Terii’s Cycling Babble

On the Move!
November 6, 2015, 10:49 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Felt like ages. 3 weeks to get back to semi-normal.

Loke was due to get stitches out on October 30th. On October 29th, Jens worked from home though, so I took advantage of that to get some distance in.

I can’t remember exactly why, but I decided to do the loop through Uppsala and come out near the cycle shop. There was still no word from the large cycle shop about the tires and my brakes needed work any way. So, swing by there to schedule work time and, if they could, let the awesome shop order said tires.

All Fall DOWN

All Fall DOWN

It was a gray day, cool, but not cold. Thankfully no rain in spite of the heavy cloud. Autumn had held on for a long while, refreshingly colorful for a change. Leaves were starting to drop though. On some trees, it looked as if they’d held a count-down and all plummeted from their branches at once.

Don’t remember much about the roll through town. I took the route along the rails, by the park with the bronze statues of the pony and ram to go to Vaksala church.

I do remember my hips hurt. Annoying now that I recall that. The ride would have been longer and through the countryside. Being solo, it was a bit faster than usual of course.

I also now remember that about half way into the ride, I started hearing/feeling a ‘whump-whump-whump’. At first, I passed it off as the surface I was rolling over. It persisted even after a turn onto gravel and back to pavement. I checked my wheels, but didn’t see anything.

It was coming up on dusk when I rolled to a stop outside the cycle shop. It was a bit busy so I had to wait a few minutes while Neil finished with a customer.

Glad it didn't pop!

Glad it didn’t pop! That’s the Kevlar layer beneath the rubber.

I quickly explained that I wanted to order tires as well as schedule some work on the brakes. To be sure he ordered exactly what was needed, we went out for  him to take a look. As he turned the left wheel, the source of the ‘whumping’ was revealed. A section of the tire looked like the rubber had been shredded.

I’d already decided months ago that this was going to be the last year for the tires. These are the ones that arrived with the trike back in November 2012, but I would have preferred if they’d not been so close to catastrophic failure before I had my hands on new ones.

When Neil saw that, he asked if I’d like to wait to get the work done when the tires arrived. Unless I had spares and needed the work done to keep riding. I admitted I had no spares and the trike wouldn’t be going much of anywhere until I had them.

Personally, I liked the idea of someone else doing the tires for me if it wasn’t going to be costing me miles. Anything that keeps my fingers from turning to raw meat and spares my back.

Sadly, the tires weren’t going to be available before the weekend. So, even with Loke getting his stitches out the very next day, no running for him. Except at the end of his leash any way.

Friday went fine. Showed up a bit early at the animal hospital and was in and out in less than 10 minutes. No muss or fuss. The wound was fully healed, the stitches came right out with no need for sedation. Loke looked irritated at being on the table and having his tail held up more than anything.

The weekend went by with Loke and I both about the climb the walls. The previous week, he’d been getting more and more in our faces and harassing us. Poor fuzzy was desperate for an outlet.

As for me, I was suffering too. Before October 19th (Bloody Monday), we’d been getting out with the trike several times a week. We were fitter. Even my heart rate is down. About two weeks ago, I’d stopped in the middle of getting ready for bed to check my blood pressure. It was fine, but more surprising was my heartrate. 52 BPM. Not even my ‘official’ resting heartrate as I’d been moving around rather than laying quietly for 5 minutes or so before taking it. Color me impressed.

It’s not quite that good after 3 weeks with so little riding, but still decent.

My suffering though was a resurgence of my post-stroke neuromuscular pain. The last few days of October and first few of November were hellish. The episodes were coming almost daily, longer duration and worse. By November 2nd, I started having entire days of agony. The only thing that had changed was riding.

The months before Loke’s tumor burst, I felt great. Best I’d felt since before the stroke, maybe even better! The riding had all but disappeared and I felt worse and worse as the days went on. Nothing like excruciating pain to make one miss riding even more!

Monday, Jens noticed on Facebook that the cycle shop announced it would be closing it’s workshop area for a while while they moved it from one section of the store to another. He immediately suggested that I maybe see if they could fit my trike in for the work I wanted done as it could be a week or more before they’d be doing mechanical stuff again. I agreed I’d get it done on Tuesday while I ran other errands with the car.

Tuesday got a little complicated. I’d left a message with my hubby’s sister, Tina, to see if her hubby could come help me with adjusting the mount on the fairing. During the last portion of the Mälardalsleden, it shifted so outer edge of my right foot was exposed to the wind. I thought we could put our heads together since he’s a handy sort. He called Monday night to arrange for us to do that Tuesday about noon.

So, we got that done first. It turned out to be much easier than anticipated. When my husband’s father and I first mounted it in an awkward spot, I though I needed more room than was actually required. That meant when ‘M’ and I looked at it, we discovered we could put the mount further back. No complications. Still enough bar available to hold the fairing solid and right on the boom tube behind the screws clamping the pedals in place. Perfect! Took all of 10 minutes.

Then it was a quick race to do errands and stopping at the shop. It turned out that they could do the work the very next day (Wednesday, Oct 4th). Their last day before closing the work station for moving actually.

When I got back home, I started to whip up a batch of my lemon muffins for my brother-in-law as a thank you. The worst muscle pain I’ve had in months slammed into me like a freight train. From the top of my head, to my heels and fingertips, every muscle burned like acid. I could barely hold the spoon to scoop the batter into the muffin tin without weeping. I’d not hurt that much since the first month or two after the stroke. ‘M’ was so thrilled to get them that it was worth it though.

Jens dragged his feet about getting ready for work on the morning of Oct 4th. I finally had to bully him out the door so Loke and I would be able to get the trike to the shop by time they opened at 9 am.

Loke was crazed with glee as I started getting the trike ready. It made wrapping the bad section in duck tape a bit tricky with the fuzzball pawing at my arms and tangling me and the trike in his cable tether. I finally decided it had to do and we rolled out… slowly. I also removed the wind screen to make moving the trike in and out of the shop much easier. It was about 55 F, so my feet weren’t going to suffer for it.

It made Loke insane. His first trike outing in 3 weeks and we were creeping along at 4 mph or less. It didn’t help either when I steered us along the most direct route to the shop, stopping to check the tape every few hundred yards.

Loke very NOT impressed

Loke very NOT impressed

It was just 1.22 from the storage to the shop. Of course, we were about 20 minutes early.

Loke, of course, wanted none of sitting still. He woofed at me. He pawed at my arms and legs. He even tried to ‘cute’ me into moving by smooshing his nose into my cheek and temple which is his way of kissing.

The shop opened a bit late of course. About 5 min after 9 am, Lotten (think I’m spelling it right) came flying up and running to the door. About 10 minutes to 9, Neil (the owner) had called her to ask who was opening the shop… on her scheduled day off. Poor woman. Her day off and she’d had to fly out of bed to come open. Once the door was unlocked, she had to hit the ground running as there were 3 others waiting after me.

Once I had the trike checked in, I called Jens’ dad to give me a ride home. It had been arranged the evening before. With the crazy amounts of muscle pain I’d been having, walking home wasn’t in the cards.

The flood of people slowed so I went back in to look around as I waited. Lotten and I ended up chatting. It started by her asking where I was from in the US. She laughed when I answered, ‘Mostly from the southern U.S.’. She told me she could hear that much, but what area? When I said Gulf Coast.

‘Anywhere near Biloxi, Mississippi? I’ve been there,’ she asked. I had to laugh. Small world as I’d lived in Biloxi for a time. She also knew about Mobile, Alabama. Then it was time to go.

Loke was ecstatic to see ‘grandpa’. My awesome FIL also offered to drive me back to the shop if they finished with the trike before Jens got home.

About 2 pm, Bobby (the mechanic called) to say that my winter tires had arrived though the others were MIA. Did I want him to mount those and hope that the snows came soon?

‘Aren’t you supposed to ride on pavement for a while anyway to make the studs solid in the rubber?’ I asked.

‘Yes, actually you are. I’ll put them on then!’ he said.

I got the text that everyone was done at about 3 pm. I called Åke. I was there about 3:30, as the sun was already sliding toward the horizon. I was still determined to add a few miles on the way back to the storage though. I was good to go! I had my lights!

I was giddy as I assembled the trike outside the shop. The brake cables had been crossed so left would stop the right and vice-versa. That would make dealing with Loke on the ice so much easier. I could hang onto his harness and stop the right wheel at the same time if he tried to pull the trike broadside.

Crappy photo, but there's one of them!

Crappy photo, but there’s one of them!

I’d also had cable oilers installed! I was so thrilled when I’d mentioned them a few weeks ago and Lotten knew what I was talking about. These look different than the ones I knew about, but if they let me blast the ice out of frozen cables I’m happy.

If it gets cold enough, I’d rather not struggle through snow, ice and hills with only 3 gears from the front chainrings.

I’ll admit, I’m wondering if we’re going to have another ‘Mississippi winter’ like the one in 2013-2014. At least there’s already been more frost this year than that one. It’s still been unseasonably warm though.

The sun was disappearing quick as I said farewell to my FIL and we rolled out. I let Loke have a bit more speed. I just needed to stay on pavement and avoid sudden stops. Naturally, in the first mile, I had to slam the brakes when someone came whipping wide around a blind corner on his bike. Gave me a dirty look like I was the one at fault for our near collision. I was firmly on the far right of the path.

Abruptly, I noticed a problem. I only had my rear light. My front light was on the fairing. That mean I had to cut the ride short.

I couldn’t do it. Poor Loke. I decided I’d go by the storage and remount the fairing. It was getting cold with the sun going, so I wanted that extra protection.

The furry was baffled when I didn’t roll us down the ramp. It took a few minutes. The light was almost gone, but I turned the trike around and we rolled on.

Loke was crazed. He tried to pull us faster and faster. His tongue flopped in that goofy husky grin I love so much. The temperature was plummeting. It went from 44 F when I rolled away from the shop to about 36 F as we came down the big hill to cross the river.

The dying of the light...

The dying of the light…

As the last of dusk was fading, it actually hit 32 F. My first freezing ride of winter 2015-2016. I started to regret the longer ride. I was dressed for above freezing rolling. I didn’t have bit of wool on anywhere. My legs above the knees were unhappy. I finally had to stop to wrestle on the shoe covers that were hiding in my bag.

As I left the riverside and joined the cycle paths running beside the busier roads, I decided I’m not a fan of riding in the dark. At least not in town. The glare from street lights were bad enough, but the headlights!

At least with the sun there’s sunglasses and I can tilt the brim on my helm. Headlights come from varying heights, angles and directions. A few times it was so bad, I couldn’t make out the edge of the path and nearly steered Loke into a post. Fortunately, I paid attention to him and was going slow. By the time I made it back to paths away from the roads, I had a splitting headache.

I think if I must ride in the dark, I would prefer country roads in a snow-blanketed landscape accompanied by only bright lights on my fairing and the glow of a full moon in a star-studded sky.

Jens still wasn’t home when I was finishing up with the ride with a bit less than 7 miles, though he was on his way. My legs were so cold. I decided to go  home and wait the 40 minutes for his commute where I could thaw.

The call came that he was about 15 minutes from home, so back out into the dark we went. Loke was thrilled to death. He bolted off, determined to drag us along at warp speed.

Back at the storage, we’d rolled a total of 8.5-ish miles. Not bad for starting out with a duck tape wrapped tire.

As for the ride itself, aside from freezing and the headache from glaring lights, it had been great! Even with chunky, studded tires, I’d felt strong as if I could have added another 20 miles with no problem. Provided I took the time to add some thermals.

It occurred to me during the ride with legs turning to blocks of ice, how my fears have shifted. The first year I was in Sweden, I was treated to a blood clot in my left leg. For years after that, I was paranoid about my hands and feet getting very cold upon learning that it could cause blood clots.

I don’t seem to have that fear any longer. It still passes my mind from time to time, but no fear. Good I guess.

Friday, November 5th, I woke up stiff and tottering around with the muscles in my thighs aching. The kind of pain I can handle because I ‘earned’ it by exercise. It came as a surprise though given how easy the ride had felt. Perhaps it was just a combination of so little riding in 3 week and the higher rolling resistance of the tires.

Even so, about 10 am, out I went again. We had reserved a table at Jay Fu’s with Jens’ parents. That meant, Loke needed some exercise before we went.

During the previous night’s ride, I had a little trouble with the parking brake. The lever kept hitting something. So, before we rolled out on Friday, I looked at it. It appeared that it had shifted. I fetched my tools and moved it back where it’s been since it was mounted by the guys at ICE.

It was a rough 5 miles. My legs were not happy legs. Loke was thrilled though. He happily jogged along even though it was over cycle paths we’d already rolled over the night before.

I also discovered that the parking brake lever hadn’t slipped, but Bobby had moved it and for a every specific reason. I did a particularly sharp right turn and the trike lurched to a stop, the brakes locked and I couldn’t straighten the wheels. It took me a moment to discover that the parking brake lever was hung up on the other brake cables which had been moved around a bit to accommodate the cross-wiring. Silly me had left the tools back at the storage so had to suffer along until I got back.

That happened a few more times.

I was exhausted, but still took the time to re-position everything where it wouldn’t tangle (hopefully), but I could still easily get to the lever.

It’s not been tested. Today is a rest day before my legs fall off. Loke could run more, certainly, but he’d have to do all the work and I’m not sure a 10 year old husky should be dragging me around.

Hopefully ride tomorrow, but it will be local. I’m determined to pile on the miles. Just 38.67 left to break 1000 miles for the year. I’m so glad I didn’t make 1300 miles a goal. The 3 weeks from Loke’s issue and the tire surprise would have wrecked my chances…

P.S. Two rides and the neuromuscular pain is happening much less and with less intensity. Gotta love recumbent trikes.


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