Terii’s Cycling Babble

Just A Short Update
November 3, 2018, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Well, I went from riding frequently to taking a long slacking time off.

From the rail-trail ride on the 21st of October, away from Uppsala, to something like 9-10 days without riding. Part of that was Monday morning, (Oct 22nd), I woke with cold symptoms and a low grade fever. Spent the better part of a week fighting that. A few other days, dunno. Might have been the weather or something.

Halloween day, Loke perked up. I mean, seriously, perked up. Trotting around ahead of me every time I took him for a walk, bouncing around the apartment and harassing Jens. On November 1st, I took Loke to Wiks and we took a bit over 2 hours walking the full loop out there. It’s about 2 miles. It only took us that long because Loke was intent on sniffing a lot. When he was moving, he was trotting along quite happily and more surprisingly, with his tail up. That 2 hour stroll over hilly terrain did nothing to dent Loke’s spunk. He was still a complete pain in the rump, especially when Jens got home.

Oddly, his increased energy and enthusiasm coincided with a somewhat significant deterioration of his neuro-muscular control. Even walking around our apartment, his feet were skidding off in all directions. He fell at random moments for no apparent reason. He’d bounce back up fine and continue on his way, but still a bit worrying that it was worse.

Thrown into this was also our first snowfall, back on October 30th I think. It occurred to me as the world was a bit dusted with white and then kinda melted only to freeze into patches of slick ice, that maybe it would be best if this was one of the mild, snow-less winters. Even if it meant dreary landscape of muddy colors with short daylight hours and muted, low-angled sunlight when not raining. If Loke was hardly able to keep his feet under him on time roughened wooden boards of our apartment floor, an icy landscape might mean lots of bruises, dislocated hips, or worse.

The touch of winter didn’t last long. Just a couple days and then it bounced right back up into the 40’s and 50’s F.

Thursday, Loke was following me around so pitifully as I got dressed for the gym, which shares some elements of my cycling outfit, that I decided when Jens left for work, I’d have him drop Loke and I off at the storage for a ride back to the apartment. It wouldn’t be anything long as I had laundry to do which could not be put off any longer.

Silly me, I’d forgotten that I’d removed Loke’s running bar for the solo rail-trail ride. I almost walked home, but the pitiful looks from Loke giving me the ‘8 week old’ puppy expression changed my mind. Loke’s not the wild fireball who could dislocate my shoulder any more. Holding the leash wouldn’t be a problem.

Well, it was and it wasn’t. Instead of the leash, I had to hang on to his collar or harness. He had a tendency to want to pull ahead and then edge over to the right, putting him in danger of the wheel. It wasn’t hard to hold him, but tiring to keep my arm up and out. It also made shifting rather difficult.

Naturally, since I was having that difficulty of making sure Loke stayed beside me and off to the side, he did his fastest sustained pace since his April health crash. We cruised along at about 5.5 mph. I really would have loved to take him further than the 0.95 mile roll back to the apartment, but laundry called and I really wasn’t going to undo months of physical therapy on my arm, keeping it up with the elbow locked as a running bar substitute.

Yesterday (November 2nd) Loke was still spunky, so I decided to take him out for a longer ride.

Sweden treats Halloween a bit differently than the States. In the US, it’s celebrated on the 31st of October. Here, the acknowledgement of the day and All Saints Day afterward, is bumped to the weekend. A lot of places give employees a half day off on the Friday for a longer weekend. Adobe gave everyone the full day. So, my husband was home to come get Loke when he got tired. Since it had been a while, I decided I’d do the downtown River Loop with the furball and Jens could probably pick Loke up at the bandy court or something. Oh, and I remembered the running bar.

Loke started out as strong as he had the day before. We cruised along at 5.4 mph or so, even right up the hill as I steered us northward to jump on the cycle paths there before cutting off to the river side path to following it through town out to Kungsängen and back.

Oh, did I mention what I learned recently about Kungsängen? The name had always confused me. Kung is, of course, Swedish for King. Säng is the word for bed. En (or et) indicates ‘the’. So, I was always interpreting the place name for the wide pasture land by the river there, as ‘The King Bed’. Finally, someone in my recumbent trike FB group with better Swedish than mine pointed out it very likely wasn’t The King Bed, but The King’S Meadow. The word for meadow is apparently äng. So, KungsÄngEn. Well, duh! Doesn’t that make so much more sense for a name of pastureland once held by the crown for the livestock to support the royal household?

Today’s Swedish lesson was brought to you by the letters “Ä” and “Ö” and the color blå. Those of you who are old school Sesame Street fanatics will get the reference.

It was a pretty miserable looking morning at 10 am. Thick clouds and a dense, misty drizzle blocked much of the daylight so that even 2 hours after sunrise, it seemed a murky twilight and the disappearance of the vibrant autumn colors only made it seem even darker. Droplets of water, too small to see, were felt as ghostly touches to the skin of my face and hands. The clouds hung low, obscuring the top third or more of the cathedral’s steeples.

Looking so deary out, the expectation was that it would be cold. While not warm, it wasn’t as chill as I thought. 52 F and with a clammy, muggy sense to the air. Everything looked so wet, but the drizzle/mist wasn’t even enough to speckle my glasses. Unless it started coming down harder, I wouldn’t even get damp from it.

Less than 5 minutes after we left the apartment, I had to stop and strip off the extra layer on my top as well as shove my beanie in the handlebar bag.

As we came down the long hill toward the first bridge over the river, Loke pulled a bit faster and we hit 6.4 mph. Then, still at a trotting pace, he tried to lengthen his stride again for more speed, 6.8 mph. For a moment, I thought he was going to break 7 mph for the first time in ages. No. At about 6.8 to 6.9 mph, his hind legs started to act up and I braked us back to about 5.5 mph before he fell and ate pavement. Such a nasty look he gave me and tried to pull.

One thing I noticed though, he never tried to leave the two beat trotting stride for a 3 beat lope.  That made me a little sad.

At least his tail was up though! A cheery waving little banner above his back instead of kinda just hanging out parallel to the ground if not simply dangling down. That’s one way to know Loke’s feeling pretty good. Not that he’s just trotting around, but trotting around AND with a high tail. I love seeing it.

As we came out of the old River Loop paths and headed off toward downtown, I miscalculated some turns and wound up missing my intention to come out between the hospital and castle. It meant coming down the cycleway/single direction road with Loke. I really didn’t like that, but the other option was to climb a nasty steep hill, which would be as hard or harder on the furball than on me, or ride even worse roads for both me and Loke. I hated having cars passing on his side, but he didn’t seem to care. Used to be it would freak him out. I guess in his aged wisdom and experience it just another ‘eh, whatever’ occurrence. Hehe.

I was glad to get out of there to paths and roads were traffic was either less or we were separated from it. I was rolling down the west east bank of the river to give Loke a bit of variety. He’s most accustomed to going south on the west and north on the east. It seemed to increase his interest. I also took the path that’s marked exclusively for pedestrians. We took it slow though and every time someone on foot came along, I swerved over onto the grass to give them the whole path. It just felt nicer to give Loke a fine-grained gravel path and grass to go on instead of asphalt bordered by chunky rocks.

The King’s Meadow in the mist. Fog? Haze either way. 😛

By time we were up to the boat storage and approaching the big drawbridge, the feel of the drizzle had abated. The misty look had lingered on though. I guess it might have qualified as fog.

Passing under the bridge and hitting the narrow gravel path along the river, Loke perked up even more. By this time we were at about 5 miles. I’d half expected the furball to be back home with Jens. Yet, he was still going good. We’d slowed a little, from 5.5 mph or so to about 4.2 or 4.3 mph, but his tail was still high and his head up, eyes bright as his gaze swept our surroundings. There was remarkably little foot drag as well and I don’t remember him tripping even once for that whole distance. He adored the country feel of the gravel path by the pastures. A very happy husky.

The haze was starting to thin about time we reached the new foot bridge and crossed. I toyed with heading down the road a little bit and doubling back on the path for more distance. I changed my mind though, thinking it might be neater if Loke could make the full 8+ mile loop with me rather than having it extended and needing Jens to come get him. I was curious how far the furry one could make it. I think his previous record was 6.8 miles or so. 7 miles would be great!

Coming back north through the trees on the east side of the river, I felt the disappearance of the autumn leaves more strongly. The columns of tree trunks were all in shades of deepest gray and black. The gravel path its own color of gray with the fallen leaves having gone to the colors of mud. Combined with the dim light further shadowed by the skeletal web of tree limbs, it bordered on depressing. The patch of open ground on the west side which seems to lead to some kind of manor house was colorless where once there were the small sunflowers and the bright leaves of on the trees across the way.

The rest of the way back home was pretty uneventful as we doubled back on the same paths and roads we’d gone out on once we were past the bandy court. Loke was starting to flag a little, but by then, we were less than a mile to home, so I slowed to about 3.8 mph and just let Loke amble like that. He was still happy to be out, just slower. Even once we rolled to a final stop, he was a bit disappointed and woofed at me.

I was impressed with my old furball. 8.5 miles. Over a mile and a half more than his previous ‘longest since scratching on death’s door’. Wouldn’t you know it? He pranced around the apartment, going straight Jens in an attempt to bully him into doing something with him and then rampaged around the apartment for anything to eat. I thought he was a pig before, but since he’s been castrated, he’s taking gluttony to a WHOLE new level. A black hole wrapped in white fur.

But it was nice to get out and have the fuzzy one with me the whole way. I do think he’d have made it home just fine if I’d added the extra distance if his behavior at home was any indication.

1 Comment so far
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Glad to see the two of you are still out and about, my friend. Hope all is well.

Comment by Jim

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