Terii’s Cycling Babble

And There It Is…
November 19, 2016, 7:51 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

It finally happened.

The goal, that new and magical ‘best year ever’, dangled just out of reach as weather and a rather nasty cold had its hooks deep into me. Riding was put on hold along with most of everything else when there were days that the couch or bed had an iron grip I couldn’t fight. Like the last cold, I was coughing so much, long, and hard that every paroxysm once more felt like getting punched in the sides by a heavyweight boxer.

For 7 days, I languished. I managed to get into work on Sunday and Monday, but even the fact it was so slow, allowing me to just sit for most of the time, it was rough.

Infuriating too. Saturday, November 12th was an absolutely glorious 24 hours or so. The entire 7 hours of day light were utterly clear. It was a winter wonderland of loveliness with skies of an intense lapis blue above that 1 foot or so of snow we had. Even nearly turning myself inside out with the coughing, I toyed with the idea of going for at least a short little ride, but wisdom prevailed.

It was that evening which made it even harder. The skies stayed clear and the moon, while not at it’s official ‘super’ status, so very near full. I love snow and moonlight. I was about crazy with the desire to jump on the trike and head out for the countryside where the impact of the city’s lights is less. To go out where the world would have been etched in shades of deep blue and pewter, almost bright with the moon’s illumination reflecting back from the snow. I’ve wanted to do a moonlit snow ride since I first got my Trice Q in 2006 before I had to accept that winter rides were out of the question. Needless to say, getting the Sprint 26 which can handle the snow without risk of destroying the derailleur has only intensified that urge.

But no. Wisdom prevailed and I stayed in, nursing the cold. I hoped it would clear up enough I could go before the moon waned too much.

I should have been worried more about the snow disappearing. The very next day, Sunday, November 13th, that’s exactly what started happening. A warm wind came in as well as clouds with a misty drizzle. Over 2-3 days, that 1 foot of snow disappeared like an ice cube on a hot griddle. In barely 36 hours, the blanket had been reduced to less than a few inches. By 3 days, it was a few patchy clumps where it had piled or been piled. Just… gone.

Finally, on November 17th, I felt well enough to take a stab at paring down the last 11 miles at the very least. I didn’t want to overdo it so decided the full distance wasn’t a wise plan. Besides, Loke needed a bit of a stretch after a full week without a proper run and I had an appointment where he’d be left alone for several hours.

With the appointment looming, we left the apartment at about 6 am, which was more than an hour before sunrise. Much to my surprise, it was clear out after being cloudy for most of the week. There hadn’t been so much as the smallest glimpse of the super moon thanks to dense clouds determinedly hanging on.

So, a moon that was still nearly full as well as a sprinkling of stars winning against the city’s light pollution was unexpected. It put a spring in my step.

It was cold in those darkest moments before dawn. Colder than the 40 F my computer and the window’s thermometer declared it to be. For once, I’d managed to dress for what it really was rather than the much warmer report. As we rolled out, the gusting wind hardly touched me.

Loke had a bit of a spring in his step, but not as much as in end of October or even beginning of the month. Too much gobbling of stray pieces of discarded bread that I think is starting to trigger a bout of inflammation in his muscles and tendons of late even with his daily dose of medication against it. At least it seems to be holding to that rather than an outbreak of infection.

Not surprisingly, I felt a bit sluggish and weak. 7 full days without a single pedal turn as well as my lungs still holding some congestion. Even so, it felt good to be moving again. Rolling through a snowless landscape was a bit of a disappointment, but the moon still shone bright and strong even with the constant glare of the street lights along the paths as we headed out to do the River Loop with riverside extension. As the trike rolled along the windy tag-end of night, I kept smiling at that nearly full moon. Even with the lights, it was wonderfully bright across the fields. The gusts of wind got through the layers of wool a bit, the wind chill down to almost 29 F. At times, the roar of it through the trees was so intense it was like hearing the crash of storm waves on a beach from behind the protection of sand dunes.

We finished up back at the storage with a modest 5.31 miles, leaving roughly 6 miles to reach the 1,225 miles I had in mind for a goal to have ‘officially’ beaten 2008’s total. I intended to break it the very next day.

It almost looked as if it wasn’t going to happen when I stepped out the door to drive the hubby to the train station the morning of the 18th. The mostly clear skies had vanished over the course of the day on the 17th. Sometime during the night, it appeared they decided to bring rain with them. Sadly, not the fine misting drizzle that has been so common of late. This was rain. Perhaps one could call it a heavy sprinkle. The point was, it was that kind of rain that would soak right through my layers and keep running water through them in about 15 minutes. Combine that with me still being kinda sick… No, riding in it didn’t feel right.

It just occurred to me how silly it sounds that I was disappointed about it not being a fine misting drizzle. But then when the most common weather choices of late seem to be ‘fine misting drizzle I will ride in’ and ‘rain barely above freezing I won’t ride in’, it makes sense.

Those last 6 miles of the goal itched at me. I even paced around a bit, unable to settle into any other activity. It kept me looking out the window every 15 or 20 minutes. Turns out that was a good thing, because I spotted when it stopped raining shortly before noon. When it still wasn’t raining at noon, I flew into action.

Before 12:30 pm, Loke and I were in the car and hunting for parking near the storage. Found it easy and we rolled out even before it hit the half way mark between 12 and 1 pm.

I’d layered up pretty well, but for once my Garmin agreed with the weather apps and thermometers. It was between 40 and 42 F. Not so much as a breath of wind except for what the trike made while the wheels hissed on wet pavement. I didn’t even bother pulling out gloves.

The plan was to head out along the river side extension, then follow the various paths back toward the city. I’d take a little detour to stop at the groomer to schedule an appointment for Loke, then come back to the hamster-track paths to toodle along back by the hospital and through the heart of downtown and then back home. That route would comfortably put me over the minimum 6 miles I wanted.

Didn’t really turn out that way. Before we’d been out for 15 minutes, my fairing started getting speckles of water. I swapped out my knit cap for a water proof one and debated what I wanted to do about the shift in weather. I decided to sort of wait it out. As long as I was close enough to the storage to dart back if the rain came back more than sprinkles that dampened only my outer most layer, I’d keep on. So, across the bridge and we made the turn to follow the river north.

The mile that gave me 1,220 miles for the year. That matches 2008.

The mile that gave me 1,220 miles for the year. That matches 2008.

Even though my official goal to beat 2008 was 1,225 miles, I still smiled when the Garmin ticked onto the first full mile of the ride. That single mile put me at roughly the 1,220 mark which roughly matched 2008’s distance.

Smiling to myself, even humming, we rolled on through the heavy drizzle.

A little further down the river, I spotted a police car parked on one of paths that intersected the one I was on. It made me edgy. Not because I have any particular fear of police officers, but because the few times I’ve crossed paths with cops along there, they’ve been canine forces. I really didn’t want to catch a loose police dog by surprise.

About 100 yards further down, I found them. The police woman was apparently working with her four legged partner, a Belgian Malinois. He was sitting on a picnic table, sphinx-like. His attention, fortunately was almost exclusively focused on her where she stood about 30-40 feet away. He only gave us a couple passing glances and then ignored us.

We made it to where the path ends at a dirt road and turned back. The police pair were walking back to the car by then.

The rain still hadn’t intensified during the time of the out-in-back by the river. I decided to push on a bit more toward the groomer. Though the fairing was well speckled by that point, my outer layers were barely damp.

We weren’t making great time. Except for feeling a bit stronger on climbs, I felt pretty weak. It felt strange pushing up climbs better than I’ve done in the past 5 rides or more, but struggling for decent speed on flats. Loke was rather lackluster too. I think he was feeling stiff and uncomfortable in his muscles, more so than on the previous day. He didn’t limp or anything, but just didn’t seem to be as free in his movements.

Made it to the groomer without a soaking and I went in to make the appointment. The woman is a very cheery soul. One could even say ‘sunny’ which was a nice boost to interact with after riding through such a gray day. Honestly, it didn’t even feel like the sun had made it over the horizon with the density of the clouds leaving everything in a murk bordering on twilight.

As I finished with that task, the phone rang. It was Jens letting me know he was going to be on the 2:11 train. I told him I wasn’t sure how on time I’d be coming to get him as I was out riding. He said it was no problem. He could do work e-mails in a coffee shop or something.

It was still holding to the same drizzle as I rolled out. A quick look at the distance and considering how far it was back to storage led me to the conclusion it would give me the distance I needed without leaving Jens at the train station longer than necessary. So, I could just head right back.

Mile 6! 1,225 miles for 2016! The new best year ever!

Mile 6! 1,225 miles for 2016! The new best year ever!

Loke sighed at me when I stopped near the intersection at the police station. I think he was a little tired of the damp getting on his fur so the delay for me to photograph the magical 6th mile was an annoyance.

From there it was just another mile back to the storage and Loke even stretched himself for it a bit. Probably the fastest mile of the whole ride.

Admittedly, my glow of accomplishment wound up a tarnished when I discovered something very wrong with my Garmin’s maps. It looked like the lovely OpenCycleMap format had been replaced with something else. For the whole of Uppsala, it was showing just 2 roads (the largest) and two rail lines. It was almost Google Map like only worse.

Since there’d been a recent update to the Garmin, I was seriously worried. I loved the OCM maps with all the detail and how they show the cycle paths and even foot paths as well as the streets. If it’s been replaced with something inferior, I’d be upset. If I was stuck with something as completely useless as what it was displaying, it would make the Edge 1000 as so much junk. Mapping that pathetic, I might as well go back to the mapless Garmin Forerunner watch I had first.

After a bit of research, done right on the cycle path by the police station, seemed to indicate it’s a bug, the polish brightened a bit on my accomplishment again.

We finished up with 7.03 miles on the ride. 1,226 miles for 2016 with still the rest of November and all of December to go. Miles to add that will need to be beaten next year, in hopes of making 2017 the new ‘Best Year Ever’ for riding.

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