Terii’s Cycling Babble

The Mileage And The Fairing
September 29, 2015, 12:58 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

The rides continue to mount. In the last post, the last ride was on September 24th. Since that one, Loke and I have gone out on the 26th and 28th as well.

The morning of the 26th was the first ride with the fairing. It was mostly cloudy though broken up into clumps with hints of blue peeking through the gaps. The temp was about 45 F when I started which was chill enough for a couple layers under my cycle shirt. I refrained from adding wool under my tights though.

As I wheeled the trike out, I noticed one thing right away. The bottom of the fairing very nearly scraped the ramp before the front wheels followed up the incline. I’d have to raise it about an inch at least and hope it would still protect my feet on the down strokes of the pedals. I’d already locked up the storage though and didn’t feel like going back in for one of the tools necessary for the task.

I was excited and curious as Loke and I set out, beginning the River Loop. Right away I thought I could feel a difference as we made the first jaunt away from the storage. It’s a slight decline and Loke usually tries for a 15 mph run though I tend to keep him to about 11 mph. 12 mph if I’m not paying close attention.

My new 'winter view' from the trike seat.

My new ‘winter view’ from the trike seat.

It felt as if everything from about an inch or two below the knees was sheltered. Everything from that point up felt more chilled.

Encouraged, I decided to turn the River Loop into something more extensive. The Gamla Uppsala/Vaksala Loop sounded pretty good. Something a bit longer.

Loke didn’t seem to notice the trike’s new ‘appendage’ at all. He trotted along as blithely as ever, jaws gaping in a content husky grin.

I kept watching my feet as I pedaled, trying to judge how much space I had between toes and the back of the windscreen. I even pointed my feet at max extension, leaning forward to feel with my fingers. There was space enough that they never touched the screen. I definitely could stand to move it in a couple inches which would help a bit for ramps and other abrupt inclines like speed bumps or curbs.

Trike, fairing and Loke just before being greeted by the golden.

Trike, fairing and Loke just before being greeted by the golden.

I discovered another thing I will have to watch out for with the fairing. We were coming by the river, heading for the swimhall where I stopped to take a photo of the trike. I was settling back down when a woman came along with a golden retriever. He was very determined to come meet Loke and me. He very nearly blundered into it. Slapped it with his tail a few times too and after half climbing into my lap to slobber on my face while Loke pawed at him, he snagged the edge of it on his collar when he backed away. No damage done, but something to keep in mind.

From there we scooted onward across the busy street and toward the mosque where we turned to make our way past the grave mounds. The wind was a bit blustery at times. Sometimes my feet seemed to feel a bit of it, but I thought perhaps it was less than they might otherwise. It wasn’t really cold enough for me to be sure. Mid-40’s or warmer I rarely bother with shoe-covers even.

As I crossed Vattholma Road near the grave mounds to continue north on the cycle path, my fairing scraped rather rudely. It was on a bit of pavement ‘ramp’ up a curb as I crossed the road. Once out of traffic, I stopped to check the damage, but it seemed fine. Whew. Would have sucked to have major damage on the first ride!

Loke jogged along well as we cruised on the cycle path beside Vattholma Road. Scooting across the road on the turn toward Vittulsberg, I coasted down the new underpass beneath the rail tracks, letting Loke stretch his legs. Once across the E4, I slowed next to the pasture where I hoped I’d see the curious cows again.

Curiosity 'moooooved' them. September 20th.

Curiosity ‘moooooved’ them. September 20th.

And I forgot to mention the cows the last time I rode this area on September 2oth! As we’d come up to the fence back then, about 15-20 young cows all looked up across the field. First one came at a trot which made 2 more come. Then 3 others moved into a lope to catch up which set them all running. Loke was a bit wary as I stopped to grin while they pounded up to the wire. I think he was worried they wouldn’t stop.

But they did and then stood there, crowded as close as they could as they sniffed the air for our scent. It had been ages since I’d come across so curious a herd.

This time though they didn’t even look up from where they lay, chewing cud, in the center of the field. Ah well.

As I paused there, disappointed in the lack of cattle interest, I spontaneously decided to see if my GoPro still had a charge. Before heading out to ride on the Kattegattleden in July, I’d charged the video camera and put it in my handlebar bag, but never used it. I screwed the camera mount down, got it settled and hit record before moving out.

It admittedly feels a little silly to use the camera slow as I am. Creeping along with a 10 year old husky. He still goes along at about 7 mph on most flats, but down hill, he’s quite a bit slower than he used to be. One thing I did like about the new spot to mount it was that I was pretty sure my feet wouldn’t be whizzing by the edges of the frame.

It wasn’t perfect though. I’d clamped it down tight as I could and yet the camera still moved when I’d hit particularly hard jolts. Several times, I had to stop and correct it. Moving tarmac isn’t that fascinating. Once I watched what I’d recorded, I also rediscovered another annoying issue with the camera. The inside of the case fogs up after a while, rendering any recording fairly useless. At least what I did have was foot free!

I may share some of the footage once I find a video editor that doesn’t require a degree in rocket-science to operate.

We passed the mall and started along the edge of the fence of the 4H pastures when I came upon a man out with his cocker spaniel puppy. He was patiently trying to teach it to walk on a leash and sit on command. Naturally, a weird bike with a dog was just the distraction he needed. The little guy tried to rush us and yapped at the end of his leash until the man picked him up. I offered to let Loke and the cutie meet, but he said the puppy was too wild. He’s going to find out that not meeting other dogs will not correct that little issue. I asked how old (11 weeks) and then said farewell.

We rolled to a stop at the storage unit with 13 miles. 13.06 miles according to my Garmin.

Tentatively, I was hopefully about the fairing. Most of the time, into the wind, my feet and shins seemed fairly protected. At one point, I thought my left foot started feeling cold, but it might have been just some discomfort because I can’t quite get the cleat position for the pedal good enough and since I was ‘looking’ for cold, my brain perhaps interpreted it as such. If it was a bit cold, it wasn’t the fairing’s fault as the wind had been coming from the left and a bit behind.

Before putting the trike away, I fiddled a bit with the fairing’s positioning. Loke was a bit of a pest while I worked. He’s not fond of the storage unit. It’s boring and something about it just kinda rattles him. It’s not quite as bad as following me as I crawled into 5000+ year old burial chambers on hands and knees, but he dislikes it more than the laundry room in the cellar.

Finally he left me alone so I could work. I slid the screen in as far as it would go, tweaked the angle a little bit and made sure it was on straight.

The 27th, my cold had a bit of a relapse so I stayed in, resting up in hopes I’d shake it.

Felt better again on the 28th and felt a bit of pressure to get out again. Most of the load to keep Loke amused and exercised as been falling on me of late. I guess as long as his joints and feet hold up, it’s no big issue. Another source of the desire to ride was a discovery I’d made the day before.

Since my Garmin Training software decided to get all weird and consistently starting randomly ‘eating’ entire years of entries, I’ve started relying more on BikeJournal.com. Garmin Connect is okay as far as keeping track of individual rides, maps, average speed, cadence and such, but it doesn’t seem to have any ability to break down mileage by weeks, months or years. A combination of Garmin Connect and Bike Journal would be perfect, but since I haven’t found that, I use both.

However, I’d gotten a bit slack about my entries since about May. From early on, this year just kinda felt like a complete bust. The slow start from January until March thanks to the worst symptoms of post-stroke issues, then the plantar fasciitis in my right foot which meant a few weeks and days more without riding. My grand tour plans wrecked by the stroke itself back in November leaving me unable to train hard over the winter to gain fitness before warmer weather.

That sense of failure before the year even began left me kind of apathetic about staying on top of my mileage tracking. I mean, it was just going to be a crappy, low mileage year. Right?

While recovering from the cold on the 25th, I buckled down and plugged all the mileage from the rides in.

The results stunned me. I was about 15 miles short of 800 miles. 803 miles is my 3rd best year total of riding, back in 2012. Second best year is 980 which was my first full year (2013) with my ICE Sprint 26. Best ever was 2008 with over 1200.

Somehow, apathetic as I’d been about most of the rides, with 95% of them under 20 miles and 80% of those less than 10 miles, I was somehow managing to turn 2015 into one of the highest mile years since getting my first trike back in 2006. The credit-card tour in July was less than 150 miles of it, so it helped, but it was barely 1/6th of the total.

I came to a few decisions with that discovery. I was at least, going to make 2015 my 2nd best year for miles. I will round it off by breaking 1000 miles before December 31, 2015. I toyed with the idea of making it the best year ever, but with so many issues of late, it felt too much like setting myself up for failure. If I have a bad week or two, or winter is particularly harsh, 600 miles would be firmly out of reach. 200 or 300 miles, even with bad symptoms or weather is obtainable.

The ride on September 26th nudged me right up to the edge of 800 miles.

So, yesterday, September 28th, I got dressed in cycle clothes before Jens even woke up for work. It was colder that morning then my first ‘fairing’ ride. I hoped it would prove, one way or another, if my investment for a birthday gift was going to pay off. The sun was still very low, barely over the horizon beyond the trees as I dropped Jens off at the train station.

I went directly to the storage, getting lucky with finding an early parking space and hurried to get the trike out. This time, I had wool under my leggings as well as my top. I even pulled my heavy wool layer over my cycle shirt for some extra warmth. It was about 42 F as I pushed everything to the top of the ramp. Knit cap pulled over my ears under the helmet, wool gloves snugged on, I clipped in and rolled out.

It was brisk and I wondered if it had been a mistake to not bring my old shoe-covers.

A perfect autumn morning!

A perfect autumn morning!

It was one of the earliest rides of late, rolling along down the first stretch before even 8:30 am. Colder than the last ride, it really seemed like the fairing was doing as it should. The winds were still, so no side gusts confused the issue. Loke wanted to jog along at least 8 mph which added to the rush of air from the front. My feet felt as snug and unchilled as if on a sunny, summer day of 60-65 F. They weren’t ‘toasty’, but no hint of cold either.

I quit worrying about not having the shoe-covers.

The day became unexpectedly magical.

I’ve ridden the River Loop some 70 times or so this year. Hundreds of times since 2006. All spring and summer, it’s been ‘bleah’. I ride it because it’s quick and easy, gets Loke moving. Exercise for me too, I guess, but nothing inspired. Many times when I ride some other route, I still have to cover about 3 or 4 miles of it just getting to and from whatever else I ride.

As if I don't have enough photos of this view...

As if I don’t have enough photos of this view…

But in autumn, something amazing happens. It becomes another world almost. Some delicate shift in quality of light. A subtle change in the leaves from the dark, ‘hard’ greens of summer to a soft flush of paler, gold-green of autumn. All that is old and blandly familiar becomes new and fresh. Air so brilliantly clear it feels as if one could see forever if not for the screening trees That delightful otherness remains and only grows stronger as frosts come and finally feathery white blankets of winter snow.

It was a perfect morning and my lips pulled into a smile with the joy of it. Loke’s breath came out in soft puffs of mist as I rolled along the river extension and I admired the deep gold of the light on the subtle autumn shade of leaves across the fields. It’s been a long while since I’ve felt that deep, content pleasure during a local ride and I reveled in it.

I thought about heading off on a longer loop, but duty (and the need for a bathroom) held me to the River Loop. There was too much to be done to spend hours out in the countryside.

Alas, most of my tasks for which I’d cut short the ride remained unattended. As I did the first of them, I started feeling quite unwell and staggered home to tuck miserably on the couch for the rest of the day.

But what a lovely beginning it had been!

I almost went out for another ride this morning too. Jens had to catch an even earlier train, so we left just as the sun was ascending from its nightly rest. The muted striations of the clouds, just glimpsed between the buildings of apartments and businesses hinted it was going to be a colorful sunrise. For an added treat the ‘super moon’ was still mostly full and hung large in the darker blue-gray of the western sky.

What an awesome idea to ride out to Gamla Uppsala where I could watch the dawn come with mostly open views to the east over the fields.

Once I dropped Jens off, I knew it wasn’t a great idea. I would have had to leave the storage on the trike before 6 am to have made it there during the most colorful part. Even if I hurried, I would have been caught in the midst of the buildings and trees, the sunrise hidden from view. Determined to still enjoy it, I hurried for Gamla Uppsala.

Okay, so it wasn’t a trike ride, but I ride there fairly often and it has always been a favorite place to roll through regardless of the season. It was just too beautiful to not share.

Super moon over smaller mound as we climbed

Super moon over smaller mound as we climbed

I was naughty. As much as I complain about people climbing the mounds and the damage they cause, that’s what I did. Unlike everyone else though, I stayed off the path, even if it was only by a foot or so. The grass and plants can take a single person walking one time, without appreciable damage and no addition to the erosion.

Loke was sooooo confused by the trip up though. He’s been walking around the grave mounds since he was 8 weeks old and not once in all that time has he been up them. After a minute or two, he was thrilled. He bounced through the weeds gleefully, sniffed around, and once even flung himself down to do a sliding wallow down the slope.

Bad as I’d felt yesterday, I felt pretty okay tackling that climb. which completely stunned me. I didn’t push myself as I really didn’t want to trip or slip on the uneven ground.

Panorama. Can just make out the cathedral and castle to the far left

Panorama. Can just make out the cathedral and castle to the far left

I made it up just in time.

Here comes the sun!

Here comes the sun!

It’s obvious why people want to do the climb. The views are beautiful, though probably less impressive in the light of full day. That’s my opinion any way and I’m sticking to it!

It was cold as I stood up there, admiring the landscape around the height. I was glad of the lovely poncho Jens had surprised me with the night before. I really would have loved a pair of gloves though. My fingers ached with the bone deep chill of 35 F. I discovered that patches of what I thought to be dew had actually been frost on my way up.

I stayed up there until the brilliance of the colors muted from dawn colors to a pretty morning. Getting back down the mound was a bit trickier than going up.

I took the back way home as it goes by more fields and pretty scenery than the way I’d come. Another photo opportunity that made me wish I’d had a proper camera. I’d not expected to have such a beautiful dawn, let alone be chasing it down when I’d left to drive Jens for his commute.

Mist among the trees

Mist among the trees

There was a dense bank of mist across the fields, rising off the river I suspect. Just another treat on an already breathtaking morning. I’ve been smiling for hours after such a lovely start to the day.

I’m hard pressed to recall such a glorious sunrise that offered so many photos since the last morning of my trip to Denmark with Jens a few years ago.

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