Terii’s Cycling Babble


I’m Still Here
June 29, 2016, 6:29 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

The title says it all.

Loke and I both are still plodding around on the Hamster Tracks. It’s strange how things shift sometimes. I remember a time when I avoided riding in Uppsala like it was plague. Now, I can’t seem to escape it. Perhaps that is the plague?

Mostly I think it’s because I tend to ride on errands now. No confidence in Loke’s stamina, or mine, to just do my 15+ mile loops into the countryside. Nostalgia for ice cream. Miss ice cream. Dashes to the American food store of course.

Most of all, the fruit stand. It’s that time of year where the big produce market at Vaksala Torg now has the wonderful imported, HUGE watermelons that are so much more flavorful than than the little volleyball to basketball sized ones found in Swedish grocery shops. Also cherries. Lots and lots of cherries. Grapes, clementines. Mmmmm….

The month has gotten a bit rough on me. I’m not entirely convinced I’ll make my goal of beating last June’s mileage. I had some kind of fever for a couple days. I still dragged myself out on before 3 full days without riding had passed since I had no fever, but I wasn’t energetic. Pretty weak actually. Then that fever was followed by one of the worst neuromuscular attacks I’ve had since the first 6 months after the stroke. Walking through the apartment hurt. Chewing hurt. Even talking. There wasn’t any way I could pushed the trike up the ramp from storage. I might have been mostly okay once on the trike, but not being able to get it out nixed any thoughts of riding.

Fortunately, the worst of that only lasted one day. The next day, while it still killed me to walk 200 yards, I was good enough to get the trike out of the storage. I went for a River Loop, without the trailer, for Loke’s sake. His day during my attack was so boring. Just 5 or so short walks, each no longer than 150 meters. Poor puppy. I think he appreciated the 4 mile run after that.

One day, tried to do a fruit run. I ended up having to hurry home though. I can’t remember why.

One day was a bit of an adventure. Out for another fruit run. We’ve had mostly nice weather. A few clouds popping up later in the day without rain, but the mornings just cool and gloriously clear. Yesterday, it was cloudy all day and a few indications that we’d had at least a little rain the night before.

As soon as I stepped out to head to the storage, I hunched up at the sight of the clouds. There was just something about them that practically screamed with threats of rain. The forecast said it shouldn’t rain until sometime after supper. It was cool, about 58 F which is one of those annoying temps for me. It’s cool, right on the verge of feeling chilly, but not so much that I felt the need for my light wool or a jacket. I thought about pulling on my wool, but it was freshly washed and I knew I’d only get it all smelly with sweat.

I left it and pushed on.

Loke was fairly ‘meh’ once we were moving though he’d been a pest earlier. I rolled along with about 12 liters of water in the trailer. Not my max, but I was going to be getting watermelon which is heavy.

The Garmin’s temp display held steady at 58 F. That is, until we were coming up to the hospital. The lightly gusty breezes became full on winds that lashed the trees and the back of the gale came rain. Not a light mist, but flat-out rain of moderate intensity. The temperature did a 6 degree drop. As I got wet, the shivering started. Loke kept giving me reproachful looks.

At the square, I parked the trike under one of the big trees where it still remained a bit dry. Then I dashed off to the shelter of the tarps over the fruit. The rain intensified into downpour status. Fruit purchased and while I could, in theory, have stayed under the tarps to wait it out in hopes it would stop, it would have meant Loke left with the trike endure the deluge alone. So, out I went.

Loke made his displeasure known by giving a solid shake as I sat down so I was dampened not just from above, but from the side as well.

We made a made dash back toward the train station. There’s a pedestrian/cycle underpass that ducks below the tracks and the road beside the tracks. I stopped there and stared out, shivering, at the rain. Already fairly soaked by that point, I couldn’t decide if I should try to wait it out though it looked like it had set in for a while, or just suck it up and push on.

The elevator from the tracks above opened and a guy in a wheelchair rolled out. He stopped to stare at us for a minute or so. I gave a polite smile before glancing back out into the rain. He was quite fit and active looking.

He came over, his expression a bit wistful as he asked about the trike. Then he told me that he used to ride bikes a lot. Mostly road bikes, but some mountain too. He missed it.

‘You could ride one of these,’ I told him.

He patted one of  his legs. ‘Not with these.’

‘No offense, but your arms look like they work just fine. Trikes like these can be outfitted with hand pedals. They come in models built for speed, or comfort and touring like this one, or even fat trikes for rough terrain. I’ve even seen a hand-trike rolling around the area near Ikea.’ I pulled out my phone to do a quick search to show him. He looked a bit excited as he suddenly handed me his phone so I could enter the search on his browser for a starting point to use on his own search.

It’s been more than a week since it happened. I still wonder if I’m going to be seeing him rolling around on a trike at some point.

The meeting was fortuitous for me as well. By the time we said our farewells, the rain had slacked back to a sprinkle.

The rest of the ride back was damp, but not a downpour at least. I dropped Loke off at the apartment along with the fruit before doing a solo charge back to the storage.

Since that day, the weather has been a mix of wet and dry. Normal really. It’s also gotten warmer. We had a couple days that were just ‘UGH’. Not southern Mississippi hot, but since I’ve lost my heat resistance, still downright unpleasant. No AC either, so the nights have been uncomfortable.

Still managed to get Loke out on his business outings with the trike by going early some mornings. At least 3 mornings I was out before 6:30. Once I was out at about 5 am to beat the heat. I really don’t want to give the fuzzy a heat stroke.

The past week, Loke’s been getting slower. I’m really starting to feel that it’s an age thing rather than boredom.

On  the 27th and 28th, I rode. On the 27th, we rolled out of the storage around 7:45 and headed directly for the fruit stand. Loke was sluggish, but I saw no indication of why. No limping or the like. Just slow. Then yesterday, the same, but even slower as I rode from storage to apartment. Then he gave a brief limp that seemed to have something to do with his shoulder. Though he didn’t limp again, I did notice he was shortening his stride rather than moving his legs in their ‘natural’ range of motion. We slowed down and took it ambling while I tried to get him to do his business. A rolling walk as it took over an hour to do 4 miles.

I had an errand to run for Jens though. So, I came home and left Loke here, running back out to drop something off with my lovely mother-in-law. I felt guilty about it, though have to admit that it felt nice to go along faster than I’d been doing the past few rides. Zipped along at over 8 mph on the flats and flew down the hills as fast as I dared with 18 liters of water banging in the trailer.

Once back from that 4.22 mile dash in a little over 30 minutes, it was back home where I tended chores and took Loke for the short walks that I’m capable of. When Jens called to say he was on his way home, we stepped back out to roll the trike back to storage. Loke did okay that run. Not speedy, but his steps were longer than they’d been earlier.

Jens arrived just as I was getting the trike into the storage. That done, we went up and I opened the hatch of the car to put Loke in the car kennel. I dropped my keys. When I stooped to get them, Loke jumped without being prompted. I looked up just in time to see him bang the bumper with his chest, then give an awkward hop. As I reached to help, he finally made it in with an awkward scramble. He’s not generally that much of a disaster getting in. He’s usually quite precise and skilled.

I didn’t like it.

Well, he had a bit of an issue again this morning. Went to jump in, but banged something because he didn’t make a high enough leap and managed to lightly sprain his paw. I liked it even less being 2 consecutive times.

I’ve also poked around on Loke a bit and he gives a slight indication of discomfort around his withers and down the shoulders. Everywhere else, except for his 3 toed foot, no reaction. Shoulders touched and he pulls back the corners of his mouth in what I would call a grimace. Generally an indication of pain or something a dog dislikes.

So, for now, I’ll make sure Loke doesn’t jump into the car unassisted and watch his paces during walks. If it continues or worsens, I’ll get him to the vet for evaluation. It won’t be until next week either way, unless something very drastic happens. The vet clinic I’ve been going is in the midst of moving this week. I want to give them a chance to get settled.

What else? Stats! There is only one more day left in the month after all.

I beat the goal for the month by a bit over 5 miles so far and one more day to ride tomorrow. 135-something miles. Last June was 126-something miles. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off when I was getting battered by fever and neuromuscular issues, but I did. I was also curious and started looking back over my ride calendar on BikeJournal.com. I’ve managed to keep to my goal of no more than 2 consecutive ride-less days in a row for quite a bit longer than I thought. March was the last month where I had 3 or 4 days without a ride.

I’m well on my way to beating 2008’s best mileage ever, I think. I was less than 50 miles short in 2015. As it stands now, I’m over 200 miles ahead of where I was last year after the first 6 months. If I ride tomorrow, I will be over 205 miles for sure as I will tip from 675 to 680. Last year after June 30th, I was at 474. It’s all down to nickle and dime rides, sadly. Especially recently. Or maybe I should even say ‘penny and nickle’ rides. Just keeping the frequency of them up is what’s making the difference.

We’re supposed to be heading up north next week. Jens has some places he wants to try fishing. New territory. Not sure how much I’ll be rolling if Loke’s feeling as stiff as he has been, but even a little will be nice. It will be good for us both even if it takes us all day to do 20 miles.