Terii’s Cycling Babble

Somewhat Back to Normal!
February 18, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Loke that is, but I’ll get to that.

After my last post, the one rest day wasn’t really. Loke still seemed to be having GI issues which meant I tried my best to walk him in hopes of working things out and monitoring the progress of his condition. Lots and lots of walking.

Before this ‘outbreak’, I’d walk with Loke roughly an hour a day. Since his intestinal problems began it’s been more like an 1 hour and 45 minutes to over two hours. After the ride on the 10th, Jens was so slammed with work and traveling for the job that he was gone in the early mornings and not back until late. Perhaps the time would have been better spent at least attempting to ride, but my body hurt. The muscles felt so over used and needing a recovery period for the tiny little fibers to repair and strengthen. It just wasn’t happening with me staggering around with Loke for 2+ hours every day.

Valentine’s day rolled around and Jens made a gift of his time and effort. For the entire day, he took care of all of Loke’s walks. I was so very grateful for it and definitely needed it. Jens also surprised me with a pretty bouquet of flowers. He went shopping for his lunch and ran across the street from the grocery to pick out something from the florist.

That one day of rest did wonders. Sunday, out we went!

It was a stunning day. Valentine’s day had been flawless. Blue sky completely clear of clouds, no wind and temps in the upper 30’s. The 15th was nearly as beautiful. Thin clouds marred the perfection of the heavens, but the sun still shone with a tangible warmth. It was colder, hovering at or a little below freezing. Some wind, but nothing brutal.

Jens dropped us off. I ran around in the storage space, getting ready. It wasn’t until had my shoes on that I discovered the batteries for the footwarmers had escaped the confines of my handlebar bag. I tore through every bag, nook, and cranny to be sure they weren’t hiding there to no avail.

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound

I’d tentatively planned, once again, to attempt the Läby loop. Not without footwarmers. Pushing the trike out of the storage and locking up, Loke was completely confused when we scooted across the street into the park instead of hanging a left-left. He didn’t mind though. He does love running along narrow paths crowded with trees even when the path is covered with 3″ of rock-hard, polished ice.

From the storage to apartment, it’s pretty much down a gentle grade. I let Loke stretch his legs a little into an easy lope of about 10 mph.

Jens was shocked when I came rampaging into the apartment, flying around in search of the batteries. He didn’t help. Loke was waiting outside with the trike, which is a bit stressing enough. His barrage of questions didn’t help. ‘Did you lock the trike?’ ‘Should Loke really be out there by himself, tethered to the trike?’ ‘You did at least set the parking brake, right?’. I could feel my blood pressure rising through the roof.

Stressed, I told Jens it was going to be a short ride since I couldn’t find the batteries and bolted out the door.

From there we headed off onto the River Loop from the old, ‘pre-storage’ beginning.

What a beautiful day!

What a beautiful day!

We hadn’t gone far when there was an incident that got my heart racing. The path was pretty crowded, what with the gorgeous weather and being a weekend. We rolled up behind where a woman walked along with a large Golden Retriever. After waiting for some people to pass, I rang my bell to let her know I was there. She ignored it, but not the Golden. Growling, he leaped at us with more speed and determination than one would expect from a fat old Golden Retreiver. I screamed at her. He’d pulled out over 3 yards of leash when she clicked the button and nearly got yanked off her feet.

If it had been me he wanted, that dog would have bitten my face off. I was in easy range of his teeth. I didn’t move as he snarled and snapped across me, straining to reach Loke less than a foot away from his nose. I didn’t want to distract him and get bit as he blindly chewed air in an attempt to get a piece of Loke. The woman struggled to drag her dog back, saying ‘sorry’ over and over.  I had some of his saliva on my face when she finally pulled him away and tried to get control.

Loke was remarkably indifferent to the dog. Generally, he’s fascinated by other dogs and yanking around to meet them for a chance to display his much vaunted dominance. In his fuzzy little brain, anyway. He just stood there and looked at him with a glance or two at me. It seems to be something rather common with Loke though. When a dog responds to us with such furious aggression, he just… stands there. No fear, but not interested in interacting either.

I have been thankful quite a few times for that quirk.

There was little problem with my toes for most of the ride. I stopped a couple times in the sun to put my feet on the ground where the wind wouldn’t whistle through the holes. They’d warm up and onward we’d go. It wasn’t until we turned south along the 272 that my big toes started feeling the cold burn. It eased off again when we turned toward the river.

We were making the turn on to the path right by the river side when I saw a man with a beautiful Siberian Husky. He was bigger than Loke and looked pudgy in that way only castrated dogs can. Sure enough, that pretty boy had been neutered. We let them meet. Loke didn’t want to play nice. He wanted to do the whole dominance mounting things while the other wanted to sniff his butt. Loke’s short tether complicated things in one way, but it couldn’t really get out of control.

It turns out that pretty boy was actually a pretty ‘old man’. He was almost 10 years old. His markings were the more traditional symmetrical pattern on the face and body, a deep chocolate brown and cream on white rather than black on white. His eyes were amazing. They were a light brown. Not golden like a wolf’s, but like dark amber. Stunning. He was very sweet too. He made sure to give me a few Husky kisses which seemed to make Loke a little jealous. Not like Loke ever gives husky kisses… unless he’s been penned in a hospital kennel for 5 days.

Made it home with right on the button 7 miles and uncomfortably painful toes.

As for the batteries, I found them less than a minute after getting home. I might have done so sooner if not been stressed right out of the apartment. Just felt like Jens was about to grab and throw me out because he was worried Loke had run off with the trike or something. Loke has always been great about waiting with the trike though. Even when he was a energy crazed young dog.

I’ll always remember the first time I left him alone with the Trice. It was in the beautiful historic walking center of Sala, outside the tourist office. I could see him through the window as I talked with the staff. I expected him to try to jump on people who reminded him of ‘Grandma’ or ‘Grandpa’, leap after another dog to to say, ‘Hi! I’m the boss!’. Nope. He just sat there, looking around and waiting. I came out and hugged him to bits for being such a good boy. That was also the day of our longest outing. 40+ miles. The post of that ride is on here somewhere. I think.

Over the weekend, Loke’s GI issue had actually been steadily improving. Monday he was almost normal. Yesterday (Tuesday), he was absolutely normal. There would have been much rejoicing and there was, in spirit. But no food goodies. Just kept him strictly on his kibble and reindeer. I will not tempt fate if I can help it.

Yesterday was also another ride. I didn’t decide to do the Läby loop. That plan seems to be cursed at the moment. Also it was colder than it had been on Sunday and I was a bit under the weather. Mostly, I went out to get Loke a bit of exercise that didn’t involve me walking. Jens worked from home, but he was fighting a cold. In those circumstances, dog walkie duty falls heavy on me. The way, I felt, taking a nice slow pedal with maybe two very short walks was preferable over 3 or 4 moderate walks.

Then fate decided to make things more unpleasant. As I sat on the floor in the storage room to settle my complex shoe arrangement, my back gave me a little twinge that pulled me upright. I went back to the task, and another. Then, as I struggled to push the trike up the slope without slipping onto my face, the grand-daddy twinge came that had me seeing stars.

I guess all the walking has aggravated it, combined with the lack of walking or the gym. Perhaps the fact I’d gone to the gym that morning put the icing on the cake. It’s been years since I’ve felt that kind of back pain.

I didn’t let it stop me. Somehow I pushed the trike up and sat down. Triking helps and it always has. The reason I looked into trikes was because my back interfered with my love of cycling and three wheels under a fully supporting seat was a way around that. That first time I test rode the Trice in England, I had back pain before I sat down in the seat. After 15 minutes of looping around the industrial neighborhood, it felt so much better. Even if I hadn’t had a blast on that tiny little ride, the improvement in the back would have had me hooked. The sheer fun value was the line and sinker.

It’s that fun that kept me from going back to a normal bike. Within a year of the Trice’s arrival, I was pretty much free from back pain. I just loved it too much. Seeing the scenery without cricking my neck or spending rides staring at the road before the front wheel. No numb hands, hurting wrists. Riding not walking up hills in spite of my wrecked knees. I loved that the most. Plus, Loke couldn’t pull me over!

But I ramble.

If it's gonna look this gray, the least it could do is _snow_ :P

If it’s gonna look this gray, the least it could do is _snow_ 😛

Counter to the past 3 or 4 days of glorious weather we’d had, yesterday was cold and gray. The wind blustered at times, but not constantly so it wasn’t all bad. My Garmin reported temperatures as low as 25 F, but it nudged up to 29 a few times.

We plodded around what’s become the new River Loop since moving the Trike to the storage. Loke was happy to be out, but I’ve noticed on the last few rides that since his hospital stay, he’s lost a bit of his… luster. He’s not as energetic. That’s worried me some. As I’ve been saying, he’s getting older and there’s going to be a point where he just can’t quite bounce back fully from setbacks. This might be one of those. But he was happy enough and not in pain which are the important things. He felt well enough to be helping me most of the way which is something.

We arrived back at the storage with 4.3-ish miles and my back felt a bit better.

It didn’t stay that way. I’d closed up and was coming up the slope when my ankle seized up for the second time in 2 weeks. That made me lurch and a stab of pain in my back drove me to my knees. The combination hurt so bad, all I could see was gray with starbursts for a few seconds. Jens came down to take Loke and lend his arm.

I have to say, I’m quite peeved with all these old ailments I’ve not endured for years rearing their ugly heads. The ankles first, then the back and then ganging up. I find the ankle thing ironic in particular since my weight is down a whopping 15 lbs since the stroke. Of course, the worst times I’ve had with ankles and knees was when I was a tiny little thing of 125 lbs.

As for the back, if I can get Jens to help get the trike out, it won’t stop me riding. It didn’t the first few years with the Trice and it won’t now. The PT may try to convince me that walking is the best thing for it, but that’s never felt true. The worst time have been when I’ve walked most. It always responded best to riding.

The trike has always been my freedom and I’m determined it will continue to be so.

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