Terii’s Cycling Babble


And Another Update…
November 18, 2018, 6:08 pm
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

With very little distance added… I think.

I probably should check my Garmin.

It’s amazing how wildly my interest in riding swings about. One day I’m all wild-eyed and eager to hit the roads at a flat run (or as close as I can get). Then the next or even just an hour later, I’m kinda languishing apathetically around the apartment. No apparent rhyme or reason.

Perhaps it’s been the murky, sunless days thanks to dense clouds combined with the lack of color in the landscape. Or that I’m reluctant to go out with Loke when he stumbles and falls 4 times on a 5 minute walk. Could also be that with the days so short and dim, I’ve just been kinda waiting on my flags to arrive.

Flags? Did I not mention that I’d ordered flags for my trike? Nice, large and brightly colored flags from a company called ‘Soundwinds’ located in Oregon, USA. I purchased a rather nice ‘fan’ shaped as well as one that kinda hangs loose on its pole and spins. The spinning one is crafted from a highly reflective fabric and will glow like a spot light when headlights hit it. I should be quite visible in the dim and dark between that and my lights.

Ironically, just a few days after I finally got around to ordering the flags, I popped onto the website again to fetch the number and call them in order to be sure I’d given the right address. Splashed across the top of the home page was a banner announcing they’d be closing soon. I reached the same very nice guy who had taken my original order and asked when they’d be closing. At the end of the year or when they run out of flags, he said, though his last day was just that coming Thursday. I asked about the address, it was correct, and then I wished him the best of luck in his future. He seemed genuinely surprised at that and thanked me.

Oooooh. Yeah, I’d forgotten about this. I was just looking on my trike FB group since I make little posts about my rides as soon as I finish them there. I just took a look there to see if there were any rides I was forgetting. There was an absolutely huge mess on November 5th. I’m not surprised I didn’t remember it until I looked. It was quite a disaster and something my brain didn’t want me to remember.

So, November 5th, I dragged myself out of bed and went to the gym for what turned into quite a vigorous work out. That is somewhat significant for what followed later.

Loke had been pretty stubborn about doing his ‘business’ on walkies so I decided I’d go for a roll on the trike. At least that way, I could rest my workout weary legs while inching along with the trike to get Loke a longer walk. A whopping 2 miles took us an hour and 10 minutes. He was just seeming tired and his legs didn’t want to stay under him very well. I would have cut shorter, but he just wouldn’t GO potty. It was quite worrying since he’d done so great on November 2nd.

Before I got back home with Loke, I’d decided that I could take care of a few little errands using the trike to get me a few more miles. Short easy ride to my wonderful in-laws to drop something off to Jens’ adorably sweet mother. I tucked Loke up at home with a cozy pillow, fresh water and a treat before running out the door with the items that needed dropping off in tow.

I set off at a brisk pace and felt bad that in less than 15 minutes I had more distance than Loke’s total for the day.

I arrived and sat chatting with my mother-in-law for a time. It had been quite a few weeks since I’d seen her and it seemed she had honestly missed the contact. And here, I try to avoid being a pest. She asked if I’d done any interesting rides of late. I told her about the rail-trail ride and pulled up some of the photos to share. I could probably love the woman to bits just for that. It’s always so nice when someone is genuinely interested in your hobby. They may not ride with you, but are happy to ask questions about how the trip was, to see the pictures, and such.

After about 20 minutes, I walked back out to the trike. Heading directly home was an option, but those miles I need to make 2018 only the 2nd worst year ever demanded to be done. Not to mention, I wouldn’t have minded a nice hot chocolate with Starbucks. Going directly to Starbucks was an option too, but I went charging off in the opposite direction with the notion that I’d do the 10 mile Gamla Uppsala/Vaksala loop. Adding the ride to Jens’ parents, it would be over 12 miles.

Again, I sped off at a brisk pace for Gamla Uppsala. It was another of those gray, misty days where the temp hovered at about 45 F. We had weeks of that which only know is showing signs of breaking into a normal November… kinda.

Being so murky, I didn’t feel inspired to take photos of the loop, but just pedalled along, feeling fairly strong and quick, especially for me. Even the chipseal failed to annoy me. Before I knew it, the 288 was there before me to do a rapid scoot over into the parallel cycle path.

As I started the push to Vaksala and Granby mall with Starbucks just beyond. I started, I thought, to feel tired and a bit weak. Just seemed hard to push the trike. Just as I reached the base of the long hill up to the church area, the trike started to pull to the right and ride got bumpy.

Oh, happy joy.

Well, it was obvious what THAT meant and a quick glance at the right front tire confirmed. Flat. There was still a tiny bit of air lingering in the tube, but it clearly wasn’t going to last long. I jumped out of the seat and stomped around the trike, yelling and waving my arms. Even if I had the strength in my hands (thank you stroke) to change the tire, I’d not yet replaced my mini-pump since it was submerged in the storage flood back in June.

Well, standing on the cycle path beside one of the busiest road sections in Uppsala wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I took Loke’s ‘oh crap’ leash off the neck rest of the trike, looped it over the left steering bar to keep the wheels on a straight track, and started pushing up that hill. Walking is typically difficult for me at the best of times. Pushing 50-ish pounds of water, rubber, metal, mesh and plastic up a long hill? I settled in for the hard slog with grim determination and the goal of making it to the mall (and Starbucks) for a start.

It was almost 1 mile on the nose from where I got up out of the seat to Starbucks’ outside door. Amazingly, while tired and my legs wobbly and weary, I didn’t feel that bad. I desperately wanted to sit down and shake off the chill with hot chocolate, but there was no random weird pain screaming through my shoulders and arms. I was breathing fine. Most astounding, my feet didn’t even hurt.

The woman working the shift saw me coming. Everyone calls her Jos and she’s sweet as can be. Bless her, she had my usual waiting for me as I staggered in the door and told me to sit down and rest, that I could pay before I left.

I ranted a bit and got that out of my system before we just had a nice chat about other things. When she had to tend other customers or a task, I contemplated my dilemma. Jens was at work in Stockholm and wouldn’t be able to get free until sometime after 5, so wouldn’t get home until near 6. It was only just coming up to 3 pm and I’d been gone from home for almost 2 hours. Walking home was about another 3 miles, which pushing the trike, could take me 2 hours or more. I really didn’t like the idea of leaving Loke alone that long.

Still, sitting there and staring into an empty cocoa mug wasn’t going to solve anything. I paid and said bye to Jos, who said she wanted an update on how it turned out when she saw me next.

I set off at a plod from the back of the mall, heading for the 4H grounds. Then it hit me how silly I was being. Jens’ parents were much closer than home was. Admittedly, the trike wouldn’t fit in Å’s car, but it would fit on their back porch where it would be locked and out of sight and then I could get a ride home to Loke that much faster.

I plodded along past the paddocks and pastures of the 4H, still wheeling my flat trike along. Though I wasn’t going to ride with a flat, I recognized that I still could use it as a rest chair when the walk got to be too much.

Do you know that I made the 1.1 mile from the mall to the door of my in-laws apartment in one go? I’d done the same with that first mile from flat to Starbucks. I did however flop down on the porch bench after I’d rang the doorbell, so that my mother-in-law found me slumped to one side of her stoop when she opened the door. I was back at the apartment just after 3:30 pm. You should have seen the accusatory look Loke gave me when I walked in smelling of ‘grandma and grandpa’s’ house.

Jens’ reaction that evening when he got home and heard the news was a bit of a shock. ‘You had your lock. Why didn’t you just lock the trike to a tree or something and call my dad?’ Seriously?! Leave my pride and joy sitting on the side of a busy road?!

The next day, I set off with the car to fetch the trike back home as well as stop off at the cycle shop and schedule a time for the tire to get fixed. Bobby was able to fit me in for the next day (November 7th). Once that was done, I headed off to Starbucks for more cocoa and to let Jos know how the day turned out. We had a bit of laugh after it was all said and done.

Bobby got the work done on the trike in record time. I dropped it off right at 9 am as they opened on the 7th and I got a text before it was even 10 am. He couldn’t find any cause for the flat, but replaced the tube and I was good to go.

I headed out for another ride on the 8th. I could have done so on the 7th, but it would have meant blowing off some errands that needed doing before it got too dark. With it being such a wet and miserable day, errands felt like a better option.

Besides, Loke was pretty sluggish and lethargic on that day. He slept all day. The only time he got up from his pillow was when I dragged him out the door. Bad enough that to get him leashed, I had to walk over to him where he was laying and pull to get him on his feet and insist on him following me outside. After playing rug all day, naturally, when Jens got home he suddenly was bouncing all over the place with a case of the zoomies. In our tiny apartment, that’s pretty much just scrambling in small circles as his partially out-of-control hind legs went in all directions.

After that silliness, I layered up after getting Jens on his way to work, determined to use up some of Loke’s bounce. To get ready, I had to lug the bags and the seat out to the car. It was a stark reminder of how much I do not miss keeping the trike in the apartment. Just lugging the seat and bags out before arguing with getting the seat on the trike was bad enough. I really would hate for it to become an ‘every ride ritual’ again, as well as needing to carry the frame in and out with the rest. *shudder*

As I shuffled in and out, poor Loke was worried he was going to be left. He was so relieved when I came back in for him and my handlebar bag.

We set off at a good clip. Loke even did a lunging hop on his hind legs when he decided I was being too slow about getting rolling. The slight uphill grade at the start toward the north end of the city, hardly slowed him down at all, we went at about 5 mph. Much better than on ‘flat tire day’. First time in ages he’s felt good enough to perform that little trick. When he was younger, he’d kangaroo hop for a good 20-30 yards before shooting off at warp speed down the roads and paths.

I made a quick stop at the garage to get my ‘new’ mesh seat from there. My current one is waaaaaaay past the time I should have replaced it. I’ve just been reluctant to do so, convinced that it will be only weeks before the ‘new’ one (I’ve had for 2+ years) gets holes and starts ripping like the old one. Granted, it’s taken 6 years before it’s becoming almost critical to make the swap, but still.

The original plan had been to do a short 1.5 mile loop, but Loke was doing well enough, I took us back to the cycle paths and we arrived back at home with 2.63 miles. Loke had been getting pretty slow by the last half mile or so, but I think he enjoyed it in spite of it being just the River Loop hamster track AGAIN.

Even though it’s been crazy warm for November, while being gray skied and misty drizzle, at 45 F with that damp, even with wool, the chill gets to you. It felt good to curl up with a hot beverage and plush blanket.

I’ve been feeling that chill a lot lately. So, even though the weather continued mild at 45 F, I didn’t get out and ride again for a while.

45 F. I swear, it’s like Uppsala has been under a stasis field of some kind. For two weeks, give or take, it’s been 45 F. I mean that literally. Go to sleep, 45 F. Wake up the next morning, 45 F. Have lunch, you guessed it, 45 F. The temp just wouldn’t budge. Nor did the clouds, which is probably one reason why the temp was so stable. That gray cover between earth and sky acting like a blanket and keeping things warm.

Old and new

I did finally get the oomph to make the swap on the seat. Yeah, it was definitely past due. The tearing of the fabric had accelerated to an alarming rate.

Much to my annoyance, I found that the plastic caps that fit in the top of the tubes of the frame had cracked and fell loose when I removed the old mesh. That could make putting the new flag poles in the seat a bit difficult. I’ll likely need to get a new solution for that when the new ones arrive. *grumble*

Friday and Saturday, the clouds finally broke. Friday though, I did something silly and went to Stockholm in search of a new pair of Icebug boots to replace my old ones which have lost a few studs. They’re not good on ice any more. Rather than figure out where on earth to park the car near the area I needed, Jens suggested I take the car to the mall near where his office is, park there, then take the subway where I needed to go in the city.

I wasn’t so sure. I’m not a city girl and had images of winding up in Oslo or something. After looking at maps and figuring out which stops I needed, I decided to try it. Besides, the subway stop was very close to the American Food store in Stockholm as well.

Oof, what a day. I walked almost 6 miles when it was all done. Clearly, the gym is paying off. I had thought it impressive when I did the 2+ miles on flat-tire day.

There was an unfortunate side effect though. My ankle. Remember the one I twisted at the end of June just as we had arrived at our hotel in Norway? Yeah, that one which took 2 months before it was even possible to walk without a zombie like hobble from the pain. Well, I’d thought it was good and sound again. No. The long day on urban surfaces had me limping quite badly by time I got back to the car.

It was sunny though. First time in ages.

It was kinda sunny on Saturday too, but I decided that staying off my foot was the wiser course of action. Give it a chance to recover… again. And it worked. It already felt better on Saturday than it had Friday evening. I would have gone riding, but I didn’t think all the flexing would be good for it at that moment either.

Today, it felt even better still. I’d have thought myself back to normal except for a few fairly bad twinges when I first took Loke out this morning. It was almost enough to make me consider not riding, except then Jens pleaded with me to get the furball out with the trike so he’d maybe give Jens a break. Clearly, my husband was overly optimistic.

Even though I was feeling the chill even more than in the previous days, thanks to a 5 degree drop in the temperature, finally (under 45 F!), I dragged myself out after layering up. Also, once again, had to get bags and seat and all back out to the trike and everything reassembled. I finally got Loke out the door.

I wasn’t sure how fast or far we were going to go. He’d been so unstable first thing in the morning. One of the worst since March. What a pair we’d made, me lurching a few times because pain cracked through my ankle for a few steps, and Loke falling on his face 4 times over a 300 yard walk.

His meds clearly did their job though because with him setting the pace, we were soon cruising along at 5.4 mph. Pretty good for a 13 year old who could barely walk 6 hours earlier.

I can’t say I was enjoying the new seat mesh. I guess with the rips in the old one, it kinda let my sitting position sink into the strapping so I felt more IN the trike and cradled. On this one, I felt like I was perched on wooden boards and kinda being pushed out of the trike. Not a secure or comfortable feeling at all. My back wasn’t especially pleased either. Yet, if I start loosening the straps, the mesh will slacken and start rubbing on them and that’s where the holes come from.

Even wearing my heavy 400 g weight wool with a lighter 150 g base layer and my usual cycle top, I was quite chilled. Then of course, I hadn’t really believed I needed to dig out my wool socks. It would have been nice to have them. While I was wearing hiking boots that are often too warm for my feet, they were starting to get cold.

Loke was doing well enough that when we came down the big hill to the bridge over the Fyris River (hitting 6.5 mph no less), I decided to turn north and follow the out-n-back path along the bank for some extra distance. Oh, the wind! That slight chilly feeling in my feet started to get uncomfortable and the many roller-skiers I shared the path with weren’t happy with it either. My feet started to toy with that thin line between ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘painful’ from the chill. Oh, yes. Wool socks would have been so very welcome.

I was glad I had worn the 400 g wool though. I zipped it up and pulled the high neck up around my ears.

As I followed that river extension, I noticed they’d done some work on it in places. I still have a feeling it’s going to be in a truly terrible state come spring if we get any snow what with all the cracks that were already splitting it in spots. I reached the end and started the multi-point turn to go back, and as always, I stared mournfully across the gravel road to the fields and trees beyond where the river winds on. Maybe one day, I’ll come here and they’ll be extending this path onward so one can ride the whole way to Ulva Mill along the bank. That would be so great!

I also took the chance to get up and poke at the big green leaves in the crop field by the path. After the failed grain harvests, the fields sprang up all across Uppland with this crop plant. I was pretty sure it was some kind of root vegetable, but not which. Some on Facebook have said turnip or radish. The first time in 14 years I’ve seen them, but I was more certain than ever it was something like a turnip once I got a closer look. Radish never occurred to me, probably because I’ve never seen one in the ground yet I have actually pulled up a few bushels of turnips when I was a kid.

It was 35 F when we got back home, feet throbbing from the cold, and OH so glad to be back into our slightly warmer apartment which had no heat earlier. I was quite proud of my furry old husky. He’d done 6.23 miles and still had energy to spare for annoying Jens.

So, a few more miles toward the year goal of 450 minimum. Best of all, my ankle hardly bothered me at all on the ride. Yay!

 

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