Terii’s Cycling Babble

November – Out With a Whimper
November 30, 2016, 6:31 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Two rides. That’s it. That’s all I’ve managed since my last post on the 19th. I had such hopes for November when it started. Then the cold in the first week yanked that brutally short. Fact is, I’m still kinda fighting it. A bit of coughing fits, some inflamed sinuses. Annoying little things like that.

My next ride was on the 20th. All in all a miserable day. The forecast predicted that the skies would clear before midnight. Didn’t happen. It was still raining when I woke up around 5 am. With the cold still hanging on by tooth and nail, I didn’t want to go out in 34 F and rain.

Finally, a bit before 7 am, it slacked and then dwindled. I was dressed with the trike out of the storage and settling into the seat about 7:20 am, still about 40 minutes to sunrise. As the trike rolled the first 100 yards, I realized there was a clear patch of sky overhead that made a perfect window to the moon beyond. It was half full and beautiful to look at as trike and husky toodled along over wet pavement.

That patch of dusty pewter sky with the moon didn’t last long. More clouds scudded in through the predawn light. From the grass along the riverside path, a mist started to rise from the wet left there by the rain.

As we came along the 272, it was strange to see a lonely little patch of fog hanging over a field. As we crept along that stretch, it was actually kinda creepy. That patch of mist actually seemed to be oozing down the hill toward the road. Made me think of movies like ‘The Fog’ or ‘The Mist’.

The fuzzy one and I were both sluggish. Loke was barely doing 5 mph for much of the way and I was only too content to leave it that way. My cadence on the last ride had been comfortably into the 70’s.  This time, it was a challenge to keep it at 65. A 10-12 RPM drop just in a couple days. Oddly, I still felt okay strength wise while climbing hills, but on the flats, I might as well have been going through soft sand while in a 30 mph headwind.

With an appointment looming, it turned into a short ride. 3.8 miles. We were just too slow to make it any further.

The general feeling of malaise lingered so I didn’t ride again until the 23rd of November. It was hard. Even on the climbs, I felt weak. I couldn’t catch my breath. No energy. Still I pushed on determined to get a few miles while doing some Christmas shopping downtown. So very hard. I would have suffered less doing it with the car, but I was determined. At least Loke was feeling a bit perkier, so was some assistance.

I tried go out again the very next day. Loke and I managed a whopping… 30 yards. As we came across the lawn, the trike felt sluggish, as if there was a brake stuck and it wanted to pull left. I immediately knew what that meant. Flat.

Naturally, everything I needed to fix it was at the storage and dark was coming on. I just didn’t have it in me to deal with it or even just get the trike in the car to move it. Then Friday, I had to work some. Saturday, evening, I finally had the strength and energy to tackle the tire. I suppose I could have just taken to the cycle shop, but it felt a little silly doing so for a flat. I’ve changed plenty of flats. I hate it. It’s hard on me, especially since the stroke, so I broached it. Fortunately, I had a spare tube so patching the old one wasn’t absolutely necessary.

It took me almost 10 minutes just to work the tire off. I took it outside for the better light to check for anything that might have punctured through and caused the flat. I noticed there were little frayed marks on the interior surface right where there were studs on the outside of the tire. It made me suspicious.

I went back in to over-inflate the tire in search of the hole. I found it and stepped out to look at the tube. The leak was right in the center of an abraded spot on the rubber. All around the tire side surface of the tube were small abrasion marks at regular intervals in the identical pattern of the studs.

Replacing the tube in that circumstance wasn’t a good idea. I’d get a few rides in and be right back in the same pickle.

I left the trike as it was to return home to begin researching a solution. I suppose replacing the tire would have been one, but that meant ordering a new 20″ Marathon Winter tire as they’re not generally kept in stock here in Sweden.

I discovered that there is a tape-like tire liner, which I thought might be enough to get me through this winter and maybe next. No place in Sweden had it, but Jens ordered it for me from the States and recommended that I talk to the guys at the cycle shop. Also, someone on the recumbent FB group suggested electrical tape or even duck tape.

Unfortunately, they’re closed on Sundays. Open on Monday, but I worked all day. So it wasn’t until Tuesday, November 29th that I was able to get in touch with them. I actually went there a bit before 8 am. The owner Neil was in and I explained the problem. He’d never heard of tire tape. Rim tape, yes, tire, no. He agreed that either the electrical or duck tape might work.

Then he threw out a suggestion of his own, “Or you could use an old tube as a liner.” It was one of those moments when an answer so obvious hits you right between the eyes and you wonder why it didn’t do it sooner. Neil even pulled an old tube out of a discard pile for me to try it with. When he asked if it was just for the one tire or all of them, I grinned, “If the others need it done, I’ll bring it in. I’ve only got the strength for one tire at a time.” He said they’d be happy to.

I dashed back to the garage and set to work cutting the old rubber tube. That went quick as did getting it place between on the inside of the tire to protect the replacement tube from the studs.

From there it came to a standstill. I struggled for almost 20 minutes to get the tire on, but with that extra rubber taking up space on the inside, it was even harder. I broke a tire tool and finally my hands started to cramp so badly I couldn’t wrestle with it any more. I called the shop and Neil answered, telling me to bring it right on in.

Exactly what I did. Everyone was in, but Lotten was kept hopping with other customers while Neil and Bobby worked in the back. Neil called for me to bring the trike right on through and he’d attend to it right away. I watched while he tackled the tire. I felt a little less ridiculous when someone who does cycle work for a living had a bit of a struggle to get the tire back on with that rubber liner. Still, in less than 4 minutes, he finally settled it in. Then to be extra nice, he partially removed the right front tire to see if it was offering the same problem. Nope! The interior surface of that tire was perfect. Only the left one it seemed.

I asked what was the charge and Neil grinned with a ‘Merry Christmas!’. I thank him and said I’d have to bring in another batch of muffins as a thank you with extra for Christmas. Bobby’s face lit up, ‘Those were the best muffins I’ve had in like… EVER! Yes please!’

Always good to have one’s cooking appreciated. Hehe.

I didn’t get to ride with the fixed tire. Work was a few hours off. By the time I’d gotten dressed for the cold, got the trike back to the storage and reassembled, I’d have had to try going warp speed around the River Loop to get back home in time for getting ready for my half-shift. Given the way I’d felt on the previous 2 rides, it felt foolish.

So, today will be the first ride in a week.

Poor November. From such high hopes for the 11th month of the year at the end of October to a measly 8 rides (after I go ride today) for the entire 30 days. The best that can be said about this month between colds, work, weather, and work is 2016 did become the best year ever during it and I managed to get more than 50 miles at least.

I think Loke is feeling the lack of miles as well. He’s had a few stiff days as well as the return of his groaning when moving into a laying position or while stretching. Fingers crossed that December is better…

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