Terii’s Cycling Babble


Where Did The Time Go??
September 22, 2014, 9:01 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

It seems just a few days ago, it was more than a month to the Bornholm trip. Now it’s this coming weekend?! Jens still has to get his fishing gear together before Saturday and I need to decide how I’m going to manage the maps for this trip.

I might try something new with them. Rather than have a pre-plotted route mapped in a dark line on my print outs, maybe just printouts with the things I want to see clearly marked. Then I wing it from place to place. It would let me be a little more flexible about how to deal with the island’s apparently crazy winds.

Oh! The two photos in this first bit of ramble are those I forgot about from my ride on the 14th. That’s the one with the nearly squished vole. They are rather nice, I wanted to share even if the blog post is now well past. Current photos are further down!

The 'Old Faithful' of Autumn Colors - Sept 14, 2014

The ‘Old Faithful’ of Autumn Colors – Sept 14, 2014

As you can tell, autumn is making its appearance. It started back in August as usual, though a little less strongly than it generally does. Just a couple yellow leaves here or there that kind of turned into small clusters. Things didn’t really start coloring up until well into the first week of September. Suddenly all the birch trees were sporting their yellow streaks like highlights in a woman’s hair. The occasional flash of stronger colors springing out on the limbs of other select trees.

Frisky Horse & Friend

Frisky Horse & Friend – Sept 14, 2014

In spite of the vibrant hues emerging here and there, it’s been unseasonably warm. Almost ‘Swedish Summer’ warm. The kind of Swedish summer I wish we’d had for the entire season rather than those weeks where temps were high enough to trigger heat warnings. We’ve also been graced with clear days or at least mostly sunny. That broke yesterday/last night, but I’ll get to that.

Jens worked from  home on the 19th, so I decided to tackle a longer ride. I headed out on the first half of the River Loop, but then crossed the 272 onto Gamla Börje Road. The plan was to make for Läby and then the shopping centers where I would strike out for the old rail-trail which is now a gravel cycle/pedestrian/bridle path. From there it would be toward the city forest and home.

I’d meant for an early start, but the drippy sounds from outside put it off. Not rain, but a dense fog that condensed on everything. While I do have decent lights, I still didn’t really want to head out into murky gray shrouds where I’d be on small, sometimes curvy, country roads.

About 9 am, Jens started with ‘Are you going for a ride? When are you leaving?’ every 10 minutes. A peek through the curtains showed the fog finally starting to break though it was still clumpy, dense in a few places. I decided to get moving and hope by the time we rolled out, it would be better.

The Fyris River in Sun & Fog

The Fyris River in Sun & Fog

Loke clipped along fairly quick when we left the storage, but most of the time, he starts out even the most sluggish rides with a brisk pace. Just ahead of us, the fog bank seemed to retreat with sun breaking though in the promise of a pretty day.

As we came down the long hill to the River, it suddenly occurred to me, this might be something new for my camera. I stopped in the center of the bridge and stood up. I’ve photographed our little Fyris River dark and smooth,  murky brown with spring melt, running with chunks of ice, frozen over, and everything in between. But never with fog. It was pretty as you can see.

In short order, we were crossing the 272 and making that first quite steep climb onto Gamla Börje Road. As I settled into the climb, the fact it was easier hit me. Usually, I creep up it in my granny gear. This time, I was crawling rather than creeping, in a higher gear and with a slightly higher cadence. Even better? No desperate gasping like a beached whale nor the impulse to stop before I passed out. I wasn’t a match for a hard core Tour de France rider, but it was good for a plump, gray-haired woman with a husky who wasn’t interested in helping. I was thrilled! A huge grin split my face.

A Gorgeous Foggy Morning

A Gorgeous Foggy Morning

So pretty...

So pretty…

My performance on that first hill just left me filled with a sense of joy and delight for the ride. Even when the grin left me as Loke and I chased the retreating fog, a happy smile still lingered. What was there not to smile about? It was a pretty day with lingering mists giving novelty to familiar surroundings, Loke, though slow, showed no sign of arthritis and clearly, my outings with the trailer were paying off even if they had been short.

Loke somewhat surprised me on one section of the ride. There’s a stretch where he’s typical tried to run because there’s what I call the ‘kitty house’ ahead. He generally starts moving more quickly about a mile or so before we reach it, eager for a glimpse of felines he’ll never be allowed to catch. This time he didn’t really do that. I guess because it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen cats there. Almost a year I think. Makes me kind of sad as it might be a sign that the charming, elderly couple who live there might now be too infirm to care for those animals they clearly loved. Every cat I ever saw (up to 8 of them) always looked, healthy and well fed.

I just love what the fog does to the scenery.

I just love what the fog does to the scenery.

There was another reason for me to grin and feel delighted on the stretch too. As we coasted down the hill from the once ‘kitty house’, an older Volvo with a brown metal-flake color came toward us. As it slowed I had to give a happy laugh and wave. The window rolled down and greetings called out. It was the lovely couple who had so very kindly rescued Loke and I from the snowy side of the road next to Börje church in February, 2012 when I’d flipped my Trice, breaking the seat, after hitting a patch of black ice. It was glorious to see them again even if only for a handful of seconds.

Obligatory Autumn Hayfield Shot

Obligatory Autumn Hayfield Shot

My increased fitness continued to prove itself as we made the turn toward Ströbylund. For about a mile or two, it’s an upward grade. From the turn off Gamla Börje Road, to the rail tracks, a steady 4-5% climb, with a brief down glide and then a steeper complex of hills before a wonderfully long plunge that can be quite fun when I don’t have Loke with me. Those climbs made me grinning again. Faster, smoother and steady even on the steeper sections. Easy breathing. I haven’t felt that good on slopes like that in ages! In truth, it increased my eagerness to drag the trailer more and with more weight!

Now THAT is a yellow tree!

Now THAT is a yellow tree!

It’s always been my plan to increase the weight of it on my ‘training runs’. Something more than the 13 lbs of the trailer itself along with my tent and a couple other items. It’s probably been just 20 lbs or so that I’ve been pulling. I need to have the weight of all my camping gear feel tolerable.

The distance along the 72 cycle path was a breeze, thanks to being mostly level and the fact that we’d had so many days with little to no wind, of which the 19th was one. Loke had been fairly sluggish for most of the way, but he began to pick up the pace as we made the turn toward the shopping center.

We followed the usual trails through the green strip winding between residential areas, but emerged sooner than usual to cross the 55. My Garmin showed a cycle path which I hoped would lead us to the rail trail.

My new GPS uses ‘MyStreetMap’ which is an open source on-line map. People like me can add roads, foot-paths, cycle paths and more to the map rather than depending on whatever other map sources put out. This time, someone got it wrong. Where a dashed blue line for a cycle path was marked was what was a very narrow and tight foot path at best. So narrow even a skinny person trying to walk it would have been getting slapped with branches from both sides. A recumbent trike with a dog attached to a running bar on one side wasn’t going on that.

Poor Loke got to weed hop...

Poor Loke got to weed hop…

There were other cycle trails displayed down a simple network of residential streets which went in the direction needed and I hoped would link with the trail I wanted. I toodled by the modern, wood sided houses and past a couple of construction sites for others. The pavement gave way to a slightly loose gravel of a road that’s very likely less than a year old. It ended in a gravelly patch next to a pair of fenced pastures. Between the two wood and wire fences ran a narrow trail. It was passable though Loke took the brunt of having to push and bound through the weeds even with my left wheel rolling through them on the opposite side. I thought for sure we would come out of it covered in ticks. Surprisingly not a single one!

This is more like it! Loke loved it too!

This is more like it! Loke loved it too!

Just a short stretch of less than a quarter mile and the terrain and trail changed for the better. I gave a happy sigh at the improvement and Loke’s tail raised, waving like a joyful flag. It was still a bit tight when a girl on a bike came toward us. I had to cram Loke tight in to the undergrowth with a few branches in my own face to let her pass.

The ground dropped giving us a bit of a brisk going where even Loke wanted to run. At the bottom of the decline everything opened back up into fields. It was much wider, but also rougher with chunky gravel that had quite a few good sized stones to jar me around. Clearly, it wasn’t going to join the rail trail, but I knew where I was.

We pushed on, following other trails including one with a very steep hill. I still needed my granny gear and my cadence was waaaaaay down to creep up by inches. In spite of that, I didn’t feel as bad as I would have back in August or something. It was hard, I was breathing heavy, but not gasping. Slow, but the hill in no way killed me. I count it a victory still.

I wanted to join the city forest in a particular spot, so followed paths, roads and trails both familiar and unfamiliar. The familiar ones were ones I’d not been on in some years, so it was still good.

I was pedalling past a school where the students were outside, getting fresh air and exercise, something American school children are becoming unfamiliar with. Suddenly, one boy broke away from the others kicking a soccer ball around. I stopped as he ran up, eyes wide was saucers and a wondering smile on his face. “What a cool bike!” he said, not even giving Loke a glance. “You like it?” I asked. He nodded vigorously. I was about to offer letting him sit on it, but then his friends called and he went back to them with wistful glances over his shoulder.

Just Lovely!

Just Lovely!

I gave him a wave and headed on toward another wooded patch with trails running through it. It was another steepish climb, but pleasant for the surroundings.

I made a wrong turn in that tangle. While I was scooching the trike forward and back with my feet to make a multi-point turn, a young woman came jogging along the trail. She gave me a worried look as I again pushed the trike backward with my feet, dragging Loke along in reverse, “Are you okay?”

I laughed and assured her I was fine, just the trike didn’t turn as easily as a bike. I thought it very nice of her ask as if willing to help if I needed it.

The trail ended in another somewhat familiar area. I was tempted to take a left turn toward a lovely lane and trail that passed through horse pastures and then a wooded nature reserve. It’s an area Jens and I walk sometimes, I’ve cycled perhaps a handful of times and Loke absolutely adores. By this time, we’d already ridden some 10-11 miles with more to go. I wanted a new ‘long’ ride for the Garmin 1000, but that didn’t mean I wanted to flatten Loke. I’m being as careful about building him up as I am about myself with dragging the trailer. 20+ miles just felt like too much too soon, particularly with the Bornholm trip fast approaching.

So, I contented myself with looking for one of the trails that would connect to the city forest. I found one, but it turned out not to be manageable. It was open enough, but sooooo choked with roots and rocks. It needed a lot of very slow careful maneuvering even with my 26″ rear wheel. After about 50 yards or so, I decided I didn’t want to continue on at 1 mph for even just a quarter mile more. I wriggled my way back to kinder ground.

Instead, I followed small roads until I came to a crossing right at a much better portion of the Linne Path through the city forest.

My plan to ride south through the forest and then back north along the eastern edge of it before coming out somewhere at the northern end was abandoned. I was starting to feel tired and we had about another 4 miles or home. Still, we went with good speed through the forest. The trails of packed earth and leaf litter through foresty areas are Loke absolute favorite and he really likes to get moving on them above all others.

We emerged at the parking where Jens and leave the car for our walks there. Loke was still happy to move briskly for the long downglide toward the city center.

Before we made it too far from the parking lot, a call out slowed me down. A man waved from the other side of the road and said something. I asked, ‘What?’ and he hurried across the road, dodging a couple cars. Enter Azadi. An Armenian who’s parents had immigrated with him to Sweden when he was 12 or so. Very, very chatty. He was fascinated with the trike, interested in Loke. He loves to run and cycle and has a dream of riding a bike from Sweden to the town of his birth in Armenia. He was very interested in the fact that I loved cycling so much, and kept saying that he wished some of his friends shared his interest in exercise, running and riding, but alas. He asked if my husband or any of my friends share my interest in riding. I answered that Loke was the only one.

He asked me for my phone number, which I declined. He asked if he could leave his number with me and maybe we could go exercise together. Since I ride so slow, he said, he’d run while I pedalled. I made no promises, but let him type the number into my phone. I even let him try sitting on the trike. Predictably, with his height, most of it seeming to be long legs, he could barely put foot to the pedals without folding himself completely in half because the boom has to be so short for my runty stature.

I don’t know. I felt a little uncomfortable with hope of us running/cycling around together. It could be just my solitary nature making me feel that way as I’ve been very ‘lone wolf’ for quite a long time now. Excepting Jens of course.

I finally managed to say good-bye (over half an hour later) and continued the easy coast down to the river area. There were no stops at the American Food Store this time or even for ice cream.

We made it home under sunny skies with no trace of fog and 16.5 miles. I slept like a log that night.

Saturday was a rest day for me and Loke. My muscles felt like they’d done something, which is a nice feeling.

Yesterday, Sunday, Sept 21, Loke and I went out around noonish for a River Loop. It was mildly warm… or cool depending how one looks at it. Overcast. Not a gleam of sun to be seen which was quite a change from the past week or more. At least we still had wonderfully calm air. I took the car, parking it close to the storage as I didn’t want to lug camera bag, handlebar bag and my black pod bags with 3 liters of water and various other small items for half a mile.

As I worked to hitch the trailer and get everything in order, a pair of kids came walking across the parking lot. A boy of about 7 and a girl perhaps 5. As golden haired as cherubs and cute as buttons both of them. The girl stopped a short distance away as the boy went on, swinging a grocery bag full of trash and juggling the keys to the garbage shed. After a moment, she quietly asked if she could pet Loke. I smiled and said of course!

Loke was on his best behavior in spite of getting ready for a run. The girl smiled adorably, saying how soft Loke’s fur was. Finally the boy came over, holding out his hand for Loke to sniff. “What breed is he?”, he asked, sounding older than his years.

He looked a little confused when I said, ‘Siberian Husky’. I’m sure my very American accent didn’t help. I added it was a breed of sled dog and he brightened. We chatted a little longer, while Loke covered them in fur and even deigned to give him his version of kisses, which involves smooshing nose into whatever available face part is in reach. Finally the boy gave Loke one last pat, reluctantly saying they had to go or their dad would worry. I understood and sent them off with waves.

On all the trailer rides, I’ve been avoiding the cycle path which runs through a frisbee golf course. We take it regularly without the trailer, but there’s one steep hill I didn’t want to try with the extra weight. The same can be said of all the steeper hills I know about. This time, I tested myself. The trailer weighs about 13 lbs empty and I’ve been dragging along a few bits of camping gear of about 5 lbs or a little more.

I made it! Dragging the trailer up it now actually felt no more difficult than say… climbing the hill without it back before I started trailer-training. Maybe even a smidge easier. That solidified my decision that when I go next it will be with a large soda bottle of water added to the rest. I probably should replace everything with soda bottles. That way when I stop to run in to the American Food Store, a nosey, opportunistic thief peeking under the cover will find nothing of value. Unless they’re desperate enough for the 1 kr return on the bottles.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. I did a brief workout at the log exercise park which is becoming a habit. By the time I was getting everything back into storage, the gray skies were looking distinctly more threatening with thickening clouds.

I was right! Jens took Loke for a walk around 4 pm and it was a soggy husband and husky that returned to the apartment. It’s appeared to have rained all night and well into this morning. As for the calm air we’ve had for a week or more? It seems to be making up for its stillness with a vengeance. Leaves hissing and fluttering as limbs get lashed around by roaring gusts.

My streak of riding every other day, with the exception of twice this month, will be broken yet again this week. I hope to get in another 2 rides by Wednesday, but after that, I will be getting focused for Bornholm. Definitely a ride on Wednesday, perhaps one today if the rain stops or tomorrow. It will mean two days-two rides, but I’m fine with those as a sort of testing/training for the tours I hope to do next year as well as the rides on the island.

Thursday and Friday will be given over to laundry and packing which is still recovery from cycling. Most of Saturday will be spent in the car for the long haul south to Ystad. I want to be good and recovered for Bornholm. That said, our ferry on Sunday is sometime in the early afternoon. Depending on how things are packed, I might go for a toodle around Ystad in the morning. Obviously I’ll skip it if we can’t get the trike out without dragging everything out of the car. It’s a small town, but it looks to have a lovely old center around its church. Should be good for a couple miles, some photos and a chance for Loke to stretch his legs before we get on the ferry.

In spite of the fact that winds on Bornholm most often seem to rage between 22-30+ mph, I’m looking forward to the trip. Just need to finish planning!

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