Terii’s Cycling Babble


So Far, So Good!
May 13, 2014, 4:57 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Went out for another ride over the weekend. Nothing spectacular. Just what I’ve come to call the ‘Läby Loop’ since I pass fairly close to a church of that name. It certainly sounds better than ‘ICA Maxi Loop’ which is where I generally prefer to buy groceries because they have a better selection of fruits than the place in Granby that Jens prefers.

I decided on that route in keeping with my decision to enrich Loke’s life with more than the River Loop. It involves parts of the River Loop, but there’s about a 7-8 mile added stretch in between the beginning and end of the River Loop we’ve not seen quite so often.

Loke started out quite strong and unlike the previous ride, he did not want to settle. He wanted to go even though the first 2 miles are River Loop. When it came time to turn right and scoot over the 272 for Gamla Börje Road, he was thrilled. He was pulling hard, nearly 2 inches of extra tether straining against the spring in the running bar. His efforts made that first steep climb nearly a breeze. I think he was anticipating the long, fast glide down the other side. I hated to disappoint him, but for his long term health, I thought it best that he didn’t go charging along at 15 mph.

Over the 2+ miles between home and that climb, Loke didn’t limp or hop even once.

Just a mile or so down the Gamla Börje Road, my Garmin gave a loud beep. I glanced at it and then looked closer. ‘Low Battery’. Oops. I pushed a button the clear the message and expected it to go blank with another beep at any moment.

The fuzzy was happy as we cruised along at 7 mph beneath a murky gray sky and utterly calm air. My mind drifted as I kept an ear out and eye on the mirror for approaching traffic from behind. ‘Socks’ came to mind. If I’m going to do this, I need to start making socks again. The River Loop once or twice a week is no problem for Loke’s feet which refuse to toughen up, but say 10 – 12 miles twice a week or more could add up to tender paw-pads. Unacceptable since socks can easily remedy the issue.

Oh, how I miss the days of his iron hard foot pads that could run 25-35 miles several days a week with hardly a scuff! That said, I’m sure he would/does as well, if he can/does remember back that far. He does not approve of the socks at all.

That thought of socks, which I had none of with me, reminded me to keep an eye on his feet. I checked them around Ströbylund and decided they had a couple more miles in them, but once I reached the shopping center, I should probably call Jens to pick him up.

The final approach to the cycle path along the 55 actually became a little windy. Not howling gales, but enough to move the few weeds already present at the fringes of paved edges.

Loke was still running good and strong as we made the final approach to the grocery store. Not once had he given any indication of arthritis which had me grinning wide. We’d taken it nice and easy, roughly 7.5 mph when we weren’t climbing hills. We’d gotten off the River Loop which brightened my mood and I’m pretty sure his as well.

It was actually trying to rain as I coasted to a halt beneath the awning of the door to the recycling area of the store. There was just enough room for me to tuck the trike out of the way of people going in and out. One older man with a walker, stopped to admire the trike. Told me it was a beautiful machine, had I made it myself? It gave me a chance to sing the praises of the people at ICE.

Jens arrived and Loke was happy to see him, though he looked a bit forlorn through the car window when he realized me and the trike were going on without him. My husband asked how much longer would I be. With the weather, and the fact my thighs were already letting me know they’d had plenty of exercise, I told him I was coming directly home.

I scooted off as well as the car pulled away with Loke watching pitifully through the back window.

That 4 miles between the shopping center went quick. I zoomed along the swerves and turns of the network of cycle paths in the wooded area between the stores and a residential area. Then it was a long glide down a gentle slope through one of those housing clusters. I spun the pedals as fast as I could to milk every bit of speed out of that hill. Then it was the slow grind up a rather steep grade past a graveyard to get to the recently paved MUP path that connects with what I call the ‘forest’ loop. The single woody patch crowning another steep hill is too modest for the term ‘forest’, but looking through the trees with mossy logs and thick leaf litter reminds me of a forest.

The down from that hill can be fun, though quite white knuckle unless I creep down with squealing brakes. I tend to test my nerves a little with it when I can. This time, I could. It was unoccupied as far as the eye could see, so I shot down the nearly rollercoaster steep drop at over 20 mph. I might have hit a new high speed for that particular stretch as fresh paving made it significantly less ‘white-knuckle’ than it used to be. For years the path at the lower section of the hill has been pitted with potholes, crammed with patches or those odd lumps that could make anything with wheels airborne. Oh, and mustn’t forget to mention the gaping cracks, 10+ yards long that seem as wide as canyons when one is whizzing along at over 15 mph and desperate to avoid them.

That minefield of potential disaster is gone for now! The whole crumbling section of path has been ripped up, replaced by smooth, pitch black, fresh asphalt. I screamed gleefully as I shot through the underpass beneath the 55.

Then it was on to the soggy path between wooded park land and huge field to the vicarage before zipping back to the tail end of the River Loop for home.

My legs so hated me. They had barely noticed the 10 mile outing, but they felt every inch of the 12.7 I finished with. Loke had accompanied me for 8.7 of it. Between the shops and home, the Garmin showed exactly 4 miles. I’d done it in roughly 16 minutes. Maybe it was the greater number of hills which were steeper than any of those on the 10 miler. Add in the blazing fast (for me) 4 miles, yes, it’s easy to see why they were unhappy with me after so little cycling for the past 8 months.

Amazingly, the Garmin held out for the entire ride! It had been over an hour after the low battery alert.

All in all, I felt very good about the day’s efforts. Loke had done great. No doubt he could have done the full distance and still wanted more, but I need to buckle down and make some socks. I’d done a new ‘longest ride’ of the year for myself which felt great even if it was a measly 12 miles instead of something respectable like 30+.

I’ll get there.

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