Terii’s Cycling Babble


Hits Keep Coming…
September 11, 2015, 11:11 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Before I get into the meat of this post, let me say, ‘Oops’.

Kungsängen Church

Kungsängen Church

Last post about the 2nd ride along the Mälardalsleden, I said it was odd that I hadn’t photographed Kungsängen Church. Turns out I did. It was on my iPhone and it never occurred to me for some bizarre reason to make sure I had already downloaded all the photos from that day. So, here’s the church and, as always, what history I could find on it is available by clicking the thumbnail.

Onward to the post!

My rides became a bit sporadic after the 2nd leg of the Mälardalsleden.

I took 2 very short rides (under 5 miles) with Loke on August 5th and 7th. Being that short, they were simple River Loops. Then for reasons I can’t recall, didn’t ride again until August 13th and then only a slightly longer River Loop of 5.3 miles.

It was my birthday on the 14th. Jens and I went to Stockholm to have Peking duck at the same restaurant as the year before. A huge risk in a way. The food had been excellent that first time, but to say the service was abysmal would be an understatement. There was another restaurant in the city that serves Peking duck, but I decided a known good duck over an uncertain one was the way to go.

Mmmmmm

Mmmmmm

The gamble paid off! This time, not only was the duck amazingly good, so was the service! A wonderfully satisfying birthday feast.

Jens also ordered my chosen birthday gift. A goodie for the trike no less! A Windwrap XT mini-fairing. It’s a small windshield that fits around the front of the pedals to break up the wind flow around the feet. Given that a brisk sub-freezing wind howling through the cleat slots of the shoes can defeat even my high end footwarmers, I’m hoping this will level that playing field. Reviews seem good and even a couple people who’s opinion I trust have given promising endorsements.

There was also some sad news on the day. The woman who owns the kennel where Loke was born sent birthday greetings from her and the rest of the pack. I told her to give them all hugs and smoochies for me, especially Loke’s sire. Turns out he had passed on a couple months before, back in June.

The 15th and 16th… no clue what I did. Riding didn’t seem to be part of either day.

The 17th was a nightmare. I felt okay when I woke. Sat down at the computer and was working on a blog post actually. Abruptly, I realized the left side of my face felt odd and I could feel my pulse hammering all through my skull. I checked my blood pressure to find it was through the roof.

I had Jens take me to the ER. Less than 5 minutes of walking through the door the circus began. Neurological tests naturally, then out came the needles. I don’t know how many times I was stabbed. I lost count, but at least it was only a single nurse and not 3 or more. She even tried my upper arms and in my shoulders with no luck. Finally after over an hour, she tried the left foot. 5 seconds, catheter in and done. Hurt like hell.

Jens came back with my iPad and sat with me for a bit before I told him he didn’t have to wait with me. I don’t know why, but for some reason, part of me just wants to deal with it alone. Seems silly to have someone sitting there staring off into space and waiting, waiting, waiting.

Finally, I was told they weren’t going to pull the ‘stroke alarm’. The weirdness in my face came and went, but never particularly bad. I had CT scan, fun, fun.

The next 5 hours had a nurse coming in every hour to check blood pressure, neurological response, temperature and pulse. The pulse really drove them crazy as finding it was a special challenge.

By that time, I was in shared room. My roommate was a man, a little older than me, Ray, I think his name was. His English was pretty good as he’d worked in other countries with the UN offering health care to UN workers. Really nice guy who was incredibly apologetic when he got loudly sick. He appreciated it when I told him, ‘Well, you wouldn’t be in here otherwise’ and added it was no problem.

After the 5 hours of hourly checks… nothing. I chaffed at it. The bed was just killing me. I couldn’t find a good position to sleep, I was soooo hungry but they wouldn’t let me eat. I was bored, stressed and scared. Jens assured me there was a reason I was there. They wouldn’t have had me taking up a bed for nothing. Honestly, I think that’s exactly what was happening. The only reason I still took up space there was simply waiting around for a specific doctor to get to me. All the tests had been run and another doctor had been there to tell me much of the results were normal. No change in the CT scan from the last one back in November.

But other than that, no one ever looked in on me. No more pressure checks or tests. Just hours and hours of twiddling my thumbs, painful sleep and boredom from 5 pm August 17th to about noon August 18th. I could have keeled over and no one would have been discovered it until ages later. Except maybe Ray, but he was out of the room most of the time.

Finally about noon, the doctor who specializes in strokes and such came in. I can’t remember her name, we recognized each other from back in November. She’s hard to miss, a cheerful woman, shorter than I am, of Asian origin. The verdict was blood clots in the brain. Not much they could do about it, but they really wanted me to get my cholesterol down. They were going to put me on medication for that.

I’ll admit, with Jens’ vacation, I’d gotten a bit bad about avoiding high cholesterol foods. Still avoided cheese, butter and such in our own kitchen, but we ate out a lot and of course quite a few of Dylan’s burgers. I’d been planning to clean back up after his holiday was over, but… well…

Needless to say, we canceled our anniversary dinner in spite of the fact I was out of the hospital in time for us to go.

There was a funny moment after I met with the doctor but before they released me. Perhaps it was more that I was finding humor where I could to keep my mood up. Jens called to tell me that the web shop we had ordered the mini-fairing called about a small issue. He had given them my phone number and he thought they’d call very soon.

Well, I was in the midst of getting set up for an EKG when they did call. I had a hard time not giggling at the ridiculousness of being hospitalized for something serious and getting the electrodes stuck on me while chatting about an internet order as if nothing out of the ordinary.

It seemed that the fairing I’d ordered was out of stock, but they had another version (cheaper) in stock. Would I like to change my order so get the difference refunded and receive it earlier. I declined because the difference between the two fairing options is how they are mounted. The cheaper one in stock mounts to the front derailleur post and has no quick release.

The one I’d ordered mounts to the underside of the pedal boom and with a quick twist of an allen wrench, the main frame and shield of the fairing comes right off. Nothing sticks out beyond the pedals so it won’t interfere with transport which is important.

He let me know it could be some weeks before the shipment arrives. I told him I’d wait because that quick release was important to me.

Once out of the hospital, I was in a state of high panic for a few days. Every time anything felt the least bit odd, I’d just about go into hysterics. Jens kept trying to push me out the door for rides, but that terrified me too. The idea of having a stroke at the top of a hill and injuring Loke by dragging and/or crashing because I couldn’t control the trike…

So, it’s probably a miracle I poked my nose out the door on the trike on August 23rd though for less than 4 miles of River Loop.

August 25th, I rode almost 10 miles stretched over 3 rides. I think Jens was out of town on that day so I used the trike to ‘walk’ Loke as I wasn’t feeling well enough for walking. One of those rides was to Vaksala Square for fruit though.

August 27th was a roll through Uppsala which stretched out toward Vaksala Church and back through Granby for about 11 miles.

The strangest feeling autumn is coming....

The strangest feeling autumn is coming….

Once between the 27th and September 9th, I even did an older 10 mile loop. The old Vaksala Loop which begins by headed toward Gamla Uppsala and then cutting in through Vittulsberg before rolling past Vaksala Church and Granby mall. Another loop was toward Börje, then off toward Läby Church and back to Uppsala along the 72.

By last week (first few days of September), my brakes were pretty much gone. At least the left one was. So on Monday, September 7th, I went for a ride through Uppsala, but stopped by the cycle shop.

The very nice woman from the cycle shop in downtown Uppsala who helped me replace a screw in my cycle shoe has changed jobs to work at the shop very close to us. She made the booking for me to bring the trike there on Wednesday for Bobby (the awesome mechanic) to take a look and tweak or replace.

Post-groomer. iPhone does no justice

Post-groomer. iPhone does no justice

September 7th, Loke also went to the groomer. I feel almost guilty for all those years we tormented Loke with home baths. Never quite as clean, took longer and not to mention the fact that he’d spend most of a day damp and, if it was chilly weather, shivering. Loke has no problems with her, greets her warmly (for him) and isn’t distressed about being left there.

When I come back, I get a fluffy, soft and dazzling white husky in exchange. One full of bossiness too I might add. There was another customer who was bringing his dog in for the first time. A bit hard to understand because of a stroke. When he finally left, the groomer thanked me for being so patient. Loke on the other hand, spent the entire time woofing at me, stomping his feet and even pawing at me to go. Still nice to have a white dog instead of one faintly gray.

Jens dropped Loke and I off at the garage the morning of the 9th and I did a sort of River Loop-ish kind of ride that ended at the shop right about 9 am. Lotten was getting the shop open and she held Loke while I removed the seat to make the trike easier to work.

The ride there also reminded me to email the web shop about the fairing. It was a bit on the nippy side. I had my thin wool on under my tights and top. The wind also chilled my feet slightly. If it kept up, I’d be needing that fairing soon.

The walk home was a bit of a slog. Silly me had forgotten proper walking footware so I plodded along in my cycle shoes. They’re not as bad as some, but still not fun for more than a slow stroll around church or the like.

The cycle shop texted me that evening that they were done, but I was shopping groceries on the other side of town (better fruit selection) and couldn’t get to them before closing.

Kirk, the guy who had called about the fairing when I was in the hospital also emailed a reply to my query. They had just gotten the shipment from the US and spent the entire day unpacking it. The fairings were in and mine should be going out that very day.

So, that brings us to yesterday, September 10th. I decided to get a few more miles in than just a River Loop. I was going to try buying Loke’s dog food at the vet clinic and riding home with it in the trailer.

Jens worked from home so he dropped me off at the shop without Loke. Lotten told me that the pads had still been in good shape, so the brakes only needed a bit of tweaking to be good as new. The charge was 150 kr, which is quite cheap. While chatting with her about the coming winter, I told her I needed to find some cable oilers for Bobby to install so I could blast out the ice when the cables froze. “We have those!” she said. She went and poked around a bit, saying she had seen them but couldn’t remember where, but they did have them. I was thrilled to hear that. Definitely the next time the trike goes in, it will be getting a set of them!

I was very lucky last winter and didn’t seem to have any issues with the gears getting frozen, but I don’t want to count on that again. The first winter was annoying, trying to ride with only the front chain rings for gear changes.

I put the seat back on and settled in to ride to the garage for the trailer. The first few turns of pedal found my left hip uncomfortable. I paused for a moment and pondered whether I should just ride directly home to get Loke for a very short River Loop.

Instead, I decided to try riding to the garage on a bit longer route to see if my hip would ease up. It happens sometimes.

I didn’t hurry, but simple eased along toward the grave mounds, trying to enjoy the day. The hip did let up some and felt mostly okay as I zipped along the grave trail along the mounds and fields there. Unless it’s turned mushy by lots of rain, it’s a fast track.

Going that way lets me see the progress of the train tunnel too. They’ve covered over a portion of it though there’s still a gaping pit to either side.

There’s another project in the area of the grave mounds I was curious to get a visual update on. I think I mentioned months ago that it appeared they might have been prepping some of the ground between the mounds and the highway for construction. I worried a bit that they might take the awesome foot/bike path and convert into a road, cluttering the area with houses and businesses.

That's a lot of clay...

That’s a lot of clay…

Well, Jens found out exactly what’s going on. Decades ago, the natural clay layer of the area was stripped away for some reason. Well, all the digging and piles of earth, which happen to be clay, are to restore the original strata of the ground as much as possible. The path through there used to be slightly higher than fields. Now, the reverse is almost true which is unlikely to change as they will still have to replace the topsoil when they’re done.

While I view it as a noble endeavor to restore what was destroyed, I have to wonder… where are they getting the clay from?

Still the ride let me test my hip a bit as well as check up on those two projects.

The day had started off at about 38 F or maybe 40 F, but by the time I was back home with the trike and trailer to pick up Loke, it was nearly 60 F. I took some time to strip off my thermal layers. I warned Jens that I wasn’t sure how long a ride was going to be. If I decided my hip wasn’t up to it, then I’d cut it short. Or maybe I’d do the planned loop, but skip getting the 8 kg (17.6 lb) bag of dog food.

The ride didn’t go too bad. Loke was thrilled to be running even if just over ho-hum ground. My hip didn’t feel too bad at all. We wove our way through Uppsala to the vet clinic on the south-eastern edge of town.

Perhaps a mistake, but I was gonna try!

Perhaps a mistake, but I was gonna try!

Though part of me felt crazy for attempting it, I went ahead and bought the dog food and carried it down. As I flopped it into the trailer and set about securing it, I pondered whether to take the chicken’s route back the way I’d come for 8-9 miles or take the longer, but visually nicer loop I’d used when coming to the shop to look for Loke’s rabbit ear treats.

I gave myself a pep-talk, essentially along the lines of, ‘You can do this! Surely the watermelon and other fruit you’ve dragged around weighed almost this much!’

As we headed across the parking lot to a cycle path, a whisper of doubt crept in. There was quite a difference in the feel of the trike, but I pushed on. If I needed to lighten the load, Jens could come get the food at the very least.

I took the paths along the busy roads, heading initially toward Nåntuna before cutting in toward the heart of Uppsala. Loke was fairly bored with that stretch, until I made the turn down the road which ends at the old bridge. Then he perked up. We rolled along the gravel path beside the river and soon joined up with our usual stretch through downtown Uppsala. I made a point to stop by the American food store in the new location too.

I got a bit of a treat on the way between the American food store and home. I was coming through an intersection at the same time the gorgeous Rolls Royce rolled through. Oh, there was a Lamborghini behind it too, but I much preferred the Rolls.

We arrived back home with right about 11 miles. I parked at the apartment to drop off the dog food, but wound up relaxing for a few hours while Jens was wrapped up with phone calls. Loke was still pretty perky.

For the final stretch of the day, I extended it a bit to be Loke’s last ‘longish’ walk of the evening. As we rolled down toward the Frisbee golf course, I saw a guy on a bike with a quite large and very enthusiastic furball. Quite beautiful furball actually and I thought, perhaps slightly familiar. They were in front of us when the dog suddenly laid down, nearly yanking the guy clean off his wheels. He really wanted to come meet us.

Loke of course, went nuts so I slowed down to ask if it was a husky. The guy replied he was a 10 month old husky/Malamute cross. That made me almost certain, so I asked the dog’s name. Charlie.

World, meet Charlie. Such a gorgeous sweetie!

Charlie at 6 months of age

I gave a delighted laugh at that. I told the guy I’d met Charlie before, in the city forest back when he was just 6 months (and 70 lbs at least). His coloring looked a little lighter than I remembered, but he was still the same huge, lovable monster. I asked how much he weighed now. Right about 100 lbs and still with some growing to do. The guy remarked that he’d been told Charlie could get as much as another 20 lbs before he’s done.

Charlie got right up in my face to give me smoochies. By the feel of his coat, I could tell he’d recently been to a groomer. Hehe.

Loke of course, chose that moment to be a complete donkey’s butt. They got into a bit of a wrestling match, each trying to get around to mount the other in a dominance display. At least there was no growling or aggression of that sort.

We pulled them apart and the guy laughingly said he’d go the other way if I’d move on. Charlie clearly wasn’t going to move until we were out of sight. As it was, the goofy monster again nearly yanked his owner off the bike.

I have to say, I was delighted to see Charlie with someone clearly able to keep up with his exercise needs. I wondered if that meant he’d changed owners or perhaps the couple I’d first met him with were related to the 20-something year old guy who was with him that time.

It was really great to see him again. Such a beautiful and sweet dog.

I got the trike and trailer put away and Jens got me back home. I have to say, I felt pretty damn good about the day. I’d ridden almost 20 miles, 14 of it dragging extra weight of the trailer and 7-ish miles of that with a big bag of dog food. I hardly felt like I’d done that much.

Any day one discovers they are significantly stronger than previous believed is a very good day. The fact the temps had been 65-72 F during the ride, mostly sunny and with very little wind was just gravy!

And can you believe it!? With this post I’m caught up to current events… for now.

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