Terii’s Cycling Babble


December – In With a Whimper
December 8, 2016, 6:12 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Are we sensing a pattern here?

Though I’d planned to ride on the 30th of November, it didn’t happen. I can’t remember why exactly. It might have been that I was called in to work on short notice to help out with something. Work has been rather crazy lately.

It still turns out there were 8 rides in November. A quick look at my Garmin info found one that hadn’t been entered into my BikeJournal.com calendar.

I did, however, get out the door on December 1st. There was even extra motivation in the fact that Loke had eaten the last of his kibble for breakfast that morning. While he would have been thrilled getting a nice big serving of reindeer, I prefer to stretch it out as well as we can since it requires a drive to the Stockholm area to replenish.

Even that took a shift in planning when I was called in to work that morning. I went in from 10 am until 1 pm. Then it was a quick dash to the Naturkomaniet (all things outdoor and camping) to pick up the 400 g wool thermals I’d ordered.

Then, only then, was I able to scurry home and fling myself into cycling action. The first ride in a week.

Loke was actually yodeling and woofing at me as I pushed the trike to the top of the ramp in the gloom of sunset. As I ignored him to put the lights on the trike, he finally just gave a sigh and sat down to wait.

While the various apps and thermometers at home showed a temp of around 31 F, my Garmin’s display kept going down until it hit about 23 F. The cold was no difficulty. I was in the new heavy thermals and I also was sneaky enough to wear my ‘parka poncho’. Jens would probably throw a fit if he knew. Even though a poncho isn’t the most effective thing on a recumbent, I was snug. Actually, I bordered on too warm as I pedalled along.

The daylight disappeared quick, but the sheer amount of lights along the cycle paths was more than enough to see by.

Loke and I both went along through the deepening dark briskly. I was surprised at how strong… and good I felt. I couldn’t quite recall the last time a ride felt that way, though if I scrolled back through the posts here, I’m sure I could find out. The energy and power was still a surprise given how exhausted and weak I’d been over the past 4 days or so.

Even once I’d picked up the 17 lb bag of dog food, I was still able to maintain us at a good clip. I dropped the food off at the apartment and took the usual 2.33 meander back to the storage. With the sun gone for almost an hour by that point, the temp on the Garmin now showed at 17.8 F and I started to feel it. Even my feet were becoming unhappy. Fortunately, it was just a few minutes back to parking the trike by that time.

7 miles. Not too bad for a hurried dash and a short errand.

I rode again the very next day, December 2nd.

The plan for the morning had been to go out on a ride to Gamla Uppsala mounds. The forecast was for clear skies and I wanted to arrive there just as the sun rose and painted the tops of the mounds with that gorgeous red-gold light.

I just couldn’t get the energy. Just staying awake was a small victory. It was just as well. Since the forecast was wrong and the morning stayed shrouded in clouds, it would have been annoying to rush out for that.

Jens finally harassed me out the door a bit after 11 am. Off it was onto the River Loop hamster track… again. It’s only about the 130th time out of some 190 rides of the year.

The energy and strength I’d had the day before was no where to be found. Tired, aching, lethargic, and weak even with the trailer staying behind. Loke had some bounce, but it wasn’t enough to counter my sluggishness in terms of our general speed.

The temperature was quite a bit warmer than the day before, the Garmin displaying nothing colder than 27 F, though no warmer than 30 F. With the snuggly 400 g weight thermals, I was quite cozy. Enough so that my cap ended up back in the bags to let the icy air blow through the vents in my helmet and my hair to keep from getting overheated.

On the 1st, the river surface had just a hint of a thin skin of ice at the edges, clinging to the bits of reed and grass. On the 2nd, much of it was frozen from side to side with a few dark open patches in the snow dusted surface. Amazing how quick that much water can freeze across.

Wiped as I was, I didn’t have much ‘oomp’ to push for the extra 2 miles I’d normally add. The pain in my hip and even upper thigh did me no favors either. I can combat tedium or I can combat pain. The double whammy of both just makes me want to get home where I can stop hurting so much and find something more mentally engaging to do. We finished with a bit over 5 miles.

I didn’t ride on the 3rd. Can’t remember if it was just because I wanted a rest or for some other reason.

Sundays are a set work day for me. The shortest shift of the week which is perfect for my limitations. Since I hadn’t ridden on Friday and was going to be working a full shift until 7 pm on Monday, I had to get out before heading in to the shop at noon on Sunday, December 4th.

Like the previous ride, it felt hard. My legs seemed to have no strength and turning the pedals was a bit of a challenge. Unlike the previous two rides of the month, Loke seemed to share my physical state to some degree. Or perhaps he was just bored… so very bored.

Well, we set out on the River Loop hamster track again as it was all I really had time for. I probably should have started earlier, but that sleepiness wouldn’t leg go so we’d rolled out a bit after 8 am.

It was cloudy (what a surprise) and about 25 F. Not a breath of wind which was nice at those temps. Every now and again, a single, tiny flake of snow, like a miniature puff of down would drift into view. They were so infrequent though, it would have been silly to say it was actually snowing. But we’d clearly had gotten a bit more snow than those occasional flakes as the roads and paths were dusted with white and the river, now frozen completely, was a pale, smooth surface like a sheet of pristine paper.

Slow as I was and hard as it felt to keep going, I was smiling as we went. Along the river side, a soft flurry of snow began while at my back, the low sun found a chink in the clouds to set the bare limbs of the trees ablaze with its light. Sun and snow together.

Coming back to the last stretch toward the storage, I started to go slower and slower, finally realizing it wasn’t all me. One of my hydraulic brakes was locking up. Finally, it had clamped down so tight on the disc I couldn’t pedal any more. I poked at it some, but was really starting to feel the time pressure. Not to mention, I had no clue how to at least loosen the brake without letting all the fluid out to make it easier to get home. I didn’t want to leak the fluid, leaving a potentially sweet tasting patch of poisonous snow for an unsuspecting animal to consume either.

So… I pushed. 40+ lbs of trike with studded tires, one of them locked tight, getting shoved over the pavement for over half a mile. I thought about Jens coming to rescue me, but by the time he’d have walked to the car and driven to me while I disassembled the trike and loaded it up, I could already be back at the storage probably in less time.

It was so frustrating though. My hip hurt, my back started to ache. Time was running out and I worried about getting to work late. Loke was no help. He kept stopping to sniff things, pulling against the tether, but I really didn’t want to deal with him tangling up with the trike if I walked him with the leash either.

Then, the perfect thing happen in that perfect circle of hell. One of my laces on my boots came untucked and snagged on the lace hook of the opposite boot. Suddenly, I was windmilling frantically for balance while desperately mincing along in hobbled 6 inch steps to keep from face planting into the snow dusted asphalt.

By some not-so-minor miracle, this plump old woman did NOT dive face first into the ground. I didn’t even fall to my knees. Maybe it’s because my cursed Icebug boots have given me so much practice at hobbled stumbling of late. I’m starting to think they’re out to kill me. No matter how carefully the laces get tucked, they wind up getting loose and grabbing the other boot.

Frustration was bubbling as I yanked the lace loose. Then, grinding my teeth, I looked around. No one in sight and the path was flanked by high walls on both sides. I loosened my control and a strangled scream burst out of me as I started jumping up and down while shaking my fists. I let another long shriek go and stomped around some more. Then I noticed that Loke was bouncing on the end of his tether in time with my hops and stomps, looking for all the world as if he was enjoying whatever little game I’d just started.

My yelling turned into shocked laughter and I went over to hug the fuzzy one. I felt much better, both for his antics and having vented some of my frustrated fury. It would have been embarrassing if anyone had seen me. I’m sure someone might have heard it. Still, it was better to stomp and holler than to start kicking the trike. Kicking might have loosened the brake, but damaged who knows what else.

Then it was back to shoving the trike along.

I was exhausted when I got the trike parked and trudged back to the car. Just before we got to the car though, I heard this weird noise. I looked up and took a deep breath and sighed out a bit more of the lingering stress at the sight of a perfect ‘V’ formation of 9 swans heading south. They were streaming along only 20 feet or so over the tree tops, so I could see the orange of their beaks and even the black dots of their eyes as their heads bobbed with graceful stroke of feathered wings. Strange how so large and beautiful a bird sounds like a chihuahua’s stomped squeaky toy.

Monday, December 5th, I worked and it was a bad day. Let’s just leave it at that since it had little to do with cycling other than the fact I called to ask if the cycle shop could fit me in. Neil told me to bring the trike by the next day.

So, Tuesday, December 6th, I dragged around for a bit, trying to recover from the previous 2 crappy days. I got to the cycle shop around 8:30. Before I even got the trike into the shop, Lotten stepped out to check something on a bike parked beside the door. She asked what was up. It turned out Bobby and Neil both were gone all day to some sort of function. There was no one to work on the trike. This after I’d gotten it out of the back of the car.

Oh, and the wheel was kinda loose. I found it that way when I was removing the seat. As I wrestled with the bolts, the trike moved back and forth too easily for something that was supposed to have a stuck brake. It was still dragging some, but not gripping tight.

The next available time to get the brake looked at was today (Thursday, December 8th) as they were full booked on Wednesday, December 7th.

So… more days passing without rides putting December in a very sad position as far as number of rides and distance goes. I’m thinking about telling Jens I’m keeping the car tomorrow and taking off for fresher ground. Just to have a day to myself. I’ve felt as if, aside from an hour or two in the early mornings, I’ve had NO time to relax, unwind, just BE. It’s all scramble, scramble, scramble.. or thinking about what I need to be scrambling over.

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