Terii’s Cycling Babble


January Can’t Make Up Its Mind…
January 20, 2017, 10:52 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

So, on January 1st I hit the ground running with that lovely, frosty ride.

After that, things did a nose dive. The 2nd and 3rd of the month, I didn’t ride because of work naturally.

On Sunday (Jan 2nd), while at work, I planned out my goals for the month. I need/want more miles in this January than I had last if aiming to make 2017 the new ‘Best Ever Distance Year’, obviously. At 87.98 miles for January 2016, I decided to aim for the nice round figure of 100 miles. Breaking the month of January into four 7-day blocks, I would need 25 miles per block.

I knew, with the weather and how slow I’ve been of late, not to mention the parade of colds, it could be a tight schedule, but at least I have the 3 ‘extra’ days that don’t fit into the nice, neat 7-day blocks which I could use for make up or just 1 or 2 (dare I even think 3?) extra rides for the cherry on top.

The 4th, out I went, sticking to schedule as it were!

I can’t remember why nor did I mention the ride on Facebook as a reminder, but the ride was only 2.12 miles, a bit shorter than my usual dash from the apartment back to the storage. The ride did that, but mostly, it was just doubling around. I did a very short out and back past the mosque as if I’d meant to go toward the grave mounds, but changed my mind. I guess I must have felt really weak or perhaps there was so much snow to push through. Something that just slowed or bothered me too much to be endured.

Almost up to the axles on my 20" front wheels.

Almost up to the axles on my 20″ front wheels.

After that pitiful ride, there were no additional rides for that first 7-day block of the month. A bitter disappointment, but we had insane amounts of snow fall and then days where the highs were in the single digits. Low 20’s or perhaps even into the high teens I’ve adapted to, but single digits?! Not yet. Maybe one day. On one of the warmer (temps in the teens), Jens tried to talk me out for a ride, but I said I wanted to wait. He persisted, asking what waiting another day was going to get me. I pointed out that riding on a plowed road was much easier than trying to pedal the trike through 5 or more inches of untouched snow. I wanted at least the streets plowed.

The reason the city was so laggardly about plowing was mostly because of 12th Night holiday that Sweden observes in its secular fashion.

Of course, once they did plow, the temp dropped.

The first week of January finished with a whopping (sarcasm) 11.18 miles.

Then Sunday (Jan 8th), the temp crept back up until barely freezing and I watched as it sorta snowed through the windows of the shop at work. Monday (Jan 9th), was more of the same, except the temps did a huge jump into the 40’s and it was mostly a drizzling rain in place of the snow. It triggered a major flash thaw that turned the streets into rivers and lakes.

I woke at 5:30 am on January 10th. The thermometer showed above freezing (34 F) and the forecast said it would be cloudy, but warm for Sweden in January and dry.

I pulled on layers for what I thought would be good enough for for mid-20’s to account for any windchill. Loke bounced around as I made sure I had my phone and Garmin, plus everything else in my handlebar bag.

We stepped out the door and I immediately stopped to hang my head with a sigh. The forecast was wrong again. Rain. I stood there a moment, evaluating, before deciding the precipitation was light enough that it wouldn’t do more than dampen my outer layers in the hour or so I’d be out. Determinedly, I marched to the car.

Loke was thrilled to be out after 6 days of having nothing but walkies. The first half mile stretch of road was slush, but the furball’s sheer exuberance pulled us into a brisk 9 mph as he ran happily through the pools of light of the lamps in an otherwise, inky dark morning.

The cycle paths were wonderfully clear and so were most of the other roads of my River Loop hamster track. One of them was hard frozen enough it could have been used for a crude skating rink, but offered plenty of grip for husky paws and studded tires. Once, the Garmin displayed 28 F, but mostly it hung at about 29.7. The rain got lighter if anything so I never felt any chill from that at least.

As for me, I felt pretty strong at the start of the ride, which was a nice change from weak and sluggish of many of the last few rides. My stamina petered out rather quickly, but given how few rides I’ve had since the beginning of November, that’s hardly surprising. Gives me hope though.

It was annoying that I didn’t have time to ride more than I had, but the car had to get back to Jens for him to go to work.

Another annoyance pricked at me through the duration of the ride. My little fairing started to list over to the left. A few times during the ride, I had to kick my left foot out of the straps to push it back to the right. I was baffled, because I was absolutely certain, it had been wrenched it down good and tight when remounted. I would have tightened it as soon as I noticed it moving, but had left the tool at home.

Slow as I was and with the fairing slouching over bit by bit with every bump, I had plenty of time to ponder the problem.

One explanation of course was that I’d not tightened it down as much as I thought. Another though, was when I’d removed the fairing the last time, the powder coating paint of the bar that gets clamped by the removable part of the fairing mount just flaked off in one piece. Maybe the unpainted metal of the inside of the fairing’s bar with the uncoated metal of the part on the trike offered too little friction to keep it from moving.

Wobbly fairing, rain and general slow speed, we got through the ride and all before there was even a hint of dawn in the sky.

Then Loke and I were off to his vet appointment. He’s been stiff so much of late, as well as needing a renewal on his prescription of anti-inflammatory medication.

The vet said he’s mostly stiff and uncomfortable in his feet and ankles, so just a continuation of what the podiatrist he saw last year commented on. She did have a recommendation about a treatment though. A series of injections over 4 weeks with boosters to be given every 3 to 6 months that supposedly would help lubricate the joints. She said there’s been good results. I said I’d think about it.

As for the spot on the nose, she said it just looked like a little abrasion. Nothing lumpy or particularly threatening about it. Still, she took my word about its persistence as well as the fact Loke doesn’t seem to be rubbing at it. She recommended I see a dermatologist about it.

I told her I’d arrange it since we have a dermatologist as it were.

Turns out, no we don’t. I called the wonderful woman who helped us stem the flood of infections Loke used to have and get him stable, only to find she’s no longer at the Stockholm clinic. She moved to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Since the clinic there still seems to have the best collection of animal dermatologists, I booked a time with one of the others. The earliest they had was January 26th. The receptionist told me to keep an eye on the spot and if it starts looking dramatically different, she’d fit us in with the one GP vet that works there to at least start tests for cancer.

Later in the day, one of my bosses/co-workers called to ask what other days of the week I was scheduled. Gave me a pang of frustration as I can’t really afford to keep harassing my husband’s family with my job, not to mention Loke needs more than walkies. I’d say, he does best with a minimum of 3 outings with the trike a week. Less than that and he starts getting bored and annoying. More is better when I can swing it.

I answered that no further shifts been scheduled so they asked for Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday, I had laundry scheduled and it was desperately needed, but I unbent enough to say I could work 2 to close on Wednesday. That would still give me a chance to run Loke with the trike in the morning, he could be left alone for the 5 hours I worked without anyone else needed to come walk him, and since I had the car, I could drive myself.

When I originally started working at the shop, Charles had put it forth that I work just 1 day a week, Sundays with emergency shifts when needed. Sunday is the shortest shift with the store open just from Noon to 5 pm. He knows about my stroke and respects whatever physical limitations I might have, yet would give him and his wife time with the family.

I felt a bit rough for the first couple weeks, but hung in and actually improved. Charles would call and ask if I could fill in other days. I soon built up better stamina though so offered them another day a week. I picked Monday. It’s a day that seems to be easiest on my husband’s parents to come walk Loke around 2 pm when Jens and I are at work. Having it as a set day, means they always know it’s on Monday and don’t have to continually scramble their schedule around my job.

Now, it another partner seems more in charge of the Uppsala store and if there’s an expectation for me to work more days of the week when it’s not an emergency, it could get complicated. I can’t and won’t further burden other people with my job. It’s not fair to them and losing outings with the trike isn’t fair to Loke or to me. My weight has already gone up. I’ll admit that could be mostly down to colds, weather, and other such cutting my rides short, but still, losing those two potential days to ride can’t help.

So, when I went out for a ride on Wednesday, Jan 11th, I felt stressed. Before my co-worker’s call, The plan had been to tackle a nice 15 mile ride on Wednesday. Instead, I had to keep an eye on time to be sure I had time to get ready for work. Time, time, time. Two rides and both of them dictated by restrictions of forces other than my own strengths and the weather.

Still, with work only starting at 2 pm and being awake so early, I thought about at least tackling my 10 mile Vaksala Church loop to give Loke more exercise as well as try to make up the miles I lacked in the first week of the year. While dressing and lookout out at a world entirely devoid of sunlight, I decided to wait for dawn. The previous day’s ride had been undertaken completely in artificial light sources. Might have been a nice change to do it daylight even if it was a gray sky.

So, about 9 am we were at the storage. I had remembered the tool and tried tightening the clamp on the fairing, but even when I’d wrenched it until it wouldn’t budge, the fairing still wanted to wobble. Electrical tape to the rescue!

The later start meant I had to forego the 10 mile ride so, River Loop again.

The ride was much like the previous day’s. Slush at the start, mostly clear cycle paths, but in murky gray daylight instead of dark. Oh, and wind. The. Wind. Any time I was riding near clusters of trees, they rocked and swayed with creaking limbs as the torrent of air in the branches sounded like rapids of a river. Little bits of twig and even thin branches were scattering about. It made the ride even harder as it seemed no matter which way I rode, the wind was in my face.

My Garmin said it was about 34 F even with windchill. Generally at that temp, my feet would have been happily snug in their boots with cushy wool socks and the fairing, but that wind found ways around the fairing and stripped away any bit of warmth. By about mile 3, my left toe actually became uncomfortable, bordering on painful from the cold. Naturally, my footwarmers’ batteries had decided they didn’t have a charge in spite of spending most of the night plugged in. At least the rest of me was perfectly dressed even against such blustering air.

Because of the cold toes, I skipped the extra 2 miles I had planned to add before starting the ‘get ready for work’ scramble. 4.5+ miles. Once we were back home, Loke’s spent the entire time following me around and staring at me pitifully. I think he knew he was going to be all by himself for a time. Or maybe he’s was trying to tell me he wanted more than a pitiful, shortened River Loop.

Thursday, Jan 12th, was laundry day. In the hopes of getting an early start on the wash, there was no ride.

Friday, the 13th. The first one of only two we’ll have this year. What a muck up it turned into.

After the first two rides of the week being such stressful, time constrained things, I’d fully planned to to just head out and go for a ride WHEN I wanted, HOW I wanted, and for as LONG as I wanted. The only time issues I’d allow for it would be sunset and how long I could endure the cold.

Though I wasn’t entirely convinced it was true, the forecast was excellent. 35 F, not supposed to be much in the way of wind, and at least partly sunny.

Normally, I don’t hold much stock in the Friday the 13th thing, but UGH! It seemed to be in high form on that day.

It started out well enough. Waking early, I plotted a tentative route out through the countryside with my hubby’s offer to come get Loke and I at the end of it, rather than worrying about a loop. Though the ground wouldn’t entirely be new, after about 4-5 miles, it would at least not be ‘Hamster Track’ ground. I had the way mapped in good time… and everything fell apart when I started trying to print the maps.

First, I couldn’t copy the screen view of my monitor and get it to paste into Photoshop. Finally, I had to bully the hubby out of bed to figure out what was wrong with it after beating my head against that for almost an hour. Then, Plotaroute.com wasn’t printing its maps like it should either. That ate up almost another hour. Then I started to get dressed and discovered I couldn’t find my camera which was another 20 minutes or more tearing around the apartment in desperate searching. Finally I remembered I’d left it at the storage.

After all that silliness, it was coming up on 11 am, less than 4 hours of day light left. Probably would have had to pack up and go home about the time I got off the Hamster Track and into more interesting ground. Just wasn’t worth it.

The hubby grumbled when I said I’d do just another river loop, but out Loke and I went.

Waiting for warmer times.

Waiting for warmer times.

The fuzzy was thrilled and enthusiastic. Pulled like mad for that first half mile and happily charged down the long hill toward the river after going across the overpass. There was a bit of sun and blue skies as we followed the cycle path beside the Fyris River north of Uppsala, Sweden. Clouds were coming though, in interesting bands across the north eastern horizon.

We were on the return half of the loop when Mother Nature started calling. Actually, she kinda skipped calling and went right down into screaming. Fortunately, by the dog yard at the beginning of the Grave Mound path is an outhouse. The 150 yards/meters between the outhouse and the intersection was rock hard, slick ice. For the first 100 yards or so, I’d guess I pedalled the equivalent of 200 yards with so much tire slipping.

34 F ambient temps aren’t ideal for an uninsulated outhouse where one can see day light between the floor boards, but any port in a storm.

Wistful about the other dogs.

Wistful about the other dogs.

When I stepped back out, Loke was staring mournfully past me at the dog yard where fellow canines ran and played. Unfortunately, since Loke doesn’t play well with other dogs, we moved on.

Yeehaw. A bumpy ride down.

Yeehaw. A bumpy, slippy ride down.

Silly me, we should have just skidded back the way we came. For some reason the ice armored path up a hill called to me. I should have let the previous 150 yards of path be a warning. At first it wasn’t too bad. Lots of tire slipping, but still we inched forward. Finally I found there was enough room to the far edge of the path where I could put the rear wheel for more traction and still give Loke enough space to walk. Then it was all ice across as we slid in a rattling glide down the hill we climbed. The next hill was just a little bump and yet I absolutely got _NOT_ get any traction. The ice was laughing at me and thumbing its figurative nose at my studded tires.

Finally, I had to give up. The last 200 yards of that portion of path, I got up, turned the trike around, and started dragging it. Loke was NO help. He kept pulling off in random directions for sniffing, dragging the trike. Finally, I was stuck walking in the crunchy snow beside the path with the rear wheel in one hand and Loke’s collar in the other just to be able to make any progress.. He kept shooting me reproachful looks.

Finally under a bit old oak, was a big patch of bare gravel of the path where it intersected another. I plopped the trike down, turned it and then sat down to continue. The rest of the way off that end of the burial ground path was flat, so even though the tire spun, I didn’t have to walk the trike.

Every now and again, I need that little reminder that ice on unpaved paths and roads is in a whole different class than anything on paved surfaces.

That wasn't enough! Again!!

That wasn’t enough! Again!!

We made it back with 7.19 miles and a bit of minor adventure on ice. As I finished the ride, it occurred to me that after all the aggravation of trying to plot things earlier, it was Friday the 13th. Guess that might explain some things, though at least it mostly stopped that silliness once I was on the trike. Unless one counts the ice, but that was completely self-inflicted rather than Friday the 13th style happenstance.

Loke was an immediate pest once we were back home. It seemed that 7+ miles was barely more than a stroll around the block though I certainly felt all that hard work in my legs. Not only was the furball giving me a bit of a hard time, but so was Jens. Mostly on my husband’s part it was because when Loke wasn’t harassing me with woofs and pitiful looks, he was attempting to bully Jens. So, the generally wonderful man in my life kept asking me, ‘Are you riding tomorrow? Maybe for the longer one? Are you?’ while the fuzzy one kept woofing at him or even jumping up to paw at his shoulder as if trying to pull him out of the chair.

I steadfastly answered, ‘I don’t know. I’ll see how I feel in the morning.’

It turned out I didn’t feel so bad after all.

I still waffled a bit about heading out to tackle the longer ride that had been so thwarted the day before. On January 13th, the temps had been in the mid-30’s. On the morning of the 14th, the window thermometer and various weather apps showed 21 F. Throw in windchill just from rolling the trike, it would go easily into the mid-teens if not colder. Still having some foot challenges, so it made me wary.

Jens assured me he’d come pick us up even if less than an hour into the outing. So, bitterly cold or not, I decided to go. I took special care pulling on the layers though, adding medium weight wool leggings under my heavy weight leggings under my tights. A first for this winter.

Sun-touched tree tops

Sun-touched tree tops

Though the forecast was for cloudy, it was delightfully clear as Jens dropped us off at the storage just a few minutes after sunrise. An earlier start would have been nice, using the murky light of pre-dawn to get through the places ridden the most, but that’s what I get for swinging back and forth with indecision.

Loke was soooo confused when we went straight out from the parking instead of whipping around to follow the street in our usual direction. He kept looking at me in bafflement as we rolled toward the area with our apartment. Rather than taking my usual way toward the river which would have meant riding away from the area that was my focus. Slow as I’ve been, it would have been ridiculous to waste time on the hamster tracks that wasn’t needed. I was aiming for Vaksala Church by the shortest, most direct route I could think of that didn’t involve busier roads.

The change perked Loke up more than he otherwise would have been, I think. We were still on over done ground, but rolling in the opposite direction along the paths than we typically do.

Brrr! New 'lowest ever' temp display while out on a ride.

Brrr! New ‘lowest ever’ temp display while out on a ride.

As for the temperature? The numbers on my Garmin kept dropping. The previous lowest I could remember was about 16 F last year before I had to call my husband for rescue at Storvreta because my toes felt like they were being twisted off.

Early sun through the trees

Early sun through the trees

I kept waiting for the chill to set in, but it didn’t happen. I would have turned around then if so, but nope. Feet were all snuggly and warm feeling even without turning on my undependable footwarmers. I really should get around to replacing them.

And 'Brrrr' again! New coldest ever record.

And ‘Brrrr’ again! New coldest ever record.

Loke was really excited about time the Garmin displayed a whopping 13.8 F. It had nothing to do with the temperature though. He knew the wooded stretch we rolled along quite well and the direction we were going in revved him up. It’s probably the way my husband walks when he goes on foot with Loke to his parents’ apartment. There’s a cycle path that cuts through the heart of the complex where their building is.

I felt a twinge of guilt as my furball was absolutely convinced that ‘Grandpa’, the man with unemptying pockets of goodies was so very close… only for us to roll right by the proper turn off. Loke’s tail came down and he kept twisting his head to look back over his shoulder. Finally, he sighed and gave me glances of mournful reproach.

I gave him an apologetic pat as I pushed on toward the new section of road/cycle path that runs along the edge of the ever growing sport complex. The sidewalk/cycle way beside the road was lightly uphill and the thin crust of crunchy snow made it more of a workout and even slower going. While Loke still cast hopeful glances back toward Grandpa’s house, we passed a jogger who greeted me with a cheery, ‘God morgon!’

As I reached the round-about and scooted across the busy road to the next cycle path at the intersection, it struck me how much archaeology there was so recently cleared away in progress. For years, I rode by these empty fields in cars, not knowing about the runestones and stone-setting burials there. Now, I do know and it’s all gone. Dug up, bulldozed flat and paved over. Sad, but in human terms, progress is destruction though many would disagree. Of course, there’s practically no where in this part of Sweden where one can build without destroying some hint of long past inhabitants.

Uppsala in miniature!

Uppsala in miniature!

In the new shopping area, I did a little detour to dash across the mostly empty and quiet parking lot to head for a new playground recently built there.

It’s Uppsala in miniature! The burial mounds at Gamla Uppsala. The heart of Uppsala with the swan pond, the river with the mill-turned-museum, cathedral, and of course the palace. Even the eye-sore of the concert hall. All the major landmarks laid out in playful scale on rubberized surface for kids to tumble around on. The river, hidden under frost, is just blue painted rubber as is the swan pond, but still there. The playground has enchanted me from the moment I realized what it was.

Photos taken, I headed out to the nearest cycle way to rejoin the one out toward Vaksala church. I had a bit of an argument with myself as I pushed on. Starbucks peppermint hot chocolate or not?

Surviving bit of burial ground across the fields.

Surviving bit of burial ground across the fields.

The internal debate raged on as I stopped to photograph a bit of burial ground I’ve driven by hundreds of times, though ridden past only a few occasions. I’ve always suspected it was one, but now I have confirmation.

I decided against the hot chocolate as I pedaled on by the Granby Mall. I didn’t want the complications it would cause later in terms of calls of nature.

Another burial ground

Another burial ground

Loke was finally over his disappointment and happy to walk or slowly jog along at the creeping pace that seems to be my new speed of late. We scooted across the 288 and paused there for me to take more photos.

Another burial ground just 100 yards or so from the previous.

Another burial ground just 100 yards or so from the previous.

Something poignant about old, bare-limbed trees.

Something poignant about old, bare-limbed trees.

In the field to my right, which was also a burial ground as I’ve long suspected, the low morning sun was doing amazing things to the frosted wisps of grass that had somehow managed to stay upright in spite of the past heavy snows. It gave the impression that a white-gold mist hovered above the snow. Sadly, my camera couldn’t quite seem to catch the magic of it.

I came up to the entrance to Vaksala church and turned in to take a quick break at the restroom there.

I have to say, while out riding in it, I didn’t feel cold at all. Once I hit the heat of the delightfully warm little stone building where the church’s restrooms hide, it was clear I was actually a bit chilled.

Still, I didn’t linger long. I wanted to do at least a little riding in places that aren’t considered part of my hamster tracks. My pace was incredibly slow, not helped in the least by the frequent photo stops. Lounging around next to a radiant heater wouldn’t have sped things along at all.

Ooooh. THAT'S the cloudy weather the forecast was talking about.

Ohhhh. That’s the cloudy weather the forecast was talking about.

We moved on a bit quicker as it’s a bit downhill from Vaksala church to the road crossing just south. As we emerged from the trees around the church and vicarage, I was startled by the view off to my left. A heavy finger of clouds reach off toward the south. I cast a glance behind me and the entire northern horizon was dark with the approach of the weather front. Quite dramatic looking really.

No way to outrun it, but at least it was cold enough that it would be some kind of extremely freakish weather phenomenon for it to be rain. Though I guess ice storms are proof it could happen.

A tiny little burial ground.

A tiny little burial ground.

We scooted across the road and continued down the cycle path running through the residential area. Another quick stop to photograph a mini-burial ground with 4 circular stone settings. I was racking up the burial ground count fast. All of them ones that I’ve ridden by on my hamster tracks countless times or driven past even more. Even just going to the mall is visiting what was once an burial ground. Quite a major one was apparently built and paved over when the mall was built.

Sun goes byebye.

Sun goes byebye.

The clouds arrived fast and soon were covering the sky overhead and threatening the southern horizon where the sun calls the winters home in Sweden.

Not-so-old-ground under gray skies.

Not-so-old-ground under gray skies.

The progress of the clouds sweeping in from the north coincided almost perfectly with my shift from ‘hamster track’ ground to ‘not so frequent’ territory. We toodled through at not-great-speed through the last of the cycle paths through the residential area and reached the first little road that began the transition to ‘country lane’ as it were. Under all the houses there, it seems was once a rather significantly sized activity stretching from the Stone Age right through to the Middle Ages.

While writing this up, I’ve also found several burial grounds that I missed within about half a mile of the area. I may have to ride through again to collect those. It seems runestones and churches were my obsessions (and still are), chasing burial grounds has joined the fun. I’ve always been thrilled to find them when I’ve done so, but as my archaeology map website is proving, they’re a lot more tricksy than churches and runestones. Well, except for runestone fragments hiding among tumbled stones in woods.

Look! Not a burial ground! :P

Look! Not a burial ground! 😛

Loke had already been fairly interested in our surroundings. After all, it wasn’t the River Loop. Yet, once we pushed free of the little houses with their postage stamp sized backyards with little fences and hedges, he perked up even more. He likes trees and fields, places with slightly more open views where he might catch a glimpse of some small creature in the distance.

The sheep we passed? He couldn’t have cared less. I’m not even sure he glanced at them though they watched us with intense suspicion. Perhaps it’s that ancestral memory of the whole sheep/wolf conflict and it’s been remarked on occasion how much like a wolf Loke resembles.

Somewhere around and perhaps even a bit before the sheep were, you guessed it, burial grounds. I missed 2 of them as I was abruptly dazzled by ground I’ve not seen a dozen times in a single year.

Bad lighting, but a standing  stone to the right.

Bad lighting, but a standing stone to the right.

The 3rd one was more obvious. It was the big standing stone that called my attention to it and reminded me of my fascination. The lighting wasn’t the best, what with it being off to the south and there still being a thin band of brighter light where the edge of the clouds hadn’t quite reached the distant horizon.

Burial Ground.

Burial Ground.

It was amazing. Though I was still as slow as ‘turtles stampeding through peanut butter’ (an favorite phrase to describe me at times), I felt so much freer. Things to notice that I’d not seen in just about every conceivable non-disastrous condition on my rides. Examples being fire, flood, asteroid impact, or zombie apocalypse, but I think I can do without seeing the scenery near my apartment in those conditions. Not once had I set eyes on the Fyris River! That in itself was cause for joy.

Snow making distances hazy.

Snow making distances hazy.

The landscape opened up for the final push to cross the busy 282 for the push for Danmark Church. Rather boring stretch really. There’s hints of archaeology described on my map site, but all of it is lost to vast stretches of plowed fields as well as the E4. About the time we emerged from the trees, the clouds that had blanketed the sky except for the bare edge of the southern horizon finally proved to be carrying precipitation after all. Snow.

Not big fluffy swirling flakes mind you. More of a grainy, blowing dust wasn’t even really enough to accumulate any where in spite of the fact that it made distant tree-lines into misty shadows. A kind of sandstorm but with tiny grains of ice.

It was a bit unpleasant along that open stretch as we pushed on and had a bit of a faster charge to go under the E4. Utterly flat and nothing to break the wind for 100’s of yards if not a mile or more in some directions. Even on days where it’s generally not that windy, such open spots seem to encourage it. Though at least my Garmin was displaying 23 F instead of 13 F.

Finally, we scooted across the 282 when someone was nice enough to stop which made traffic easier to navigate since I only had to worry about one direction instead the both. I made sure to give them a big smile and cheery wave as I passed the bumper of their car.

Loved the combination of rocks, buildings, and trees here.

Loved the combination of rocks, buildings, and trees here.

Back in among the trees, it was more pleasant going as we sloooowwwly cranked up the little hill by the vet where Loke had surgery years ago. It didn’t appear Loke had any recollection of the horror of that experience. He was focused in getting us up that hill.

Burial ground among the trees.

Burial ground among the trees.

The scenery was much more interesting again among hills and with patches of woods to break up the areas of crop fields and pastures.

I admit, by this time, there was a sense of aggravation. A petty one, to be honest. The sheer number of things I wanted to photograph was slowing me down. Rather, what was slowing me down most wasn’t just grabbing the phone or the Canon from my handlebar bag, but arguing with my hand covers.

It started to feel like, pedal for 100 yards, stop, pull off my windproof Gore Tex mittens with wool glove liners, grab photo device, take picture, put away device, pull on glove liners, pull on one mitten, fight with too long thumb on mittened hand to get a grip on other mitten to pull mitten over glove liner. Repeat 2 minutes later. Taking the photo was generally less than 30 seconds. The mitten wrestling took almost 2 minutes, in part because there’s not a mitten or glove in existence that fits me proper. My current mittens, a bit oversized to fit with my glove liners has almost an inch and a half too much thumb. Even the old mittens which the width of my hand without glove liners had better than half an inch too much thumb.

Bored Loke waiting on me to finish glove combat.

Bored Loke waiting on me to finish glove combat.

Gloves, don’t even GET me started on gloves. I’m apparently a freak of nature when it comes to fingers. I’ve toyed with the idea of finding a professional seamstress (seamster if male?) to alter gloves and mittens with more skill than my hack and whip-stitch fashion could manage.

If not for the fact that it felt so incredibly, bitterly cold, I would have just left the gloves off. Bizarrely, it felt so much worse at 24 F than it had earlier with the record setting 13 F for a ride. Maybe it was sunshine. Maybe it was plenty of warm blood since it was the start of the ride. Could also be a matter of humidity levels. Don’t think it was really any more wind than when I started, but I could be wrong about that. All I do know for sure is that early in the ride, glove liners were enough. Later, I needed the mittens over them.

Danmark Kyrka - Back Side

Danmark Kyrka – Back Side (April, 2013)

Upon reaching Danmark church, I debated calling Jens for pick up. I was feeling cold and started to worry about my feet getting chilled. Still, it wasn’t even noon yet and my feet, while a bit cool, didn’t feel bad and I’d not even turned on my warmers yet.

I decided to push on. It was so early and glove/photo annoyance aside, I didn’t feel too bad. I wanted a bit more than 8 miles. I mean, I can get 8 miles with just a few minor additions to the River Loop.

One of the Danmark vicarage buildings.

One of the Danmark vicarage buildings.

Of course, Loke was happy to keep going. Our pokey pace was barely enough to get his heart rate up if I had to guess. A few downhill stints where we might have hit 9 mph, but little more than that. Much of the rest of the way was 5 mph at best and often less. My heart rate, on the other hand, was probably up quite a bit. Felt like I was working for every foot I rolled. I didn’t feel weak or sluggish. Just felt like the trike weighed about 1000 lbs rolling through sand.

I had optimistically plotted roughly 20 miles for the ride. While hopeful I could make it, I didn’t really expect to. At least it gave me plenty of distance with guidance for chasing down the burial grounds, runestones, or ruins that might be lurking around the area. Not to mention other medieval churches.

Burial Ground

Burial Ground

So, it was the next church on the route I hoped to hit before needing to call the ride. It was less than 5 miles way, which I was fairly sure was possible before sunset.

Alas. It wasn’t to be. Not long after I left Danmark and plodded on, the cold abruptly got to my feet even with my footwarmers working. To alleviate the discomfort, I had to stop every 15 minutes or so to walk around for 3 or 4 minutes to get the toes to stop aching and warm up. Then it was every 10 minutes for 5 minutes of warm up. Wasn’t going to get anywhere at that rate.

Between my toes and perhaps my annoyance with the mitten tussle for every photograph, I got sloppy and passed by quite a few landmarks without noticing. Tsk-tsk on me.

I called Jens to come get me at Linnaeus’ Hammarby, an open air museum celebrating the Swedish national hero who developed the method of categorizing plants, animals, and fungus in Latin.

The cold had a good grip on me by then. I had to keep stopping to put my hands under my arms to stop the harsh sting as I worked to dismantle everything to hurry along getting the trike loaded when Jens arrive.

Loke was disappointed, I think. So was I really. We’d just managed 9.99 miles. It was barely 1 pm. Just couldn’t take the cold any more.

Still, it had been nice to have about half the distance, or a bit more, off the hamster track. Not exactly new ground, but somewhere I’d not been in the better part of a year at least.

And here, I’ll end the post as 6500 words is a bit overlong as it is.

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