Terii’s Cycling Babble

Inching Up
May 16, 2014, 5:57 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

The miles that is. Of course, ‘inching up’ mostly means the River Loop that I’ve taken the past 2 rides.

Both rides have had something of a minor miracle I think. Most of the time when I’ve spoken of changing weather during rides, it’s been from sunny to murky gray if I’m not rolling home through sprinkles or outright rain.

On Monday, Loke was being a bit pushy so out we went. Without Jens around to pick him up if he limped too much, I sadly kept it to the River Loop.

It was fairly cloudy, but most everything was dry as it hadn’t rained since the night before. The sky cover had the churned look rather than the flat, dull lead appearance and there wasn’t much wind. It was on the cool side, but not so much that I felt the need for the extra wool layer.

With a bit of hopping and yodeling while the Garmin found satellites, Loke made it known he wanted to move NOW. Over-done local outing or not. Starting out, it was the initial conflict between Loke wanting to run and my determination to keep him to a jog in hopes of minimizing joint impact. I won though it meant the furball gave me lots of sighs with annoyed ear tilts.

The first couple miles were fairly brisk at just under 8 mph. Somewhere along there, those clumpy clouds broke apart and beams of sunlight found their way through the blue skied chinks of gray armor.

Loke had a lot of energy. He’d hopped twice, but so mildly that I only spotted it because of my vigilance for it. Running so strongly, I decided to add a little extra distance as we crossed over the river so we made the right turn to follow the cycle path running northward along the high bank. That little out-n-back adds roughly 2 miles and it had been a long while since we’ve taken it. It was the first part of the River Loop that Loke got most bored with, probably because it is an out-n-back. Get to see it twice as much as opposed to a loop. The fuzzy one always goes faster coming back then going out, as if to say, ‘Okay, we did it. Can we please get to somewhere we’ve not already seen today?’

Parts of it sort of curve back and forth and I thought for a moment the stretch would be cut short thanks to a large backhoe blocking the way or tearing part of it up. Turned out it was beside the path and we scooted by with no problems.

I know it had been a while since we’d taken that path, but the site of a bunch of odd constructions from logs caught me by surprise as if they’d dropped from the sky. Curious, I stopped to get up for a closer look. It was an outdoor exercise space which seem to be becoming all the rage in Uppsala. There’s been one at the beginning of the Grave Mound paths for a couple years now.

Now this one just a couple miles away. A set of monkey bars, and something lower down with wider cross ties for ‘jogging’ over like football players do with tires. Another set of logs nearly 2′ across in graduated heights for hopping from one to the other and a series of bars at varying heights for chin ups from a prone position or standing. The rest of the logs have been set up and hinged in different configurations and heights to act like weight machines for chest presses, thigh presses and more. All of it is so new that the logs still have that raw ‘fresh’ look and weeds haven’t yet pushed through at the edges of the pack gravel surface.

Once the sun came out that section of the River path became a little more crowded. Joggers and older people pole walking adding to the cyclists. We made the turn at the end of the path and Loke picked up speed as we headed back to the usual River Loop.

For something a little different, I turned us left where the old path that’s been there since before I moved to Sweden is joined by the much newer section. It goes through something of a commercial/very light industrial area, but since we’ve done it less than a dozen times in 7-8 years, Loke was interested.

The little deviation from our usual route paid off in something that made me smile and Loke give a wild lunge of prey drive. A hare! Not just any hare, but a young one! He was barely half the size of an adult as he loped away to put some distance between himself and us. I think that’s the first hare of that age/size I’ve seen.

The rest of the ride back was uneventful. We finished with 6.9 miles and it hardly seemed to scratch the surface of Loke’s energy. He still gave me the bright-eyed, bushy tailed ‘What NOW?’ look when I came in. It took him a while to settle. He still half dragged Jens out the door for his walk that evening.

Tuesday, Jens left for London, but not until 10 am, so he had plenty of time to take Loke for a long walk. I was grateful for that since my feet are still feeling quite battered. Also, until I’m more certain of his joints, I prefer him to have a day or two of ‘light’ activity in between trike outings. So, he had another 3 very short walks with me through the rest of Tuesday. Wednesday was more short walkies.

Yesterday (Thursday), Loke let me know that husky lives not by kibble, water and short walkies alone. I’d awoken at roughly 4 am and took the furball for a short business walk before heading to the gym. He whined and even did a bit of that ‘husky talking’ as I left. Not quite yodeling, but still making his displeasure known. I kept the gym visit very short, having this image of coming back to the apartment to find angry, sleep groggy neighbors unhappily waiting for me because Loke had howled them from their beds. Thankfully all was peaceful.

Then it was putting his breakfast kibble in his dish sitting down to work on some 3D modeling. It sucked me in. Loke began subtly. First, by sitting beside my chair and giving little glances at my face without actually turning his head to look directly at me. When that gained him only a couple of side long looks back over about 15-20 minutes, he shifted to turn more toward me and rest his head on my mouse arm, shifting frequently to make it hard for me to aim the cursor. Finally, he wiggled under the little chair table holding my mouse pad to put his head on my leg. Within another 10 minutes, he’d managed to lever himself up into my lap in spite of the computer desk in his way. My only view was the faceful of husky fur between me and the monitor.

I didn’t have the heart to shoo him away. Besides, I knew if I didn’t take him after so pointed a hint, the entire day would disappear with just a couple more short walkies with him and the rest gone in a seeming blink with 3D work. So, I wiggled him out of my lap and started getting ready. The furball actually gave a couple of excited spins.

Though I had the car since Jens was in London, I decided I really didn’t have the time to drive somewhere more interesting. My current 3D project had devoured Wednesday which I could have done some errands in between husky walkies. Those still needed doing and better done when I was certain I had the car. I wasn’t sure if Jens was going to office on Friday (today). So… River Loop.

It didn’t put a damper on Loke in any way. He wanted to run and pulled most of the way when I stubbornly held him to under 8 mph. I didn’t take the extension, so it was just 4.5 miles. No limping. The gray skies parted to mostly sunny skies during that short 40 minute outing.

Worn more than half through

Worn more than half through

One of the main errands I felt needed done was new shoe laces for my cycle shoes. The old ones have had frayed spots for months now. Frankly, for most of this year, every time I’ve tightened the laces, it’s surprised me they didn’t just snap off in my hands. How those frazzled strands have hung on for this long baffles me.

I went to a couple of shoe stores, but all they had were the flat laces and I was determined to replace my round laces with round. Since most hiking shoes have round laces, I changed tactics by going to outdoor activity shops. The two downtown were out of the round laces. I had one more hope. The huge store out by Ikea. They have everything in a building the size of many Walmarts back in the States. Kayaks, sports (soccer, hockey even basketball), shoes for hiking, walking, running. Horse and dog accessories. Fitness equipment from treadmills to weights, kettlebells, exercise balls and bands. Fishing (fly and standard), cycling (a bit limited, but still!). Clothing for running, yoga, gym, hiking, sailing, rain wear. A rather large camping selection. It is also the first place I’ve ever seen weapons sold in Sweden. All for hunting, but still! Bows, rifles and shotguns as well as the gun safes that are mandatory in Sweden. The department store of all things outdoor is fittingly named XXL.

I ran around the shoe sections, but couldn’t spot where just the laces were. When I started making my second round through the sport shoes, one nice guy who’d greeted me before asked if he could help. Not knowing the word for ‘laces’ (not like I discuss shoe laces ever in Sweden), I had to swap to English. He knew exactly what I meant and took me right to the ones he had in his section. There were even round ones. 130 cm. I hoped those would do and picked up a pair thanking him. He then showed me to the ones in the hiking book section. They had 150 cm, but they looked a little too thick for the eyelets.

Turns out the 130 laces were fine. I pulled the most damaged section of the two laces between my hands. It’s still surprisingly strong given less than half of the strands are hanging on. They probably would have lasted out another dozen lace-ups or more!

So, that’s the update for the past two rides and a little extra. I might ride today. It depends on if I get an appointment at a foot clinic.


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