Terii’s Cycling Babble

Fading of Glorious Autumn
November 1, 2016, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

October has become … a mixed month. A strange conglomeration of successes and lack there of.

The goals I’d set on the first of the month have flopped, that didn’t change. Then, from the 16th to the 31st (16 days), I’ve ridden on 12 of them. That might be some kind of record for me. Sadly not enough to save the month and make the goals as it’s largely been shorter River Loop rides. 10 of the 12 having less than 9 miles. Most are in the 7 mile or less range. It doesn’t make for a rapid accumulation of distance. Apparently, it has had its impact. I’ll get to that.

Such pretty colors make up for constant gray...

Such pretty colors make up for constant gray…

So, in spite of having said I was going to wave the white flag of surrender to my attempts to use the Restraps, I tried to persist.

I don’t remember much about my ride on the 13th. If I had to guess, it was probably full of toe cramps and me tap-dancing on the pedals as I stubbornly chewed my way around yet another River Loop hamster track.

Restrap with hideous pink and purple sneakers with hideous plum tights.

Restrap with hideous pink and purple sneakers with hideous plum tights.

I threw myself into new pedal thoughts over the 14th and 15th rather than riding. On the 14th, shoe shopping actually happened. I drove downtown and hit the two outdoor hiking/camping and such shops to look at their selection of Gore Tex hiking boots or shoes.

The first place had something kind of promising, but it was just a little too snug. A vast improvement over 90% of shoes which, at best, are very snug if they aren’t ‘No way in hell THAT foot is going in THAT shoe’. Most shoes here I don’t stand a chance of getting my feet in unless they’re so oversized with 5 extra inches flopping around past the toes like some kind of clown shoes.

I was still kinda tempted though. The light boots were rather nice and I thought they wouldn’t be too bad. I hesitated though because I liked the slate gray or the brown much better than the bright red. Yes, the bright red would have matched my Restraps rather nicely, but I didn’t want to add yet another screaming color to my already eye-bleeding cycle outfits.

At the next shop, one of the staff was happy to help and went searching for things he thought were a little wider. A woman had tried on a shoe type and then walked off. It was the same brand that had almost worked in the previous shop, but in the gray I liked and the size they hadn’t had. I grabbed it and tried it on. Still a touch snug. I asked if they had the next one up. Yes.

It fit pretty well. Just a tiny bit of extra length at the toe, but acceptable. It felt warm, but not too snug so there’d be room for a plush wool sock. I put both of them on and wandered around the shop to look for anything more that caught my eye. After about 20 minutes, my feet still felt great. I bought them.

The colors of sunrises and sunsets in the trees helps with the constant clouds.

The colors of sunrises and sunsets in the trees helps with the constant clouds.

Sunday (October 16th), before work, I went for another ride. I didn’t wear the boots though. I wanted to be absolutely sure of them before I abused them too much to return. So, I went out with my thin summer shoes.

Leaves are dropping fast, but leaving a pretty carpet.

Leaves are dropping, but leaving a pretty carpet.

It was another gray day, though the clouds had broken up a tiny bit, giving the sky some texture as well as fleeting hints of blue here and there. Temperatures were mild, in the 40’s and not much wind. The lack of wind made me smile, not just because it’s easier to dress for and one less thing to fight on a ride. It meant the gorgeous autumn colors weren’t going to disappear so quickly. Wind and rain can strip autumn leaves from trees in record time. I really wanted what we had to stick around.

Honestly, this has been the most beautiful autumn we’ve had in years. The past 5 or so, it’s been as if the leaves fling themselves from the trees as soon as they took on a hue of anything other than pure green. A hint of yellow? Time to plummet to the ground. Perhaps a faint blush of orange? Down to the ground and change to brown!

Such pretty hues distract from the muddy brown of a plowed field.

Such pretty hues distract from the muddy brown of a plowed field.

Can you imagine how they would blaze in sunlight?!

Can you imagine how they would blaze in sunlight?!

Not this year. Gorgeous shades of not only the golds of birches, but vibrant oranges and splashes of vivid reds here and there on other trees. Not for just 3 or 4 days either. They’ve been clinging on for weeks, coming off a few at a time. It’s left me almost as giddy as a new snowfall!

Though I’d gotten a later start than I intended, what with work starting at 12:00 pm, I randomly decided to add the out-n-back bit toward the Uppsala Garrison. It’s been years since I’ve done it and there are some pretty trees along the street there not to mention views across the fields. It would take a few more minutes, but even the cramps in my feet couldn’t take away the smile and delight I had at the autumn colors.

One of the reasons I felt confident enough in time to add the extra mile or more to go toward the garrison’s gates was that Loke was a speed machine. He had actually hopped around and yodeled while I was getting ready outside the storage. I’m sure the people who live in the apartments there just adored that on a Sunday morning. Then for the entire 5.8 miles, he determinedly kept us to over 7 mph for most of the way… when he wasn’t dragging the trike along at 8 or 9 mph on the flats and 11-13 mph on downhills. Except for my cramping feet, I felt pretty good and strong too. Even with all my stops for photos we did the distance in under an hour. Been a while since we accomplished that.

At work, I wore the promising new boots for the full shift. My feet got a bit overheated, but otherwise felt wonderful. Even if it turned out they didn’t work with the new pedals, I was gonna keep them. Best fitting shoes I’ve found here in Sweden since I bought my Icebugs!

Dull and murky. Wasn't there some kind of yellow ball of light somewhere?

Dull and murky. Wasn’t there some kind of yellow ball of light somewhere?

I was so pleased with the boots that Loke and I were out with the trike the very next day (Monday, October 17th). As before, it was another leaden day with temps in the 40’s. If anything the cloud cover was thicker and almost made even the sunshine colors in the trees look despondent. Hardly any of the photos I took with the phone came out. The two I did salvage still don’t look so great even after I tweaked the exposure.

There was also a threat of rain. Somehow, in the course of a week or more of dreary clouds, we’d managed to stay dry, but on the 17th there were hints and speckles of rain. I was sad to see it come. Rain would hurry the fall of leaves.

Murky and dim, but still pretty.

Murky and dim, but still pretty.

The boots worked pretty well. I managed to get them clipped with heel straps and even use the Restraps as well. The results were mixed. I was still tapdancing on the pedals in desperate search for a painless position to spin. Or at least bearable. The heel straps would have worked okay I think except I had trouble reaching them between my weight and the stiff, painful hip.

It was just a short 4-ish mile dash around the River Loop hamster track, but hey! Miles are miles! Feet might have been cramping, but they were warm which is more than I would have been able to say in my old SPDs. There were a few minutes at least where I seemed to find an elusive sweet spot and was able to pedal along for almost 10 entire minutes before I had to rip my feet off the cranks to stomp the cramps out.

Unbelievable, I know.

And to push the limit of any reader’s credulity, Loke and I went out again on the 18th. Astounding I know, as it’s been what feels like ages since we’d done 3 consecutive days of rides.

Instead of a morning ride, we headed out well after lunch. Though we’d be doing the River Loop again, there was at least something of a purpose to it. Dog food. It was that time again.

Loke was practically hysterical as I dressed and we went out to the car. I was more dubious. The persistent, light-swallowing clouds were threatening with rain. There were tiny sand-grain sized droplets on the windshield as I hunted for parking near the storage.

In spite of that, I still hitched up the trailer and pushed us out. Loke led us down the first streets at a headlong charge of almost 13 mph, tongue flopping in a husky grin. Almost from the first turn of the pedals, the clouds made good on their threat and sent down a drizzling kind of mist. It wasn’t enough to make my clothes obviously damp, but it did speckle my glasses and give the pavement a semi-gloss of moisture.

As we rolled through the first mile. I kept waiting for it. The dreaded foot cramps. Much to my amazement, they failed to materialize.

An unexpected bit of summer struggling for a foothold.

An unexpected bit of summer struggling for a foothold.

The autumn colors still hung on, but between the wind and the steady, if soft drizzle weighing them down, the leaves were starting to fall. Some trees here and there began to take on a threadbare appearance.

I popped into the vet clinic to get the food and also ask about medication Loke had been prescribed. He had an issue that seemed to have cleared up on it’s own which I asked the receptionist to mention to the vet. The meds had turned out to be quite scarce. As in, ‘None of it in Sweden until sometime in November’ scarce. As I loaded the dog food into the trailer, the vet came rushing out for a quick chat. When I told her how things had improved, she decided to cancel the order for me since Loke had been doing so much better.

The nearest thing to sunshine in ages.

The nearest thing to sunshine in ages.

Gray skies and drizzle, but what colors!

Gray skies and drizzle, but what colors!

The rain slacked as we pushed on back toward the apartment where I dropped off the kibble. Scurrying along the back roads on the 2.33 mile horseshoe route between apartment and storage, the sun made an attempt to come out the most it’s done in days or weeks. A pitiful, brief attempt, but still.

Such delight to have made a decent loop on my River route of 6.81 with nary a cramp or ache in the feet. I was thrilled to bits. Perhaps my feet were becoming accustomed to SPD-less pedaling. I’m sure it’s quite a shock as I’ve only been riding with SPD shoes and pedals for 10 years now.

From the 19th, the weather took a bit of a nosedive. Rain came, heavier than before and the air colder with some gust to it.

Thursday, October 20th, I pushed out for a ride though. I was slated to work, but only for the latter half of the evening. That left me plenty of time to go out the door for a roll. What a lovely choice it was too. I went at right about sunrise.

Contrary to the forecast, it wasn’t raining and the temperature held mild in the low to mid 40’s F. It was still a few minutes before true sunrise as I pushed the trike up the ramp so I couldn’t tell what the weather was going to do as I did the River Loop hamster track yet AGAIN.

Bits of blue sky and just peeking over the tops of shadowed trees, others touched with sunlight!

Bits of blue sky and just peeking over the tops of shadowed trees, others touched with sunlight!

It was a surprise. Just in the few minutes it took for me to get the Garmin turned on, Loke settled and myself in the seat with boots under the Restraps, sunlight started to paint the clouds in soft colors of peach, silver and apricot. Real sunlight. It only strengthened in the 2 minutes or so it took for Loke and I to roll down the first streets toward the cycle paths out to the river. We rolled in the shadows of trees and buildings, but further off I could see the tops of other trees painted into brilliant colors by the early light.

I couldn’t help myself. I giggled gleefully. Suddenly the morning became magical. The first hint of true sunlight in what felt like forever. I may not suffer from SADS like some people do when the days get short and weather dreary and gray, but it doesn’t mean I don’t get weary of it and then delighted when the sun emerges.

Ignore the chainlink and gravel lot. Just look at the COLORS!

Ignore the chainlink and gravel lot. Just look at the COLORS!

And what it did to the colors! I’d only been able to imagine, but there they were now, given the blaze of incredible hues and shades my mind’s eye had painted them. My cheeks started to ache with the huge smile that pulled up the corners of my mouth as we rolled on for the overpass.

The clouds continued to scatter, more blue appearing and the sun climbed higher, reaching more and more of the trees until it seemed the light of every sunrise and sunset had been gently snared in their branches.

I was a bit torn between speeding up to see the most of the autumn leaves in the perfect light or to slow down and savor what was in my immediate view.

Loke not impressed with all this starting and stopping in the first half mile.

Loke not impressed with all this starting and stopping in the first half mile.

Yes, the river again, but LOOK at the colors!

Yes, the river again, but LOOK at the colors!

In spite of my insistence to stop every time a new angle or view opened up, Loke did his level best to hurry us a long. I let him in some areas, like when we came down the big hill toward the river. Tongue flopping in a husky grin, Loke loped down the slope (look a rhyme!).

Can't. Stop. Taking. Pictures.

Can’t. Stop. Taking. Pictures.

The sun was still quite low as we hit the bridge over the river. The water and banks in soft, dim shadows while the tops of trees were wild with color. Definitely almost as good as snow early on a sunny morning.

I’ve noticed recently that I’ve had a bit of a mind shift when it comes to the local rides of late. Particularly with the River Loop.

Can't believe I'm sharing so many photos of the River Loop.

Can’t believe I’m sharing so many photos of the River Loop.

Haven't seen these two in ages.

Haven’t seen these two in ages.

Earlier in the year, and year before, I couldn’t stand to do the full out-n-back on the river side cycle path, but had to take off through the less-than-lovely industrial area beside it once I started the double-back portion of it.

Yet of late, I’ve been sticking more to the river side. The main driving force seems to be the autumn colors as there are few trees in the light industrial complex. Also the early morning rides where I can watch the sun rise across the river and garrison lands. It’s also been mentally easier for me to get out and ride which is a nice change. It’s enough of a challenge to get out sometimes with work and health issues with me and Loke both. When I have to argue with my own brain and mood on top of that, well. It’s not fun.

Light is magical when it came make even a field of mud look lovely...

Light is magical when it came make even a field of mud look lovely…

Softer colors in stronger light, but still lovely.

Softer colors in stronger light, but still lovely.

All in all, it was a nice start to the day. Quite glad I was out to greet the sun for it’s first full appearance in weeks.

Later at work there was a somewhat cycle related incident. A customer came in and was staring hard at me while I rang up his purchase. Suddenly, he asked, “Do you ride a laid back kind of bike with a white dog?”

I was quite surprised. I’m quite a sight when I’m riding with all the loud colors of my cycle clothes, my Da Brim, recumbent trike and husky, but to be recognized when I was dressed as a human being caught me off guard. I answered, yes. The man grinned. “I thought so. We met 6 or 7 years ago when I worked as a carpenter out at Ulva.”

Sadly, I have no recollection of the meeting, but it was still kinda neat to be recognized in completely different circumstances. Clearly, I’d stood out in his memory for him to make the connection after so long.

October 21st (Friday) was the next day I scurried out. Honestly, the whole day turned into a kind of fiasco. Started out mostly okay. Then as we were walking out to the car for Jens to drop us off at the storage, Loke got into a bit of something that someone had dropped in our parking lot. I had to jump on him and pry his jaws open to ram my fingers down his throat. I scooped out as much as I could. I tried not to be sick with soggy bread and dog saliva all over my fingers.

It soured my mood quite a bit since I’m convinced that Loke’s allergies will be the death of him rather than old age. Not even getting to meet an absolutely adorable, scruffy puppy completely cheered me up. His name is Atlas and he was 14 weeks old at the time of our initial meeting. At first, he kind of hid behind his new human mommy and woofed at Loke. A bit intimidated, but still wanted to play

As for Loke, he actually woofed and barked back. What on earth is going on with my traditionally mute husky? Getting all randomly noisy well into his 11th year.

Finally the pup came wide around Loke to the front of my trike to sniff along the opposite side. While I held onto my furball, Atlas suddenly jumped on the seat to bounce up and lick my face in greeting. Turns out he’s very people focused rather than on dogs. He was so cute and going to be a good sized dog when he grows into those paws.

After we finally said bye to Atlas and his owner, we moved out. Things rapidly became annoying Loke kept pausing to pee… a lot. Seriously. Without exaggeration, he was yanking the trike to a stop every 50 meters/yards or so. Yes,  he’s a male dog and by nature goes pee more than females, but this was beyond extreme even for him. A few times, he even stopped to do it like a girl dog in the middle of the street. He’s never done that. Generally, he’ll stop about 5-6 times in the first half mile and then by the time the first mile is done, he’s good for a mile or two at a time before wanting to stop again.

This is new. The path from the backside of the grocery was gravel last time I was here.

This is new. The path from the backside of the grocery was gravel last time I was here.

My temper was quite short after the bread incident, but I simply ground my teeth rather than lashing out. My poor teeth. Needless to say our speed suffered as we lurched and stuttered along. We managed the loop though and I pushed on to the grocery. While in the shop, I had a bit of time to cool and think while I bought what I needed. It occurred to me, Loke’s aggravating issue might have had to do with the prostate problem the vet had found earlier. That made it easier to stay calm as we did our start/stop down the hill toward home.

As I came up to the where I would normally turn for home, the realization that I couldn’t take the usual entrance to where I park the trike thanks to road work on our little street. The only way in was through the narrow break in the hedge flanked on one side by a metal pole set in the ground.

Usually, that entrance is no problem… without the trailer, but I had the trailer with me. Very nearly did damage to the trike and trailer trying to get it through. The trailer got hung up on the pole even after I tried to swing wide. Getting up to untangle everything had me seeing spots from pain in my hip, especially when I had to struggle my right foot back on the pedal.

After putting the groceries away, I’d thought to go for a grave mound loop or even maybe out through the countryside for a Vaksala loop. I only rolled about another 200 yards and Loke stopped for about the 1000th time to pee in less than an hour. Nope. I wasn’t going to do it. No way, no how was I going to take 4 hours or more to do a 10 mile loop under those circumstances. I cut it short right back for home, almost breaking my trailer again because of the only way in.

I called the vet and explained Loke’s issue. They were fully booked for the day, but the vet told me to keep an eye on him and if it was still a problem, she’d fit him in the next day.

It wasn’t. It cleared up sometime during the day. With my plans for longer rides seemingly nixed for the day, I turned my attention to the kitchen. Using the fixings I’d bought, I whipped up a vegetarian version of a slow-cooker creamy potato soup recipe I’d made with turkey bacon the week before. It had turned out so well, Jens wanted me to make another batch without the turkey bacon to share with his family. More than vegetarian, the 2nd batch was even vegan friendly. Not that any of my in-laws are vegan, only vegetarian. The only reason it was vegan soup was to adhere to my strict cholesterol limits and leaving out the turkey bacon for the vegetarians.

It finished cooking much faster than anticipated (around 2 pm), so I called my MIL to let her know what I’d done. She offered to come get some the next day. When I spontaneously made counter-offer to bring some to her via the trike, she was thrilled. She’d had a busy day at their garden plot, prepping it for winter, so the idea of not needing to cook dinner was a welcome one.

The leaves may be falling, but leaving lovely carpets on the browning grass.

The leaves may be falling, but leaving lovely carpets on the browning grass.

I loaded up enough of the soup in a soft sided cooler to stay warm for all the vegetarians and off we went.

The change in Loke from the morning was amazing. He was excited to get rolling and not at all interested in making another few hundred bathroom stops. We sped along at a brisk pace between 7.5 and 8.8 mph hour. As long as we were on the flats or downhills, his legs were a blur. I could almost suspect he’d figured out we were going to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s from the phone conversation.

Construction in Uppsala is insane at the moment. Not only unattractive apartment buildings springing up like mushrooms in damp weather, devouring every green spot while throwing effective cycle paths into disarray, but it feels like half to 3/4th of the city streets are undergoing some kind of work. It made a bit of a challenge in one spot where the detour had me bumping down a curb, the trailer banging unpleasantly.

The last half mile or so before turning into the complex where my in-laws live, Loke wanted to run at a dead charge. He knows that stretch. He knows when we go that way, 9 times out of 10, there’s Grandpa waiting with lots of goodies.

Golden birches along the path

Golden birches along the path

There was an interruption in his rush. My husband called to say he was on his way home and I could meet him at the storage. I told him I might be a bit late as I was about 10 minutes from dropping the soup off and wasn’t sure how long it would take for me to get back. He was surprised, but asked me to tell his mom he was bringing fresh baked bread from his favorite bakery in Stockholm. He’d meet me at the storage and then we’d go back to his parents.

That’s what happened. My lovely MIL was thrilled to bits to have not only the soup (which passed her approval with flying colors), but bread coming to make a tasty and solid evening meal.

The day may have started unpleasantly, but at least it ended on a high note. Family fed, Loke improved from whatever was bothering him earlier in the day. It definitely helped to clear my mood and made the whole day so much nicer. A rose garden from a train wreck as it were.

As for Saturday, October 22nd? Yep, out the door again.

Weary of the River Loop hamster track, I decided to combine an errand downtown with a short dash through the countryside. Given that it was to be my 3rd consecutive day riding and coincidentally the longest ride of the month by almost double (sad to say), a touch ambitious perhaps. Also the first time out of the city since tipping my trike to avoid being turned into road kill at the beginning of the October.

As for the weather, well the clouds had returned with a vengence. Dense and murky, the gray cover over the sky gave the day a heavy, dark twilight feeling to the day. One would almost think it was mid-December already. It felt like it could rain any moment and the temp hovered around freezing.

There was a bright spot though! Atlas! I’d just gotten the trike to the top of the ramp when he came around the corner with his owner. Straight away, he pulled the woman right to us to jump into the trike seat and wiggle and lick his greeting to me. Did I mention he’s just so CUTE? He even batted Loke’s nose when my fuzzy stuck his face at him.

In spite of the wind, cold, and lack of sun, I was wearing my new boots with nothing more than thin socks. Certainly a good test to see if I was on the right track for the (hopefully) coming winter.

As we rolled out, I thought perhaps the challenge of the longer ride on the 3rd consecutive day of rides wasn’t going to be as big as I thought. Loke was a fireball of enthusiasm and power and I felt pretty strong and pain-free. Except for my hip complaining when putting my foot on the pedal, I felt remarkably good. No foot cramps.

Crest of the hill

Crest of the hill

Before we reached Old Börje road, there was another treat waiting for us on top of a light post. A bird hunch on the hood of the light cover. With the dim lighting and the puffed feathers, I couldn’t quite make out what kind of bird. About 50 yards away, it was apparently unhappy with our approach and took wing, revealing itself to be a hawk. It did a short circle over us and drifted off to the north.

Perky as he was, Loke became even more excited as we made a right turn to scoot over the 272 instead of following the cycle path toward the heart of town. He even deigned to throw his weight into the harness to help get us up that first climb faster.

Out among the fields, the wind made it’s presence very well known. Hundreds of yards, if not a mile or more in places, without anything to break the wind.

Trying to make the best of bad lighting with a phone camera.

Trying to make the best of bad lighting with a phone camera.

I started to feel a bit chilled. Not surprising in those conditions. No fairing. No electric foot warmers. No plush wool socks or shoe covers. In my new boots, my feet began to feel a bit cool, but nothing like they would have with my cycle shoes even with every other layer and item against the cold. That gave me some hope for my winter riding this year!

Some of the fields were a bit green and 4 times, we spooked hares into making wild dashes for cover. That of course made Loke completely nuts.

I was smiling when we ticked over 5 miles right at an hour. Given how much I’d stopped for photos and to let Loke answer calls of nature, that’s very good for us. Rare since I had the stroke in 2014 actually.

We made the turn toward Ströbylund and I took the climb up toward the rail track nice and easy. That short little .25 mile stretch was populated by more hawks. 4 of them no less. In such a small area, I’d guess it was a mated pair and this year’s offspring.

Doe! A deer! A female deer!

Doe! A deer! A female deer!

Crossing the tracks, there was the vast expanse of a field on our left. Three shapes moved across the flat ground, stubbled with the pale stalks of harvested wheat. It took me a moment to realize it was a trio of roe deer rather than another cluster of hares.

Yes, I had trouble telling deer from hares. One, they were quite a way out and both share a bounding motion unless deer walk. Secondly, being in the middle of the field, there wasn’t much to give a sense of scale. And third, roe deer aren’t the hefty brutes that white tails or mule deer are. They’re dainty. Not much bigger than Loke actually. Many of the does are actually smaller than my furball though perhaps stand about as tall.

Rather than risk spooking them in another direction I stopped to pull out my phone, hoping they wouldn’t be too far away to be seen when I took the photo.

It wasn’t ideal, but still neat to watch them trot across the road. Poor Loke went completely bonkers. He really wanted those deer! Was definitely kicking myself for not bringing my Canon.

As for the autumn colors? They’re not as present out in the countryside around the city. Nearer to the urban and residential areas, there’s an abundance of deciduous trees that have a chance of taking on all the brilliant shades of red, gold, and orange. Further out, conifers rule the woody patches which are evergreens. Still was nice to get out of the city.

The coming fate of all autumn's colors...

The coming fate of all autumn’s colors…

The longer we stayed out among the fields, the colder I became. My feet did finally become uncomfortable, especially in the toe area, but I hadn’t started feeling that way until my legs got very cold. Honestly, I think I just ran out of enough warm blood to keep the temperature up in my toes rather than anything else. I’d dressed for temps in the 38-40 F range. Not 32-34 F.

Except for the sting of the cold bordering on frostnip. My feet were fine. No cramping at all. It seems they’re slowly adjusting to a non-SPD reality. As for the threat of frostnip, it didn’t feel bad enough I was worried especially since I was close to re-entering the city area where the wind would be mostly blocked. My feet would have a chance to warm up again. So I hoped.

Pretty even in the gray!

Pretty even in the gray!

There were a few spits of rain as I made the turn onto one of the mini bike-highways toward the heart of town. Much to my relief, a full on rain never materialized.

The return of autumn hues were welcome as well as I made the turns onto our usually inner city hamster-tracks. Gotta enjoy them while they’re around!

I love the blanket of leaves to the sides of the path too!

I love the blanket of leaves to the sides of the path too!

Back on the same ol’ ground, Loke remained a bundle of energy. Primed by the many hares and deer out in the countryside, he remained vigilant for the next sign of critters. The flash of bird wings here or there disappointed him once he realized they weren’t something furry, four-legged and potentially tasty.

Loke waiting for me to emerge.

Loke waiting for me to emerge.

And being among the trees and buildings did give my feet a chance to warm up, though it was slow. Had to get the blood in my legs a chance to regain some heat first.

Once I reached the kitchen shops I wanted to check for a pastry blender, my feet were all snuggly and almost too warm in minutes. They didn’t have what I wanted. *sulk*

From there, it was a quick dash back to the storage with 14.4 miles under wheels and paws.

I’d hoped that those miles would give me the distance I needed to declare 2016 my new second best year ever. Alas, not to be. It seemed I had more miles last year than I remembered. Quite a few actually.

Here, I think I’ll make a break in catching up on the rides as the post is getting quite long at 5500+ words and only up to the 22nd. That does at least cover the week where I rode six of the seven days. Pretty impressive for me actually. Might even be a record.

More to come in the next few days as I finish up with writing the last bit of October!

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