Terii’s Cycling Babble

With a Vengeance…
January 7, 2016, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

January 2nd was a bit busy. It was gray and colder than it had been on New Year’s day. Loke’s foot looked a bit worse than it had before the New Year’s Eve ride, but I kept at the washing and cleaning in hopes it would start healing again.

When I took Loke out for a short walk, there was a scattering of white dust drifting around. Snow technically though the flakes were smaller than grains of sand. There was almost a build up on the sidewalks as we came back to the apartment, but it had stopped.

Right at 9 am, I hurried out the door in search of a collar clamp. It was trying to snow again. Larger flakes that swirled around with the least little gust of wind. As I drove, they thickened into a proper snowfall.

At the first shop I found nothing like a collar clamp and couldn’t chase down anyone to ask. From, there, I bounced over to a building supply shop. At least there, I was able to find people who ask. The guys had never heard of one and showing a photo didn’t help either.

One of them did suggest a hose clamp which was my secondary choice. I’d brought the fairing frame with me to be sure we got the size needed.

On the return home, the snow had already stopped again. Mother Nature was toying with me.

With the replacement clamp, there was no help for it but to give it a try. Best to see if the loss of the original clamp had been solved or was I going to have to order and hope it arrived in less than a month. Loke was bouncy and excited as I dressed. Since he hadn’t been limping, I decided to bring him with. I put a sock on him and off to the storage we went.

It was a bit of chaos. Finding parking was a challenge. Then I accidentally left something in the car or in storage. Ran around in circles before I finally got everything settled.

Mother Nature, a cruel tease.. or so I thought.

More fluffy flakes coming down.

At first look, it seemed the clamp worked perfectly. It even had an added benefit of being able to use the same tool for the faring mount as I use to fasten or remove the running bar. No swapping! A very minor thing, but still worth celebrating. One less thing to lose!

Speaking of losing, Loke’s sock came off just on the darting to and fro.

During one of the dashes back and forth between storage and car, the snow returned. I regarded it with some cynicism. Scooting back to the garage, it came down in an intense flurry. Darting back into the storage to look for my Goretex hat.

01-02 b Less Than A MinuteI was away from the trike for perhaps 30 seconds. The amount of snow on it was surprising. Loke huffed at me as I took a photo of it. Then he sighed as I retrieved the sock and wrestled it back on his foot. He really doesn’t like them.

The furball wasn’t convinced all the running hither and yon was over. It wasn’t until I made the turn onto the usual street toward the river that he believed. That husky grin came out and he did his determined best to run.

Snow swirled though the winds were light. Still, I was glad of my contacts combined with my winter sunglasses. They have a seal around the frame that does a pretty good job of closing the gap between them and the face. It holds out both the wind that makes my eyes water and snow. Surprisingly, this time, they didn’t fog up either.

I’m pretty sure one reason Loke pulled so hard that time was because it increases the friction between his feet and the ground, helping strip off annoying socks. I had to go back and retrieve it.

Ice getting a dust of snow! Finally starting to look like winter!

Ice getting a dust of snow! Finally starting to look like winter!

The main goal of the outing was to make sure the hose clamp was going to work as replacement. Before we’d done a mile, the experiment was a success. The fairing was firmly attached. No wobbling or slow slouching.

After the glide down the big hill and bumping up onto the bridge, I was surprised to find the river frozen across. It was looking almost wintery.

I was thrilled the snow persisted. It was building up fairly quick. There were challenges to it however. Breathing was a bit tricky. The flakes were light fluff so the least little movement of air swirled them around. They came right in under my brim and the little tugs of air just from breathing pulled them right up into my nose. A bit like inhaling freezing water at times, triggering a lot of spluttering.

Other than that, it felt a little rough. 3 days, 3 rides and I could feel it. The snow was also piling up at a surprising rate.

Even so, I decided to ride further… without Loke. By the time I rolled to a stop outside the apartment, we had over an inch of snow.

I cleaned Loke’s foot and tried to ignore the pitiful look he gave me when I bolted back out the door without him.

I headed off for downtown, stopping at the American Food store. I visited with one of the owners and wishes that they have a happy new year.

White, white and more white!

White, white and more white!

It turned into quite a harsh ride. I was slow. The wind kicked up and snow came down even thicker. The blanket of white was slightly damp so it churned easily into a sand like texture.

Another task awaited me. Fetching more reindeer meat for Loke. Covered in snow, I didn’t go in, standing in the little entry way so as not to melt over my MIL’s floors.

Turned out I’d miscalculated the time a little. The sun was setting as I left my in-laws. ‘Å’ worriedly asked if I had lights. I assured him I had a front one at least, as I’ve not yet replaced the rear which was snatched by a couple of jerks during one of my downtown rolls.

I was so glad to roll to a stop at the storage. Getting up the slope was tricky. The damp snow packed into a clump of slick ice around my cleats which left my footing wobbly and slippery.

But, I had Loke’s food and thoroughly tested the fairing. The hose clamp had worked just fine. One of the fellow members of a triking group on Facebook mentioned I could probably order a new clamp for ‘just 20 USD’. My first thought was, ‘Hmmm 20 USD plus time/cost of overseas shipping for something so easy to lose and would need the extra tool – or something that costs maybe 1 USD, can be had the same day one is lost? AND no extra tool!’ Hose clamp it is!

It’s not like the equivalent of replacing a car window with cardboard and ducktape.

My next planned ride was January 5th. It was going to be a continuation of the Mälardalsleden!

I’m hoping to get back into the mentality of ‘I’m a cyclist’. Early in 2014, I’d read that people who consider themselves ‘runners’ or ‘cyclists’ do the activity more consistently then those who say, ‘I run’ or ‘I ride a bike’. So, I began declaring (to myself), ‘I’m a cyclist!’ I got into a groove. I rode more and actually made a fairly regular schedule of it. Every time I thought about sluffing off, the ‘I’m a cyclist’ would whisper in my head and out the door I went.

It worked great!….. until the stroke.

Still amazes me that last year was my 2nd best year ever and so close to being the best.

So, with the plan of ‘I am cyclist’ in mind, I mentally scheduled 2 days of rest to hit the ground good and fast on the 5th as a sort of year beginning blowout before buckling down. Jens’ vacation essentially extending the year end. We had a reservation for our favorite restaurant that day so a good long run with Loke and plenty of exercise for myself was just the thing.

It didn’t happen. Loke’s foot stubbornly refused to improve no matter how I washed or cleaned with antiseptic at regular intervals. On Sunday, the 4th it became really bad. He limped horribly, sometimes on 3 legs, other times trying to use only his toenails. Poor thing. I tried to make an appointment, but they were fully booked. Tuesday, January 5th was the earliest. 8 am. I took it.

It pretty much jinxed the plans to ride. The vet visit plus running around for meds if it was decided would take too much time to allow for the drive to the Stockholm area as well as showering in time to have dry hair for dinner.

It was snowing as we headed out. I gave Loke a short hobbling walk before going into the clinic.

It was a long appointment. I had the very nice vet with the Scottish accent check for yeast just to be sure as it seemed there was no choice but to use antibiotics. She took a few scrapings and looked. No yeast. So, antibiotics it was.

So, Loke is on a 21 day course of bacteria specific medication in an attempt to beat the bug into utter submission rather than giving a bigger chance of a super bug. Still scrubbing and rinsing.

I think it’s working, but I’m uneasy. Loke is at least walking fairly normal. Maybe a slight hitch in his step every now and again.

Turns out I still should have squeezed in a ride after the vet visit. Yes it was gray, but snow instead of rain and mid-20’s F. Since the 6th, the temperature plunged. I’m talking single digits.

Cold and lovely grave mound walk in a snowfall.

Cold and lovely grave mound walk in a snowfall – Jan 6th

And snow! Not feet of snow, but a lot. Currently, -0.4 F. Even cyclists have limits. I wanted winter and while I’m enjoying the snow on walks, it’s just too bitter to ride. If 20 F or even upper teens, I’d risk it, but sub-zero? I don’t think even my fairing, footwarmers and shoecovers with every pair of wool socks I could stuff in the shoes could keep my feet from frostbite in it. I’d need better gloves than I have now too.

Not good cycling weather, but pretty!

Not good cycling weather, but pretty!

We walked at the grave mounds yesterday and it was harsh. I had my eyeglasses instead of contacts. My eyes teared which caused the glasses to fog. The fog turned to ice so I ended up putting the glasses in my pocket and walking practically blind. The tears still came and began making little icicles on my lashes.

Sun peeking over the mound.

Sun peeking over the mound.

Riding on the trike brings a new level of windchill. Riding out in 25 F according to window thermometer and weather apps, my Garmin displays temps in the teens. 0F would be like what? -10 F? I need to ease in to that so I have time to figure out what gear to use for combating such bitter cold.

So much nicer than winter-dead grass and muddy, eroded trails!

So much nicer than winter-dead grass and muddy, eroded trails!

So, the 2 days rest has stretched into 4 days as of this writing. The forecast promises milder temps. Tomorrow might even be about 20 F. If so, then out the door I’ll scurry for at least a short ride.

I needed it for more than miles or the ‘I am a cyclist’ regime. My back has improved and I want it to stay that way. Walking or the gym just doesn’t seem to help it as much as a few hours a week of trike pedaling. It’s for my health in so many ways!

Winter came with a vengeance. Hopefully it will stay with us, but soften slightly. Temps a little higher, but cold enough to hold the snow and let the rest of winter be a proper one.

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