Terii’s Cycling Babble

And So It Goes…
September 19, 2016, 7:01 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

The month of September that is. And it is not going smoothly or particularly nice from a mileage standpoint. Mileage wise, it’s actually quite sad.

I was unable to ride on the 4th and/or 5th of the month. Too busy trying to turn myself inside out with coughing. I wasn’t a happy camper on the 4th, but felt okay enough to manage the 5 hours at work without feeling like the summer cold version of Typhoid Mary. Of course, she didn’t actually suffer from the disease she carried.

The 5th, I’d planned to ride before my 3:15 appointment to get the ultrasound on my heart. It didn’t happen. I was in too rough of shape. Every time I coughed, I felt like both of my sides were getting simultaneously punched by a champion heavy-weight boxer. When I wasn’t gasping and hacking, I was out like a light. Fortunately, Jens was working from home so he was able to drive me to the appointment.

The medical technician was very nice and happy to let me watch as he prodded around in search of the best angles of my heart. I was careful to turn away when I had to cough. I admitted, I’d thought about canceling, but since I’d had to wait for so long for the appointment to start with, it didn’t seem like a good idea. He agreed. It was a long wait. The list was over 1000 names long for appointments.

Restrap. Possible solution to avoiding frostbite? We shall see!

Restrap. Possible solution to avoiding frostbite? We shall see!

He got a bunch of samples and then the doctor came in. A very charming man and he even took a few fresh looks as well. His conclusion is that the murmur is because of the high blood pressure and slightly thickened muscle walls of my heart. He’d relay the results to the doctor who had ordered the exam.

Then it was back home to pass out in between coughing fits.

There was a treat waiting for me! My pedal straps had arrived! I was thrilled to have them, but didn’t have the oomph to get the tools I needed to put them on the mountain bike pedals. Especially since said tools were mostly at the garage.

With the arrival of the straps, Jens took a look at the supposed arrival time of the package from the things I ordered from ICE.

Did I mention those? Well, if not, I ordered a few things from ICE. Back when we took our very brief trip up north, I discovered that one of my seat clamps had stripped threads. Yep. I’ve been riding with only 3 good clamps. Also, my gearing has been a bit twitchy for a while even with Bobby’s excellent skills. Bobby took a look and came to the conclusion that my derailleur hanger was ever-so-slightly bent. He tried to bend it back, to limited effect. Third, my seat is a right mess. The mesh got pushed back to rub against the tension straps in a few spots which made little holes. Over time, the holes got a little bigger and the mesh along the vertical line above and below the holes started to unravel. It’s getting close to the critical point where my weight will just unzip it in one spectacular go. About the time I ordered the straps, I ordered 2 seat clamps, 2 derailleur hangers, and a new seat cover.

The delivery company contacted Jens rather than me for some reason and the delivery status on their web site was a bit confusing. Essentially said the package hadn’t been sent, to contact them. So he did, but that only confused things even more. After a closer look, my hubby thought the confusion stemmed from the fact that ICE had my old phone number which then deferred the delivery status to Jens, but tangled up the actual delivery some how.

So, the next day (6th), I contacted ICE again. I asked Hero about it and she threw in all effort to figure out what had happened. She was puzzled, but managed to track the physical package down when DHL was just confusing the issue. It had been shipped to Sweden, but wound up under a different tracking number and was waiting for delivery here in Uppsala. She asked if I wanted her to tell them to deliver it to the apartment, but I said we’d pick it up the next day.

She was incredibly apologetic, as if expecting me to go all mental. I assured her it was no problem. She sighed, “I wish all our customers were as understanding.” Honestly, I don’t know what was to be understanding about it. Confusions happen, it was a little thing, and she solved it in under 45 minutes. The main delay had been myself, trying to get the original tracking number from Jens who was stuck in meeting at work. If I’d been put off for a week before someone finally got around to solving it, I might have been irritated, but not within minutes of my call.

There it is! What I needed for 1000 miles in 2016!!

There it is! What I needed for 1000 miles in 2016!!

I also rode on the 6th. I wasn’t feeling much up to it, but I’d already gone 3 full days without riding, Jens had been awesome with taking all the walks with Loke, and most of all, those last 1.98 miles were calling. At least I was a bit more conscious and coughing a tiny bit less.

Out I went. I did one of the shortest loops I could. A whopping 3.18 miles, but hey, it gave me what I needed and spared Jens a long walk with the fuzzy when he got home from work. All Loke needed after that was a short stroll with the hubby. The furry may have wanted more, but didn’t really need it.

1000 miles for 2016. I would have cheered when the Garmin ticked over to 1.98 mile on the ride, but didn’t want to trigger a coughing fit. Finished the pitiful ride with a bouncy, eager husky and 1001+ miles for the year’s total.

The 7th and 8th were ride-less days. I honestly can’t remember if I worked on either of them or just let myself be sick, sleeping and resting as much as I could to try and break the cold’s grip on me. Summer colds are the worst. They latch in with barbed claws and don’t want to let go for anything in the world.

On one of those two days, I heard from the animal hospital about Loke’s blood test. It had come back negative for any sign of rheumatoid arthritis, which is good. It did find, however, that Loke had low grade anemia. I found that rather shocking and alarming when the woman said the word, ‘low grade’ or not. I even cast a worried glance at the furball who was sleeping in a contorted position on his back on the living room pillow. She assured me that it wasn’t bad enough to need any kind of treatment, but would need monitoring for a bit. The most likely cause was chronic inflammation which can suppress red-blood cell production it seems. I had no idea.

They wanted to take another blood test to make sure it’s stable (or improving), so back we’ll go on the 21st. I should have asked if this is going to become a ‘thing’ with Loke. Like every 3 months, in we go for him to get a patch of hair shaved off his leg and blood drawn.

The cough lingered on. Actually, I started to feel a bit better, then the next day, I felt much worse though the symptoms were more like a cold in the first day or two rather than one in the later stages. I honestly think another virus strain ambushed me before the original cleared out. 2 colds for the price of one. Yay! (sarcasm)

I must have had the trike parked at the apartment for a while, because the next ride on the 9th was just 2.33 miles. Exactly my usual meandering loop back to the garage. I remember nothing of it though. Probably coughed out those brain cells.

The 10th, I rode again. The warm weather broke for almost seasonal temps. Gloriously clear too and not much in the way of wind. In spite of the gorgeous weather, I felt frustrated more than anything. Being sick left me feeling weak and Loke was pokey and lethargic. In spite of me feeling sickly, the entire ride felt like a complete waste of such a fabulous day. 8.5 miles of hamster track! I was starting to suffer from an extreme case of a cycling version of cabin fever. I wanted to be riding elsewhere on in such fabulous weather.

I rode on both the 13th and 14th. So behind on the month’s goals and was still fighting colds. Mostly I went for the miles and to take pity on Jens. Loke had a bit of a turn around energy wise. So much so that he started harassing Jens, especially when he was trying to sleep. The first two nights, we thought he had an upset tummy so urgently needed walkies. It proved untrue.

So, I tried cycling a bit more. As much as I could manage any way, in hopes he’d leave my poor frustrated husband alone. Nope. As soon as Jens would lay down for sleep, Loke would be sitting at his bedside and staring in the dark. If Jens rolled over to put his back to Loke, the furball would start nudging him with his nose. We even tried swapping sides, but all that got was me getting nudged. Loke wasn’t even particularly interested in going out when he did this either. He’d just plod along, right beside us, bored. No sniffing, no marking territory.

During the day, out on the rides, he had energy to pull my listless self along. I just couldn’t manage to do more than the River Loops with him. That nets about 6 miles if I pull out all the stops.

The 14th was another of those glorious days. It was in the 60s F, utterly clear and, amazingly, no wind for once. I fetched the trike, intending to tackle the full River Loop with whatever extras I could find. The 6+ miles ended up cut to 4 miles because Loke started moving stiffly. I rolled the trike to the apartment, intending to go out a short time later for a quick dash downtown on some errand.

It didn’t happen. Charles’ wife called to ask if I could come finish the rest of the day at the shop because an urgent errand came up for her to do. Of course.

As I got dressed and showered for that instead of riding, the pain issue slammed hard into my muscles. It took me longer to get to the shop than I intended. Even just walking from the parking garage to the shop was brutal. Talk about a test to how I can manage a bad neuromuscular day at work. At least it was only a half day. It wasn’t as horrible as I thought. The hard part was getting back to the car after I closed.

The 15th, I rode again, mostly to get the trike back to the garage. Just the River Loop and mostly for the miles and get Loke some exercise.

I decided that was enough. Looking at my past rides, counting the days I rode since the last one off the Hamster Tracks to the present day, I’d gone out 30 days with the trike without getting any fresh ground. 45 separate rides if I count the days where I’d ride to the apartment with Loke, solo ride, and then back to storage with Loke. I’m pretty sure that’s a record since the first 2 years of riding, before the paths, trails and streets around here became so deeply rutted with my trike tires.

So, on the evening of the 15th, I announced to Jens that I would be riding elsewhere on Saturday (September 17th). I would be taking Friday as a rest day as I’d ridden for 3 consecutive days and wanted to be good and strong for my first ‘elsewhere’ ride in almost 2 months. I gave him the option of doing the ‘drop me off to do more of the Mälar Valley’s Route while going fishing’ so that Loke could get to run with me, or let me go solo with the car and take care of the dog’s walks. He chose the latter because he’s still fighting a cold as well.

Friday, I threw myself into action to find where I wanted to do a loop. First thing was that I ran up against some frustration with MapMyRide. It’s been building for a while, though the frustration had more to do with the Google Maps that it uses.

I’m not sure when it happened, but Google Maps color and contrast choices have been aggravating me for some time, especially when I try to zoom in to find the smaller roads I want to cycle. The roads are a pale cream with a background of pale gray. Might as well be white on white, I swear. It makes it nigh impossible to find small road routes.

So, I started looking at other map options to help guide me to the points on MapMyRide. MapQuest, Bing, etc.. but they weren’t really catching my eye.

Then something unexpected happen. I stumbled on to PlotARoute. At first glance, I thought maybe I’d found something to push MapMyRide aside as my ‘go to’ for mapping my rides. As I fiddled with it, it didn’t just push it aside, but bodyslammed it completely out of sight. While initially it uses the frustrating Google Maps, when I clicked for the ‘bike’ function of mapping, up popped OpenCycleMap. *swoon*

All the little roads clearly visible along with unpaved cycle paths, foot paths and more. Also, OpenCycleMap has cycle routes marked in bold colors, so it means I could map say, what I wanted to ride on the Mälar Valley’s Route without clicking back and forth between two web pages to figure out which roads I needed to click on MapMyRide to follow it. Roads I could barely see on MapMyRide, I’d like to point out. It even let me put little tags on my map for POI’s. MapMyRide used to let people do that, before it moved that function over to premium only. I’m not sure even premium can do it any more.

Then I started looking into printing. Oh happy day. PlotARoute even had a simple, free-to-use function for that. Click print, tell it if you want 1 page or up to 5 pages for the route, click print again. It breaks the route down into the number of legs as pages you specified and spits them out.

I’m kinda disappointed that the limit is 5 pages though. The 26 mile route I’d chosen made it a little hard to see where some of the turns were because the scale was too small. Easily solved I guess if I break routes down into sections and then print the sections. It would still be quicker than the method I used to get printed maps from MapMyRide. It would produce superior maps from a reading standpoint as well.

As for the ride itself, I will put that on a separate post, otherwise things will get much too length!

So for another day as I scamper off to work.



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