is just teasing, but still it deepens the vexation and worries.

I miss the husky who used to bounce around when I put on the ‘magic clothes’ or whirled dizzily once his harness was on. The one who could wedge himself against the door to be sure I didn’t forget him when going out for a ride. He was a different dog even just a month ago when he flew through Copenhagen as if on winged feet and powered through the Danish countryside!

Given how fine he acts when back at home, Jens thinks I should try locating a completely fresh area to see how Loke does. A good idea, but that requires going some distance. Jens would have to drive me because I have NO confidence in Loke’s stamina to risk taking the car which would leave no way of easy rescue if the fuzzy one has issues.

Then yesterday, though it was laundry day, I decided to head out for yet another ride. The clothes were finished in good time. I decided we’d do the Vaksala/Granby Loop which is about 10 miles, comfortably putting the year’s total distance over 804. Besides, we’ve not done that run in some months and Loke’s always loved the ‘roller coaster’ stretch.

UGH!! I’m not sure, but except for the time on our first tour when he likely got bit by a snake and ended up nearly hobbling on 3 legs until I found a safe place to wait an hour for Jens, Loke’s never gone so SLOW. I was about to pull my hair out with frustration. Frustration at the pace, worrying why Loke was being so laggardly. The snails that laughed as they streaked passed us didn’t help either. The only time Loke actually moved briskly was when a cat scurried across the road.

At least there was one moment that made me smile, though it had nothing to do with Loke.

We came up to a familiar pasture area. At first I spotted only 3 horses near where a patch of woods came down nearly to the fence line. 2 beautiful black animals and a sleek dark brown bay. Cluttered among the trees, I continued on without stopping for a picture. Just out of sight of them, in a clear area between the fence and dense thickets of undergrowth, I found another horse with a red-brown coat.

Apple Glutton!

Apple Glutton!

Where the others had been grazing happily on grass, this one was gorging itself at the limbs of a small, but well laden apple tree. I had to laugh, even as I hoped the piglet in a horse’s body didn’t make itself sick. So intent it was, that it didn’t even swivel an ear in our direction as it munched away. I could just imagine its owners scratching their heads in bafflement as to why their horse had gained 200 lbs.

I needed that chuckle to brighten the ride.

I managed to prod Loke along until we reached Granby’s mall. Then I parked and called Jens to come get the furry, four-footed slug. 7.62 miles which had taken us more than an hour and a half of rolling time. Not enough to tip me over the magical 804. Still the distance between the mall and home should have been just enough.

By the time Jens arrived and Loke was bouncing around him in greeting, as if thrilled with being rescued, I decided to link up with River Loop where it passes the school. Once I did that, I’d be absolutely certain of having the distance I needed and be done with August’s goal.

I reset the GPS and even as Jens rolled out, so did I. The trike and I were off like a shot once I made it out of the parking lot and onto the cycle paths. I clipped along at 12 mph and blurred down the hills near the mall at over 20 mph. Once in the park land between the 4H pastures and an apartment block, I had to slow to about 9 mph because of all the foot and cycle traffic there. Before I knew it, I was whipping past the school and heading for the underpass.

I finished up my little solo ride with 6.01 miles and did so under 35 minutes. I even felt like I’d had exercise.

With the day done, I entered the miles. With still 4 months of the year to go, the current mileage for 2013 stands at 808.91 as of August 30th. It is officially my 2nd best year for mileage since buying my Trice in 2006. Great as that is, it’s doubtful I can make this my best year ever. To do so would require an average of 126 miles for the next 4 months to push me over 1,310 miles. Very doable in September. Probably manageable in October. Once snows come and the days start getting really short with the chances of incredibly cold snaps (below 25 F), much less likely for November and December.

In theory, I could try to hammer out 200+ miles in September with 125 to 150 in October if the weather holds with a chance of making the last 200 or so miles in November – December.

With 2 weeks of September being in other parts of Europe, even with the trike, I’m not sure I can pull it off. 15 planned miles in the area around Bruges. 25+ miles from Reims to Epernay. From there, things are more vague. There’s a lovely mountain village in central France called Salers. It’s set in a stunning landscape. I have a theoretical plotted route of 40-45 miles, but given the rough terrain, I think that would take me 3 days at least. Not sure Jens would want to sit there that long. I do hope to do at least 20 miles of it though. Perhaps two nights in the village with one day for me to cycle in the national park which was sculpted by volcanoes millions of years ago.

From there I am determined to see Carcassone which part of the city is the original medieval walled village and castle. I thought about Lascaux, but the original cave have been closed to the public in a desperate bid to save the paintings (which I completely agree with). I don’t find the idea of seeing a copy cave as intriguing. The rest of the Vézère Valley, in which the Lascaux caves lie, is rich with other sites of ice age habitation making it very interesting to me. It would be the oldest traces of man I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. Older by far than Stonehenge or the beautiful passage graves I crawled into while in Denmark. The Camargue with the bulls, horses and wildlife.

Italy is proving more difficult for me to find places of interest to visit, particularly if we try to stay in the northern parts. Jens surprised me by mentioning Venice but I don’t see much cycling happening there. Still could be lovely to see! One of Jens’ co-workers mentioned a lake region in the area, but all my glimpses of it in Street View put me off cycling the region. Narrow, busy looking roads and while some of the views are beautiful, every stop I’d be making would appear to be surrounded by modern and not terribly attractive constructions. I’d much rather drive through to find the pretty photos and be done with as quickly as possible rather than pedal around. The Etruscans didn’t settle so far north it seems. The sword in the stone that pricks my interest is further south.

Jens has mentioned us going back to Italy come next spring, but we’d be flying down with his parents, so no cycling.

Hmm. Got a bit off track there… sort of.

Other significant things accomplished yesterday! My Garmin GPS-s, as of yesterday’s ride, have recorded a total of 5,000+ miles. May 29th, 2007 was the first ride with a Garmin GPS for a distance of 3.45 miles. Clearly since I’ve had an ICE trike since 2006, I’ve done significantly more than 5,000 miles. But as I refuse to guess, GPS recorded 5,000 miles it is.

Yesterday also passed 1,000 miles on my Sprint 26 since it arrived at my door In November 2012. I’m quite pleased with that! Actually, thinking of it in those terms and with how short a time I’ve had it, 1,000 miles almost feels incomprehensible.

So, that’s all that’s been going on. Now I should get back to plotting ways to torment my husband on our European trip!

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