Terii’s Cycling Babble


Fading of Glorious Autumn – 2
November 2, 2016, 8:55 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

So, to pick up where I left off –

The 23rd and 24th of October (Sunday and Monday), I didn’t ride.

On Sunday, there was very little guilt about not doing so because out of 7 days, I’d rolled on 6 of them. Combined with that, 35 F and rain, just quashed any potential for motivation to pedal through the drizzle and sprinkle and a helping of wind.

Monday, October 24th was more complicated. The weather was foul, but not quite as bad as the previous day. It was a tiny bit warmer, but with work starting at 10 am and Jens to shuttle to the train station at an inconvenient hour combined with the need to get ready… yeah, wasn’t happening. No way I was going to get up at 3 am to juggle it all. If I wake naturally at 4 am, I’ll go ride, but no way I’m setting an alarm for earlier than that.

The weather didn’t really improve on the 25th, but avoiding ‘3 full days without rolling’ was high on my list. At least it being a day off meant I could curl up under warm blankets with hot tea after a hot shower. So, out Loke and I went into the murk.

Jens dropped us off at the storage. It was murky, gray and wet. With temps in the 30’s and the rain, I took the time to put the fairing on while Loke sighed at me.

Murk, murk, and more murk...

Murk, murk, and more murk…

The sponge-ball pulled us into a brisk cruise of 13 mph as drizzle splattered the screen and gave the tires on pavement that distinctive sound as only water-logged asphalt can. I sort of hunched down as we rolled along the starting streets, the piles of fallen leaves mounded at the curb edges making a squishy sound as Loke’s paws pounded down in them. 33.2 F according to my Garmin, but at least I wasn’t going to be sitting at work chilled after the ride.

Looking a bit threadbare.

Looking a bit threadbare.

Sadly, the trees were starting to look a bit tattered. The weight of the water clinging to the leaves helps gravity tug them off the limbs. Combined with a touch of wind and down they go. Some the trees were defying it all and keeping a good cover of their autumn glory.

I stuck to the River Loop again. The rain and chill would have been much worse out in the countryside where the wind holds greater sway. 5 degrees colder and snow, there would have been no stopping me since snow is easier to keep warm in than rain. Another layer or two and off down the roads across the fields Loke and I would have gone.

The rain and dense gray filter of clouds blocking the sun washed the world out into dreary hues. Without the bright colors of leaves, it’s one of the times of year I like least. Everything turns into colors of mud and gray.

Still, we did about 5 miles, feet snuggly warm and cramp free. We rushed home to dry off and chow down on breakfast after the exercise whet our appetites. Fortunately, though the rain was enough to get me damp, it didn’t get past the top layer as I had to go out again to get the trike back to the garage.

Wednesday, October 26th, out the door for a ride again. The original plan had been I have the car, but at the last minute, Jens decided to take it since he had to leave fairly early.

As a matter of fact, it was a bit before sunrise (around 6:30 am) when he dropped us off at the storage. The sky and inky black above us as I started down the ramp, the car pulling away. I happened to look up and blinked in surprise.

The moon? Not clouds, but the moon!

The moon? Not clouds, but the moon!

There in the sky beyond the faces of the surrounding apartment buildings was the thin sliver of the moon. It seemed for the first time since the one beautiful morning of sun, the sky had somewhat cleared.

I was a little disappointed that my phone made the crescent look a bit fat and weird, but there it was. The moon.

Loke was fairly ‘meh’ about things it seemed. He waited patiently while I readied everything. I appreciated at that, preferring not to have people awaken so early by a yodeling husky. Still, once all was ready, he moved out at a brisk but still sedate jog as I made the turns onto the streets to head for the overpass to take us onto the cycle paths.

Down by the river side.

Down by the river side.

The Grave Mound loop crossed my mind, but the still wet grass and pavement made a convincing argument against it. The paths out there are gravel in some places which can get mushy after a lot of rain or snow-melt. In other stretches it’s a kind of packed dirt/clay mix that can get just as mushy as the gravel with an extra helping of slippery on the steep little climbs involved. I may be wearing sturdy boots instead of clunky cycle shoes for riding at this time, but that doesn’t mean I particularly want to get up and push the trike over hills.

Moon at zenith above a sunrise.

Moon at zenith above a sunrise.

It was the coldest morning we’ve had in a while. Almost downright seasonable if you can believe it, rather than ‘unseasonably warm’. I kept expecting to see frost and find icy patches on the pavement. Instead, it was just wet. Lots and lots of wet.

Frost and frozen rain/dew drops.

Frost and frozen rain/dew drops.

By the time I reached the river, my Garmin’s temp display showed 32.4 F. The faint hints of coming daylight were strengthening, creating silhouettes of clouds on the horizons, but hints of clear skies above. The path along the river bank finally showed me the frost I was looking for. It gave the grass and weeds a faint, ghostly look where the the pools of light fell. The wet leaves had a distinctive crunch where they’d frozen. The shallowest puddles on the path had the spiky looking skins of hair thin ice on their surface where the path lights reflected.

Rising mist

Rising mist

The temperature dropped below 30 F for a time and a mist started to rise from the grass, coming no higher than my head on the trike.

I made it to the end of the path and turned back to rejoin the loop to the apartment. The coming sun brightened the mist a little more and it came up a little higher. Across the river, it was starting to look like proper patches of fog.

When we arrived back at the apartment, I was remarkably free of anything that felt like a chill or a foot cramp. It almost appeared that my feet really were adjusting to SPD-less riding and I’d managed to get perfectly dressed for the temperatures we had. Of course, the fact that there was nary a breath of wind helped immensely.

Jens didn’t get home until fairly late and during the day, I started to feel pretty sick really. So, the trike stayed here rather than going back to the storage.

Thursday, October 27th, I didn’t feel any better. Actually, it became worse. Bad enough I considered going to the hospital for a significant part of the day. The only reason I didn’t go was that the last 2 times I’ve gone, they kept me for 3 days and ignored me for 2.5 of those days. Just left me completely alone except to bring food while the beds crippled me. I came out of there feeling worse than when I went in. I could have keeled over and no one would have known until a nurse came to make sure I’d taken my medication the next morning. If I’m going to be left that much alone, then SEND ME HOME to languish in comfort at least. Took me a week each time to get my back back to a point I could walk without pain.

So, I just waited it out. When Jens came back home that evening, I did take the time to get the trike back to the storage though. He asked about it and I miserably pulled myself off the couch. Without changing out of the comfy, sloppy clothes I’d been laying around in, I shoved my feet in my crappy pink sneakers, put the harness on Loke and grabbed my handlebar bag. It was warm enough, almost Swedish summer

It wasn’t anything fancy. I flopped into the trike, struggled my feet under the Restraps and pushed. A whopping 0.54 mile. Or was it 0.51 mile? Well, either way, a silly short distance that couldn’t truly be counted as a ride. Even that short distance reminded me why I don’t wear normal clothes for rides though. A couple spots started to chafe and would have done so if I’d gone any further.

But the trike was secure and out of our way.

Friday, October 28th, I felt better and bounced out of bed in anticipation of the lovely day the forecast had promised.

Within moments, I discovered it was a lie. It was chill and the traffic on the street outside had the wet pavement sound. Looking out the window showed gray skies and rain. That left me in quite a funk. Then someone from work called, desperate to have me come in for the day. I refused at first, but I wound up going on for the last half of the day because it was a family emergency for them.

Naturally, the sky cleared and spent the last few hours of daylight staring at small slivers of blue sky between the buildings outside the shop’s windows.

Saturday, October 29th turned out glorious! Everything that had been promised for Friday. Frustratingly, I had errands that needed done or I’d have flung the trike in the car and taken off for fresher ground for an all day ride.

Still, I was determined to make something of the day. About noon, after the errands were done, I dressed for a ride and out the door with Loke. It was important he get a run because the hubby and I were to see a movie that evening.

I decided that the Vaksala loop was calling. It’s been months since I last rolled that way. Between the storage and the Grave Mounds, it’s the paths and such as if I’m doing just the Grave Mound Loop. Just instead of turning left, I continue straight on the cycle path beside the road where the train tunnel has been built.

I wasn’t feeling the most frisky physically. Hardly surprising since I’d been so unwell the day before. Still with the sunshine and pretty day, my mood was bright and Loke was helping me along with his own brand of enthusiasm.

My plans for a 10 or so mile outing ended up derailed when my chain suddenly jumped off the rear cogs as I climbed a very steep, but brief slope. I was caught in the middle of it, no way to pedal up and not daring to let the trike roll back down. That’s where a good parking brake is worth it’s weight in gold.

It clamped the rear wheel good and tight so I could wrestle myself up. The angle of the trike on the slope and the fairing made it a bit of a challenge. Just as I rocked to my feet, a guy who had passed me stopped to ask if I needed help. I was touched, but told him I was fine, but thank you.

It took a few minutes for me to get the chain back on the cogs from where it had wedged itself against the spokes.

Since I wasn’t sure why it did the jump, I was wary about going on out to Vaksala. Since the trike has shifted flawlessly since, I think it’s just a case of bad timing on the shifting that made the chain jerk and wobble right off the gear teeth. Rather than risking getting caught out in the country, I made the turn to just make the ride into a Grave Mound loop. It netted us 6.14 miles.

Sunday, October 30th, the day was as even prettier as the one before, and a tiny bit warmer. I decided to ride, but rather than bolting out the door at 6 am to avoid feeling the least bit rushed before readying for work, I lingered.

What a morning!

What a morning!

8 am, out we went. I’m so glad I did it then and not earlier even if I felt a bit rushed.

If I’d gone out at 6 am, I might have had more time to get more miles, but I doubt I would have ridden further than the 6.5-ish miles I did. Going out that early though would have meant missing the opportunity to ride in the sunshine as I’d probably have finished the ride before the sun really had a chance to get up.

I felt pretty good and Loke moved like a well tune machine. Given how much bread he’s managed to find that people have been scattering around in random places of late, that is good to see. I keep waiting for it to catch up with him and set his body off into a bad flare up of inflammation and skin infections. So far, so good though.

Pretty skies and sun make up for the vanishing autumn leaves

Pretty skies and sun make up for the vanishing autumn leaves

Some gold remains!

Some gold remains!

Time being short as it was, I stuck to the River Loop, but enjoyed the gorgeous weather. The recent winds and abundance of rain had hurried the leaf fall along. Many of the trees are splaying their bare branches against the sky with a few here and there still keeping their showy cladding. The golden quality of the light at this time of year is breathtaking, when it manages to emerge from behind clouds.

More miles would have been nice as I lacked just 10 miles to break last year’s distance by a little bit. Riding the entire time in the sun was a more than fair trade though.

I went to work with a cheery smile.

There had been part of me that had longed to break last year’s distance before the end of October, but with a full day of work awaiting me on Monday, I had to give up that plan.

Jens had just picked me up from work and made a quick stop to run into a shop for food when my phone rang. It was someone from work who called to ask if I could work Thursday instead of Monday. Suddenly the goal of breaking last years distance by October 31st plopped right back into the realm of possibility.

As additional motivation, I even had an errand to run downtown!

Another pretty day!

Another pretty day!

So, Jens dropped me off at the storage before running to work. Loke waited patiently as I hitched the trailer to the trike before we rolled out.

Loke’s indiscretions appeared to have caught up with him and inflamed his muscles and ligaments. He was moving a bit slower than he’s done in the past week or two. Even a few times there was a bit of a limp and obvious stiffness in his stride.

Actually, I wasn’t much better. My hip has been giving me complete fits off and on. No clue what’s up with it. Generally, I’ve been okay once I manage to get the foot on the pedal, but on Monday, October 31st, it made it uncomfortable to turn the cranks. It definitely felt the additional weight of trailer and 10 liters of water.  Determined, stubborn, or both, I pushed on.

Such a pair we were.

The rinks have been open for weeks now! Never mind above freezing temps and rain.

The rinks have been open for weeks now! Never mind above freezing temps and rain.

I wanted to be at the camping/outdoor shop right at opening, so kept a close eye on our speed in regard to distance remaining as well as the distance I wanted to make. I added occasional little extra zigs and zags to the route.

One of those was to go by the outdoor rinks of the bandy court and public skating. In spite of the rain and day where we had almost summer temps, the rinks are in use, ice and piles of plow debris from conditioning the surfaces.

When we came up to the pedestrian/cycle drawbridge, I took off through the lovely little riverside park instead of crossing it right away. Rolling at walking speed since the paths are designated for pedestrians, I enjoyed the lingering autumn leaves and occasional pop of color from autumn blooms.

That took another roughly 10 minutes and we arrived at the shop with only 5 minutes to wait. I dashed in and grabbed the new coat I wanted which happened to be the only other one in my size and we pushed on. I also stopped at the shop to pick up a few items I’d left there the day before when I thought I’d be working the next day.

Uppsala Castle

Uppsala Castle

Autumn colors and sunshine. What a combination.

Autumn colors and sunshine. What a combination.

Original expectations of the day had been to head out toward Vaksala church and Granby Mall once finishing downtown. The body had other plans. I was ravenously hungry, which doesn’t usually happen during rides, and my hip was increasingly uncomfortable. All I could think about was getting home and putting a hot pack on the pain and something to eat. The order of which was in contention.

It appeared the morning’s outing was going to have more than 9.5 miles when I got back home. Fingers were crossed that it would be enough to officially make 2016 my second best year ever.

I wasn’t confident though and decided to add the short distance between the grocery store and apartment before I parked the trike until my husband came back from work.

I’m glad I did, or I’d not have crossed paths with the couple who owned a gorgeous husky girl. She had one blue and one brown eye. Unlike so many huskies with dark black body markings and masks, she was like Loke. All gray and white, though her body marks were softer edged, like carefully blended chalk pastels as well as being symmetrical. Her owners commented about how much they loved Loke’s random splotches.

Honestly, she looked like she could have been one of Loke’s sisters. Or at least a 1st cousin. Enough so that I asked where she’d been born. Further north than Loke, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t related.

She was 6 years old and just as fit looking and hyper as Loke was at that age. It made me happy to see that given the last time I met a 6 year old husky, he was practically crippled with arthritis, overweight, and far too old for his age.

When we moved out, she so badly wanted to come with us.

My Garmin displayed 9.83 miles when I got home.

After taking some pain meds, inhaling a chicken salad, and heating the buckwheat bag to put on my hip, I sat down to add everything up.

2015 miles – 1,185.42

2016 miles? 1,185.40

I couldn’t believe it. Even after trying to add the little wiggles as well as the short dash past the apartment to the grocery store, I was 0.02 mile short. Seriously. What are the odds of winding up with so little between distances under such random circumstances?

I laughed and laughed. I wasn’t heart broken by it since I was still going to be getting trike back to the storage. Even if I took the most direct half mile dash, it would be enough that 2016 would be the new second best. 2.33 miles of my usual route back would give me 2.31 miles over that distance.

And that’s just what happened. In the gathering gloom of sunset, Loke and I set off for the storage when Jens called to say he was coming home. It always amazes me how quickly the days get short at this time of the year. 4 pm and I needed lights.

The end of October 31st saw me with 1,187.73 miles in 2016.

You know what that means, right? That means for November and December, it’s all toward the goal of breaking the mileage of 2008. Finally, the chance to make another year into the best ever since I first bought my trike in 2006. I need just a bit over 35 miles to match it. 37 miles will let me declare that I have more miles than I did in 2008.

It feels surreal, but it’s gonna happen.

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