Terii’s Cycling Babble

Various Updates
February 24, 2014, 7:19 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

I have been riding! Really!

3 rides in the past week.

Sunday, Feb 16th, I decided to ride to the American food store. So, I slapped my big panniers on the trike, hitched Loke and after making sure I had a wire cable to tether him and the keys to the trike lock off we went. Knowing it was just 2.5 or 3 miles at most, I added a bit of zigzags to bump the distance a little. Just to one side of the store is a gateway into a tiny courtyard that many of the shops on the street have back doors to. It’s quiet, not many people go back there so it was perfect spot to lock the trike and tether Loke.

I was disheartened to discover the shop was closed. The cafe a few doors down was open and they have a few odds-n-ends in there so I stepped in. Charles wasn’t there, but his wife was. Turned  out the store opened at noon. It was about 11:50, but she offered to go open it a little early for me.

Came home with about 4.5 miles. As for Loke… he was a machine! Well-oiled, perfectly working one I might add. Not the least little hop from an arthritic hip or funny hitch from a stiff knee. Smooth and powerful as he had been way back before the whole incident with his toe last year.

I rode once or twice during the week too, but can’t remember much about those. Saturday, the 22nd, I rode again to the American food store. It turns out if I start the ride with the absolute basic river loop, but then go straight into Uppsala’s downtown rather than turn home, go to the shop and then straight home, it comes to just a tad over the River Loop with 1 extension. 4.5 miles as opposed to 4.1 or 4.2. Of course, if Loke keeps running this well, I might add another mile or so somewhere. Slooooowly edge his distance up.

Slush and Sun!

Slush and Sun!

The weather continues to be very strange. Mostly, this half of Sweden is staying comfortably above freezing. Then we’ll get a slight cold snap which dumps a few inches of snow for a day or so, then the temp jumps back up and it rapidly disappears. Thursday and Friday, we had another of those brief moments of ‘winter’ with a deluge of wet snow accumulating over 3 inches as the temp hovered at or just above freezing. In the mid afternoon on Friday, it turned to rain and the temperature spiked. On my Saturday ride to downtown, the roads were mostly clear and even the cycle paths, but here and there deep slush lingered. Fortunately, it was so well melted and water logged my slick summer tire could still get plenty of traction for me to get through. It was just a bit like riding in mud for speed and resistance.

At least we had a bit of sun on that Saturday. It didn’t stick around long though. By the time we reached the American food store, it was gray again. About an hour after I got home, the skies cleared again. Mother Nature really seems to have a grudge against me.

I rode again yesterday too. Though not very sunny, it wasn’t raining and was over 40 F. I decided that I was going to attempt something OTHER than a River Loop. Except for the 2 rides to the American food store, all my rides this year have been River Loops. I haven’t counted, but definitely over 65% of my rides last year were the River Loop, particularly the last 4-5 months of the year. Jens asked if I was taking Loke with me, but I flatly said, ‘No. I need something other than the River Loop’. Thankfully he didn’t suggest that I take Loke for short run (River Loop) and then go out again for myself. That would have meant covering at least parts of the River Loop in rapid succession since I have to take some of it to escape it. Besides, Loke had covered 4.5 miles the day before and I didn’t want to push him too much. Wanted him to have a rest day.

Shouldn't be happening in February!

Shouldn’t be happening in February!

Alas, I rode most of the River Loop except for a short toodle to the city forest. It was just so very windy. I’ve been spoiled by the perfectly calm days on most of my previous rides. Throw in that my right knee has been giving me problems for the past week. Riding in calm air with Loke helping a bit here and there, cycling actually seemed to help my knee. By myself with the resistance of gravel strewn surfaces and into a stiff wind without the furball’s assistance, my knee was quite unhappy with me. I didn’t ride those paths though because all the snow melt and rain we’ve had left them to boggy. If my knee was unhappy with gravel and wind, it would have really hated boggy unpaved surfaces. At least I felt like I’d exercised a bit and came home with over 6 miles. Still more than I’ve been getting with Loke.

The visit with my friend from England on Valentine’s Day was very nice. A little disappointing that she got to see the grave mounds and city all in shades of murky brown and gray instead of covered in snow or at the very least in spring colors. I drove out to Boglösa to pick her up since we had limited time. Met her brother who was very nice. Loke was standoffish with them both. All he wanted to do was run around at the end of the leash and pee on everything while sniffing. We took a walk along some trails behind her brother’s house. Lovely patch of woods and wonderful paths threading all through it. Saw moose tracks! Fairly fresh even.

Then we dashed to the grave mounds in Uppsala. After dropping Loke off at home, we headed downtown for lunch which she insisted on buying since I’d driven to pick her up and paid for parking on the car. Then we ran around the older parts of downtown near the river with the mill and the buildings from 1666 as well as up to and inside the cathedral. I also showed her the older Holy Trinity Church a stone throw from the cathedral. It was open so we got to see the inside of it as well.

After that, I drove her back rather than forcing her to sit on a bus for an hour and a half. I didn’t mind. It gave us more time to chat and it will likely be a long while before we have the chance to communicate face to face again. All in all, a really nice day.

Also on Valentine’s Day Loke had another appointment with the doggie dermatologist for a follow up. She wasn’t very satisfied with his improvement. She concluded that he’s very likely one of those unfortunate dogs who has not only food allergies, but an environmental one as well. Her guess is dust mites though it could be something else.  Loke had been scratching furiously at the left side of his mouth and she noticed it was red.

She strongly recommended Loke get the allergy prick test. There was a bit of a catch with that. He can’t really have any treatment for his allergies for 2 weeks prior to the test as it can skew the results. For something costing 3000 Kr, that’s not good. Not to mention a bad result could mean wrong treatment. Of course, I’d only stopped using the cortisone spray on his toes 2 day previously. Worse, it meant that the itching he’d been suffering on his mouth we couldn’t treat.

In spite of the face itch and still pink tummy, she wanted me to try feeding Loke some other kind of dog food. Something good quality, but not as silly expensive as the specialized stuff. She wanted it to have primarily a fish protein and maybe potato or rice. Also to see what letting him have chicken and beef again would do. I found a dog food which is supposedly all natural with two kinds of fish as well as sweet potato. Loke loves it. Of course, now it’s back to the bland boring diet because of his face scratching.

His mouth on that left side started looking even worse and he started scratching more. It even got a bit swollen. Admittedly, it could be because of his scratching and the environmental influence, but I decided not to push it. So, back to reindeer and boring, hideously expensive kibble. It hasn’t seemed to help. He still tries to scratch like mad.

When he does start scratching, he’s determined. Goes at it furiously. With his paw infections and at the beginning with his itchy face, a stern ‘No’ would make him leave off. Now, the itch has apparently gotten so bad, he can’t help himself. That hind paw starts flailing at the side of his muzzle. He doesn’t even pawse (haha) a moment at ‘no’. So, we’ve begun using the dreaded ‘cone of shame’. He gets some time without it, but as soon as he starts up, on it goes. It must feel good to scratch that itch, because as I’m coming at him with the cone collar, he doesn’t stop to evade it. Even when I’m shoving it over his head, he keeps going until realizing all he’s scratching is plastic.

Last night was a long one. He wouldn’t settle so kept bumping the cone off the furniture, walls and door frames every few minutes with his pacing around. I couldn’t sleep through it. Poor thing even tried to scratch through a plastic a couple times. At least I think his lips look a little less swollen. Either he or I may go completely mad with this by March 7th. I’ve called the vet this morning to see if I can get the date of the prick test bumped up. The way it works is you leave your number with them and they call back, so now I’m waiting. Thursday or Friday should be fine for the test, being over the 2 week mark since I last used the medication. Even earlier in the first week of March would be a relief though it might mean I need to drive to Stockholm for the appointment.

I’d forgotten to mention the extraction of my teeth. 4 down and 2 to go. They’ve not slowed me down cycle wise at all. The first two went back in January. I was a little nervous, the feeling heightened when I met the dentist even in spite of the mild sedative I had to take the edge off. She looked like she couldn’t have been more than 22, hardly old enough to have finished her education.

She was very kind though. Carefully explained everything she was going to do and how there should be NO pain. Just pressure and tugging. If it hurt the least little bit, I was to wave a hand for her to stop so she could take care of it. Not at all like the American dentists I’ve met who tell you it doesn’t hurt, so shut up so they can get it done. No wonder I ended up phobic of dentists with them talking that way to a 7 year old child.

Gums numbed, she moved on to the needle wand for the deeper anesthetic. I had a nervous pang and asked her to wait a second. She did, stepping back until I took a few breaths. Then I was fine. It went quick. No pain as she said there shouldn’t be. Even after it was done and the anesthetic wore off, it didn’t hurt. I didn’t even need to take anything that evening.

The next two were pulled just last Thursday. Mild sedative again. I still had a nervous moment where I had to ask for a moment to collect myself and then I was absolutely fine. I’ve wondered if that nervous I need to ask for a little time to settle is a sort of defensive reaction. Checking to see if I have some kind of control of the situation. Once I’ve proved to myself I do, it’s gone and they can stab, yank, prod and scrape at my mouth all they need.

These two teeth were a little more stubborn, but again it didn’t hurt. I had a few times it stung later in the evening so I took some OTC pain meds which stopped it. Other than that, it’s been so pain free, I keep forgetting that I have empty sockets there and try to chew on that side. How’s that for no pain?

I even asked to look at the teeth this time. Kinda creepy to hold them in my hand. She pointed out the clump of infection which had loosened the one. Really creepy! Clearly no amount of brushing and flossing was going to get rid of it.

I asked when was the soonest I could go cycling. She said Saturday which of course I did.

Two more wisdom teeth to go. Before taking care of the previous two, she brought in the oral surgeon for me to meet. Originally, the nice dentist was going to pull them, but upon looking at them and the X-rays, she decided it would be better for a surgeon to do it. Less likely to damage the teeth next to them especially since they’re sitting at such odd angles. I thought it very kind that she brought the woman in for me to meet so I wouldn’t be facing it with a complete stranger. Gotta love Swedish dentists. Or at least dislike them much less. Hehe.

So, that’s what’s been happening in a nut shell. Fingers crossed I can move Loke’s appointment. As for rides, I think I’ll take Loke for the river loop again though add a touch more distance for him. Bump him up to 5 miles or so.

February 11, 2014, 9:11 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

I truly need to shake off this cloud of ‘Ehhh’ that surrounds my cycling of late. Only one ride in February so far and that just a River Loop.

The weather has been very mild. We had a couple of weeks of snow. Our last snow fall was an impressive 8+ inches in roughly 5 hours. Early the next morning though, the temp went up and so began days of 36-39 F and rain. Farewell to all the snow except for a few plow piles that are as much crushed gravel as they are snow. It’s kept the streets and paths clear which would be great for riding without worry of studded tires, but for the rain.

I need to build up my strength for any hope of a tour or four this year. I’m hoping that blogging about this will give me the kick in the rump I need.

As for Loke, the dietary setbacks continue. This week it was walking at night and discovering someone had scattered french fries on the sidewalk. Loke gulped at least one. Three days after that, on a walk with Jens, he got his teeth into the glop that was rain soaked bread. Since it required no chewing, he swallowed most of it before Jens pried his jaws open to scoop out what he could. The joys of urban living with a husky who’s wildly determined to eat everything he’s allergic to. Short of walking him the way someone displaying a Westminster pedigree animal at show (leash under the jaw, head high at maximum), it’s nearly impossible to keep him from finding people’s careless castoffs. Walking Loke like that would freak him out and exhaust me and my back in less than 200 yards.

Before those two set backs, Loke was wedged on the floor between couch and coffee table, twisted on his back and pawing at my arm to keep rubbing his tummy. During one such bid for my attention to resume the belly rub, I looked down at him to grin. Wouldn’t you know it? His tummy was almost white! If the dermatologist hadn’t told me that’s how it should be, I would have frowned at the sight of it and wondered if the furball was anemic. Instead, I smiled at the thought we might be making progress.

I really should get a close look at it after his indiscretions of french fry and bread.

On the 14th, Loke has another appointment with the nice Finnish doggie dermatologist, in Uppsala this time thankfully. No need to brace the chaos that is Stockholm’s streets.

Also, the woman I befriended in England while on the train leaving Falmouth will be visiting her brother who lives not far from Enköping. We’re going to make an attempt to get together that day! That should be fun!