Terii’s Cycling Babble

April 19, 2015, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

13 days. That’s how long it was between the ride my brutal cold chose to reveal itself and when I felt I was well enough to risk riding again without relapse. My frustration and so forth was already vented in the previous post, so I’ll let that lay.

I’ve not been writing about my rides for 2 reasons. Firstly, it’s just been local loops alternating between the River, Uppsala downtown with or without the city forest or through Uppsala but toward the Vaksala end of town. Round and round. Secondly, an oopsie on my part left my computer infected with a rather nasty virus. Ended up reformatting and needed to re-install everything to my liking again. That was the big reason.

The weather before my first ride post-cold had been pretty miserable. The morning of March 28th no exception. But it cleared remarkably well and warmed so I decided to risk it. I expected the ride to be ugly since I’d been off the trike for just shy of 2 weeks. Surprisingly, that assumption was wrong. Yes, I felt weaker, but not horribly so. My speed was fairly solid through the distance and breathing good though clearly I had a bit less stamina than the most recent pre-cold rides. Based on that, I kept a bit short arriving back at storage with 4.4 miles.

Staring at me and nudging Jens

Staring at me and nudging Jens

Through the entire outing, Loke had been a wild dog. He pulled furiously, wanted to run every chance he could and annoyed I kept him to under 12 miles an hour. After nearly 2 weeks, I expected him to be fairly calm when we arrived back home. How wrong I was. He bounced around, pouncing on a bit of moose rawhide like a over sized cat, bringing it to me to throw every now again. He harassed Jens. The ride had only wound Loke up like a toy on hyper-speed.

On the 31st, I’d planned to ride again. Annoyingly, roadwork on our tiny little street had blocked the car in the parking lot. My determination was such that I still got dressed to go. Loke and I walked to the storage. Walking is still very rough on me, but the plan had been to walk, ride the trike, park at the apartment until Jens got home, ride back to storage to have Jens pick me up.

The walking there part of the plan worked flawlessly, until I opened the storage and coaxed Loke in. As he sighed and slunk inside (he dislikes the room), I realized he wasn’t wearing his harness. I debated for a brief moment to ride to the apartment and get it before continuing on. Remembering one time when I’d forgotten to clip Loke’s harness to the tether changed my mind. He’d pulled forward and cut left in front of the right wheel and got a foot hurt. The trike had been going slow, just starting to roll so it didn’t go completely over the foot, but he still yelped and limped a couple steps. Risking a repeat of that or worse seemed so unnecessary. So, we walked back home. I didn’t have the reserves to then walk back to the storage and ride. At least Loke got a walk out of it.

If I’d thought about it, I would have at least used the trip to swap a tire or three. Annoyance at forgetting something as basic as Loke’s harness pushed the consideration right out of my head.

Gorgeous day!

Gorgeous day!

April 2nd was my next ride. I expected it to be just a River Loop, but the day was so pretty and I felt surprisingly strong. In celebration of those two delights, we kept going, doing the full ‘Downtown Uppsala’ Loop sans city forest. Spring was clearly on its way. Flowers here and there, a warm sun and lots of bird song. It gets very quiet in the winter.

Kitty giving Loke the stink eye.

Kitty giving Loke the stink eye.

Loke ran very well as we wound our way along cycle paths and through small residential areas. Between home and the American store, the most interesting incident came as I was following a path between one set of residential streets and another. A cat was in a grassy bit of park land next to where I stopped to offer Loke water. As the furball quenched his thirst, the moderately long-haired marmalade tabby came ambling our way. He was remarkably unconcerned with Loke’s presence, stopping only once as he crossed the path less than 10 feet away. He gave Loke a flat look and puffed his tail slightly. Then he looked away to walk on as if to say, ‘Pffft, not worth my attention.’

Loke watched him and nothing more. Surprising, given that he views any small animal that’s not a dog as fair game.

I felt a little bad for the kitty. He was clearly in need of some loving care. His fur near the haunches had a couple dense mats, the kind that would require cutting out.

Lots of people were out enjoying the sun along the river all through downtown Uppsala. Swedes love the sun and the river is the most open area through the city. The east bank in the full light of the sun was packed. The more shaded west side looked forlornly empty.

Chatted with Charles’ wife who was manning the American store and picked up Jens some seeded bagels. From there, it was a quick jaunt back to the storage with a total of 9 miles right on the nose. Not a bad way to spend a couple hours on such a pretty day.

The lovable kitty

The lovable kitty

April 3rd, I rode again. Don’t remember much about the ride except another cat crossed our paths. This loop was through the north-eastern part of Uppsala and off to Vaksala church and the Granby mall. Part of the route I use is a paved path through parkland separating two residential areas. In the middle of the park, there’s a large hill with a simple bit of sculpture on the peak. A dirt foot path curves up past a clump of shrub like trees to the top. On the path was a cute gray and white cat who was desperate for affection. A couple people walked along the path and the cat wound around their legs with piteous meows. So sweet, I had to wonder how on earth could they ignore such a lovable critter.

As I put my iPhone away, he saw us. Tail raised and every motion of his body exclaiming his delight at finding a person so handy to his height, he came running. I tensed because Loke’s attention was tightly locked on this cat and he had that prey-driven gleam in his eye.

Fortunately, the cat saw Loke when still about 15 feet away and stopped, tail drooping in disappointment so much like a dog might do. Then he turned to scurry off into some bushes.

The rest of the ride was uneventful and we returned to the storage with 9.68 miles under paws and wheels.

Jens had big plans for me over the Easter weekend. He enthused about driving me to a places as far away as an hour to ride on fresh (or at least not as stale) ground.

Saturday, April 5th was a scheduled rest day. Easter Sunday followed as another day off the trike as when temperatures stubbornly hung on to barely above freezing and spits of snow of all things. Teach me to put away my foot warmers to save the expensive batteries when spring is here. It did warm enough for snow to become rain, but 35 F and rain is worse than 20 F and snow. I stayed in.

Jens had Monday off as well, but rather than take the trike somewhere for a fresh ground ride, I opted to just do another loop around home. Several reasons really. First, I’m wary of aggravating Jens by putting the trike in the new car that might leave a smear of grease or a scratch somewhere in the interior. He could probably talk me around that if I felt fitter for longer distances to be honest, which is the 2nd reason. Seems silly to be driven any where when not feeling strong enough to do more than 10 or 12 miles. Too much trouble for 2 or 3 hours ride.

Trikes rock for waiting at rail crossings

Trikes rock for waiting at rail crossings

So, off we went for another local loop. I did try to add a little flavor to it by exploring alternative routs to the city forest. The ‘old’ way involved coming out near the forest, and doubling back on the same street after riding through it. I was trying to find a way that same out ‘above’ the forest as it were so there would be no double back except among the trees and unpaved path of the woods as I looped through the park. I found away, but it had an absolutely brutal climb. Took me over 5 minutes to creep up 200 yards, my knees threatening to explode for every agonizing turn of the pedals. A couple of kids watched all goggle-eyed as I crawled past them, Loke pulling as much as he could.

Goodbye, sun!

Goodbye, sun!

But at least it was some kind of variety. We crossed areas we’ve been over frequently, but arriving and leaving from different directions than before. The sun had been mostly out when we started, but it quickly disappeared. I stopped at a pretty little pond near some pastures and garden plots to photograph it with the transition from semi-sun to full clouds. A cheerful woman stopped to chat with me as I took the picture. She was completely entranced with Loke and told me about a husky she had years ago.

Once the sun vanished, I was glad to find my gloves lurking in the bottom of my pod bags. A light breeze and no sun made it a bit nippy.

World, meet Charlie. Such a gorgeous sweetie!

World, meet Charlie. Such a gorgeous sweetie!

With the chill, I cut short the ride through the city forest, heading directly through one corner of it rather than zigging around on some of the more interesting trails. Still, it was the first ride through there this year.

As we came to where we generally leave the forest, an older couple was walking ahead of us with a large rambunctious dog. They finally noticed us and stood to one side. The woman asked about Loke and I stopped to chat. Their dog whined and pulled and barked, desperate to meet Loke so I gave the go ahead. Loke had met his match.

Charlie, the woman explained, was a Siberian/Malamute cross. He had a good 4 inches in the shoulders over Loke and probably a good 25-30 lbs in weight more. Then the woman dropped the bombshell that had me wide-eyed in surprise. This lovable monster who was giving Loke a taste of his own medicine by being in his face and happily dominate was just 6 months old. He still had growing to do! At that rate, he was going to dwarf many Malamutes which are a significantly larger breed than huskies.

I asked if I could take a photo and then had to get up and meet him a few steps away from Loke. He was happy to comply and jumped up to put paws on my shoulders and kiss me. I’m a short woman (5’2″), yes, but we’re talking about a 6 month old puppy that could reach my shoulders. Full growth, he could probably reach my husband’s without too much trouble. Jens stands about 5’10”. I imagined him harnessed to my trike. I doubt I’d ever have to crank a pedal if he decided to be a puller. Probably not as fast as my comparatively dainty Loke used to be, but still.

I bid fond farewell to the three of them and went on through the chill day.

This time, I skipped stopping at the American food store. Once a week is more than enough.

My absolute favorite crocuses!

My absolute favorite crocuses!

This actually turned out to be a chatty ride. First the woman next to the pond, then the couple with sweet Charlie. Along the river through Uppsala’s heart, the most gorgeous clusters of deep purple crocuses have sprung up around the trunks of the old trees there. I stopped to photo one such cluster.

When I turned back, there was a woman who had stopped her bike to admire my trike. We chatted about it and bikes in general. She grinned as she pointed to my studded tires, ‘I see you haven’t changed yours either.’ Then she told me there was a strange bike in the window of a cycle shop just a few yards up the road that had a bike kind of like mine, but not. It looked much older and she thought it had only 2 wheels. She had only caught a glimpse as she rode past the shop.

While we chatted, a truly bizarre bike went past us, a young man on it. The wheels were normal, but the frame had been stretched upward so the seat was 5 or 6 feet off the ground. On a rack behind the seat, was a boombox thumping out music.

Before leaving the downtown area, I did another first of the year. I had an ice cream from one of the kiosks next to the river. It tasted surprisingly bland.

We finished that ride with 9.88 miles.

The first couple days after I started riding post-cold, I felt I was improving fairly well. Around Easter though, I started coughing more. I’ve been giving the occasional cough since the stroke because one of my hypertension medications has that side effect. A cough here, another a few hours later. Not enough to even annoy me. I coughed lots during the cold clearly, but had felt on my way back to the rare 2 or 5 coughs through a day. I suddenly started having attacks where I couldn’t stop coughing. Eyes watering, curled up as it felt like a little pin was pricking one tiny spot in my throat that wouldn’t let me stop long enough to catch my breath. Not like a sharp needle jab, but that little touch that produces a kind of stinging itch. That kind of pricking. No matter what I drank or how many cough drops I was going through, I was having a dozen or more of these gasping attacks.

Tuesday, April 7th, I had one so bad that I had a sudden stabbing pain through my head just above my left eye. That freaked me out. I managed to choke on any further coughs as I did checks on my smile reflex and fine coordination with my fingers. Nothing like a jab of pain in one’s skull to make a stroke survivor freak out.

Wednesday, April 8th, I went to the health clinic for a walk-in. Spoke to a nurse, who immediately fitted in a time with a doctor. Breathing check, blood pressure check, coordination test. The doctor watched as I had one of the fits. I explained between coughs that I needed to know if this was my medication’s side effect out of control or something else. So, it was off for a blood test which fortunately could be done via a finger jab.

Turns out, I have some kind of virus. A common, very mild cold the doctor thought. So mild that I had no other symptoms of it (clear lungs and sinuses, no temp) except what would have been a slight cough. Combined with my blood pressure medication cough, it had multiplied both of them. We discussed options like changing to another medication. There is one that doesn’t have the coughing side effect, but getting the dose right is a bit of a trick. I decided to go with a prescription strength cough syrup to wait out the virus rather than deal with my blood pressure doing a yo-yo while we figured out dosage.

Before I left, I wistfully asked the doctor if I could ride my bike. She said that since my lungs were clear and normal she saw no reason for me to not to do so as long as I felt up to it. She added a recommendation that I avoid riding if it was cold though, to keep chill out of my lungs until I shook this off.

Rolling up the sleeves for battle...

Rolling up the sleeves for battle…

I planned to ride the very next day. It started cold that morning, so going right away was out of the question per the doctor’s recommendation. Instead, I decided that the tire thing was getting a bit silly. So to pass the time for the day to warm up, I left Loke at home and headed to the storage. I took along my iPad with music on it to make the torture more endurable and set to combat.

It was a full on battle with the front tires at least. The rear was done in an amazingly short time. Wheel off, tire off, summer tire on and wheel back on the trike in under 10 minutes. It was their plan to lull me into a sense of complacency. Even just getting the first front tire off was a titanic effort. It’s frustrating and baffling as sometimes they seem to jump right off or on and other times it’s hell.

This was one of the more hellish times. I’m definitely going to need to replace them because the rubber covering the bead was starting to look a bit frayed.

In the midst of the struggle, my phone rang. Plumbers said they had a report of a leak in our bathroom and needed to take a look. So, I hurried home, baffled about the reported leak. It was a miscommunication. Our bathroom is in serious need of renovation. Paint starting to peel off the ceiling and water got into one wall years ago and other things. So, they’re going to be doing the floor, walls and replacing tub, sink and toilet. Once they’d had their look, they said they would talk with apartment maintenance and schedule things.

Before returning to the storage, I changed into my cycle clothes. This time, Loke came with me. Out in the sun, I tethered him near where I worked and returned to the job. Total time was close to 2 hours. The pads of my thumbs and index fingers felt like raw meat. Toward the end, I resorted to the internet. Pity it didn’t occur to me sooner, but I found a quick little tutorial on YouTube which will hopefully make such tire swaps a snap. Thank you, YouTube. Might have saved me over an hour if I’d thought of it sooner.

Our ride was just the River Loop. All the up and down off the ground and wrestling with rubber and metal had taken a toll so I had no real strength for more. 5.8 miles and nothing memorable about the ride itself though the weather was glorious when we rolled out. It might have been just above freezing in the morning, but by time I plopped into the trike, all I needed was my summer weight gear. Other than that it was just miles to build stamina and get exercise in general.

Love these trails!

Love these trails!

After a day of rest, Loke and I went out again on the 11th. Again, I worked on finding a more promising route to the city forest. I found it and we did a full roam through the woods that time. Sun shone through the trees and it wasn’t chilly at all. Just a nice 10.7 mile ride.

I stopped by the American food store again. Charles as in this time. It was great to catch him. He was looking a little wan I thought, but cheerful as ever. He told me I’m looking great and had a healthy glow in my cheeks he was happy to see. Always nice to hear things like that.

Sunday we rest again. Not sure why but it’s had the result that I was riding only every other day rather than having at least 1 set of two consecutive day rides a week.

My Loke (Loki) has been replaced by an Odin husky.

My Loke (Loki) has been replaced by an Odin husky.

Sunday night, Loke had gone to bed completely normal. Monday, the 13th, he emerged from the bedroom squinting his left eye. At promptly 8 am, I called the vet clinic and got an appointment.

As I waited for 1:45 to roll around, I decided I should do the same to pass the time. The furball was bouncy and enthusiastic, just squinting so I saw no reason for us not to go. I even toyed with the idea of cycling to the clinic, but thickening clouds one one horizon changed my mind.

It was a nice ride. The clouds never made good their threat and we had sunshine the entire way of the Uppsala/Vaksala Loop. I cut it a little close on time, leaving barely enough to shower before heading to the clinic. But the 9.6 mile ride had served a dual purpose. Exercise and a distraction to keep Loke from scratching at his clearly uncomfortable eye.

I saw a male vet this time. The first one I’ve seen at the clinic. He took a look at Loke’s eyes, staining the cornea and found no scratches. Just an inflammation of the membranes around the eye. Likely an infection. He recommended rinsing the eye twice a day for a few days, though if it looked worse the next day to call and he’d write a prescription for an antibiotic ointment.

I'd say this is worse...

I’d say this is worse…

The next morning, the furball had the eye squinted extra tight and was rubbing almost continually. If he wasn’t using his paw, it was the couch, the hanging coats or even my knee a few times.

The weather was pretty and Jens in Denmark for business (or London?) so out Loke and I went for another ride on the trike. Just a quick 8.3 mile Uppsala toodle. Then we headed off to the clinic though the vet had said I could just call for the prescription. Loke needed dog food though, so two birds with one stone.

April 15 and 16th, we took it easy, but Loke’s eye looked better. He still squinted it if the light was too bright and rubbed at it from time to time, but improving. At least I didn’t feel so sorry for him as I had on Tuesday.

Oooh! Almost forgot to mention a surprise on Wednesday the 16th. I can’t remember what the weather was like that morning, but in the afternoon. Wind kicked up stronger and what I thought was a torrential rain came down. Quite impressive for Sweden at this time of year. Jens peered out a window, ‘That’s hail!’

He was right. I ran with my iPhone to a window and try to video it. It looks okay on the phone, but the YouTube upload wasn’t quite as impressive. By the time I got the video to work, it was slacking and the pellets were below the size of a pea. Just a few seconds before they were a bit larger and I saw some poor soul on a bike getting peppered with ice. So strange. First there was a day we had so much wind that a roof blew off an apartment building and now hail in April!

Friday morning looked pretty miserable. While I waited for the chill to leave the air (still avoiding it since I’m coughing quite a bit), Jens took Loke for a walk. When he came back he said it was quite miserable out. Windy enough that he could almost use Loke as a kite and snow.  Still, I was determined to go for a ride and once it reached about 6 C (42 F), I moved out. It was raining, chill and gray. I kept saying to myself, ‘I’m a cyclist’ for the oomph to continue.

Being so cold and windy, I expected it to just be a short ride, probably 4.4 miles or less. Surely the temp and wind and wet would drive me back with damp wool and painfully cold feet.

Weather wise, it was miserable. We were drizzled on when it wasn’t raining and sleeting when it wasn’t raining. A wind of 12-15 mph flung those ice pellets around right into my face, stinging my skin. I pedaled with my shoulders hunched and head tilted in an attempt to protect my cheeks. Loke kept giving me dirty looks as he jogged along, clearly disapproving of the weather.

Yet… the ride was amazing! Sometime before rolling past the 2nd mile mark, something seemed to click with my body and, despite the sleet, wind and rain, I found some kind of physical harmony. My cadence increased, pushing me faster. I’d been lagging a bit behind my 1 mile per 10 minute target which generally means I never catch up, yet I did. The pedals spun, my breath quickened to the point I couldn’t have conversed, but it felt right rather than uncomfortable. No pain, my feet weren’t cold, I didn’t have a coughing fit. We just blazed through the distance around the rest of the River Loop and ended with 5.65 miles in 48 minutes. Perhaps if Loke had been younger, we’d have been even faster. I admit that he had slowed me a bit on more than the hills.

I was giddy. Such an obvious display that I was improving, getting fitter and stronger.

Yesterday, out the door I went again. I’d felt so great on the previous ride, I couldn’t wait to test myself again.

The morning dawned absolutely clear, but cold. It was right about 31 F when I woke so I had to wait. About 11, when I deemed it warm enough, clouds were starting to clutter the sky. It’s been a regular pattern of late. Morning clear, about lunch clouds appear and in the afternoons, no sun and sometimes rain.

Jens dropped us off and I hurried through the shoe swap. Annoyingly, one of my laces snapped and that shoe felt a bit odd on my foot. Thankfully, it has a velcro strap which was enough to snug it for a ride.

I wasn’t really sure which loop I wanted to take when I clipped in. I headed out on the River Loop’s beginning since it offers the most possibilities. I considered Läby/Uppsala, Börje/G. Uppsala, or Ulva/G. Uppsala. Unless my legs felt too tired from the high paced ride the day before.

Turns out they didn’t feel too bad. My knees were a bit stiff and sometimes uncomfortable, but nothing worse. Definitely had more than the River Loop in me. I had a few miles to decide once I scooted over the 272, so settled in to spin and enjoy the stretch away from the River Loop or Uppsala.

When I’d first stepped out of the storage unit, I felt under dressed. By mile 2, I felt over dressed and pulled to the side to pull off a wool top and stow my gloves. The wind was a little cold, but the sun more than countered it. As I pedaled and Loke trotted beside me, the lack of larks struck me. Usually along that road in spring, surrounded by hundreds of yards of fields, the air is thick with their song. Hardly a stretch where you won’t hear less than 5 of the little birds singing their hearts out. This year, I’d hear one, cycle out of range and hear the next minutes later.

The cover of clouds grew denser I started playing ‘too hot or too cold’ which had me adding or removing jacket, gloves and cap as needed. Got a little tedious, though at least we still had some sun.

By the time I reached the decisive turn, I’d ruled out the longer Börje/G. Uppsala Loop. I made the turn to Ulva Mill because we’ve not been there in months, maybe as long as a year. Just couldn’t face Uppsala’s downtown again after riding so frequently through it.

I wasn’t the only one out on the roads. Hoards of serious cyclists zipped by in both directions with a few people on comfort or touring bikes. Some waved. One couple, dressed in all the racing gear on road bikes called out a greeting as they passed and said I had a cool bike and beautiful dog.

Tree trunk carvings

Tree trunk carvings

Things at Ulva are already starting to get busy. Some of the shops there were open and quite a few cars parked though few people to be seen. I stopped there to offer Loke more water. He refused it as he had the first time.

Just as I started rolling down the slope to rejoin the road over the river, I stopped again. Behind one of the building there had been several trees. Sadly, those beautiful old giants had been cut down. But where they had stood, a large portion of their main trunks remained and two of the three had been carved. It’s the second time I’ve seen this done. In spite of the trees now gone, I had to smile at the carvings.

It was kinda nice to see Ulva Mill again. Maybe I’ll do it again soon.

From there we pushed on. My speed was pretty good once we were clear of the climbs around Ulva Mill. Before I knew it, we were zipping along toward the burial mounds at Gamla Uppsala.

There was some kind of event at the mounds. The place was crazy crowded. Any kind of pretty weather on weekends it’s busy, but this was more than that. Groups of people with backpacks and bikes wandered everywhere. One guy had a bike heavily loaded with an equally full kiddie trailer. Some of the groups had odd home-made flags on sticks. Young girls cooed over Loke as we passed and lots of people stared. Pretty sure some people took pictures, but at least I didn’t see them do it.

It's as big as a house!

It’s as big as a house!

In the midst of the madness there stood the bonfire pile. I promise it’s not a pile of random trash. Every year, this pile of anything remotely wood like and flammable grows right on this spot. The piling sometimes starts as early as January. On April 30th, it will go up into a roaring blaze joined by others all through the countryside of Uppland and maybe other parts of Sweden. Jens and I tend to go for a drive to count fires actually. The next morning, it smells as if the entire world has burned with the scent of wood smoke lingering heavy in the air as the May Day celebrations get into full swing.

The celebration is called Valborg. Pretty much it’s a day for drunkenness, beginning with a picnic brunch with champagne, beer and hard liquor. It also goes hand in hand with a boat ‘race’ on the river through downtown. Little homemade, crazy rafts go over the spillways and I guess whoever survives to the end ‘wins’. Kayak rescuers paddle around the spill ways to help anyone who goes into the river.

I made a point of staying out the city proper on that day. Too much craziness for this little introvert, especially since I had a girl throw up on my feet when I accidentally strayed into town on May 1st once. Not something I care to repeat. The boat race is neat though.

Back to the ride!

Loke and I zipped along through the rest of the grave mound path, avoiding the hoards of people. I was stunned to find about 100 square yards or more of field completely dug up. I don’t mean plowed, but turned into a shallow pit about 6-10 feet deep ringed with the moved dirt. I’m baffled as to the why of it. No road for motor vehicles around so no idea what they could be doing there. Hopefully they’re not going to turn the charming grave mound path into a road. That would just suck.

Jens called to ask how long I’d be, I told him about 20 minutes more.

As we came up to the end of the path where it rejoins the paved cycle way of the River Loop, someone started running toward me and waving his arms. The black haired swarthy man called out, ‘A second! Vänta! (Wait)’. Baffled, I stopped.

‘It’s you!’ He said in Swedish and started rambling too fast for me to catch all his words. He was so happy to see me again and when I didn’t call all those months ago, he was so sad, he cried. That’s when I realized it was the Armenian man I’d met near the city forest back before I’d had my stroke, just beardless now. He asked why I didn’t call and I told him I’d been sick, lost his number. I’d never promised to call. Just something about the encounter had left me uncomfortable.

The second meeting with him did not improve. He started talking about how beautiful I was. A gorgeous, strong woman with a beautiful body, so clearly not a fan of women of a healthy weight. No bones about it, I’m overweight by a significant amount. I firmly pointed out I was married. ‘No! No, nothing like that, just friends. We run and bike together!’ he insisted before rambling more about how beautiful he thought I was. Yeah….. Pretty high on the creep factor.

I tried to get away as quick as I could which was difficult as he kept moving to stand in front of the trike. He tried insisting I give him my phone number. Yeah, not happening in this lifetime. Tried giving me his, which I refused. He asked how often I rode there which I was evasive about. Finally I insisted I had to go as Jens was waiting for me. I just about hit his shins with the chain guard.

I listen to my instincts and I felt rattled and wary. Suddenly, I’m rethinking the frequency of my rides through the city forest. Some parts of it are fairly isolated and this guy lives around there. He knows Loke’s not aggressive… Admittedly, I don’t even know if Loke has an instinct to be protective. Yep, that’s where my instincts take me with this guy.

Much to my surprise, Jens really was waiting for me when I rolled into the parking lot at the storage. Once I had the trike away, I told him about the worrying encounter.

Other than that little unpleasantness, it was a decent ride. At 12 miles, the 2nd longest of the year. When I used to do the loop from home, it was in the 14 mile range. I’d felt pretty good except very mild twinges in the knees and kept a solid 1 mile for ever 10 minutes once adjusting for whatever stops I made. Pretty respectable in my opinion after the ‘push it’ ride the day before.

It feels great to find I really am improving in significant fashion. Just tickles me pink.