Terii’s Cycling Babble


Catching Up
June 18, 2009, 11:05 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Well, this has been a rough couple of months and needless to say, it’s taken a toll on my cycling.  This post is going to sort of cram three into one since it feels silly writing 3 different blogs covering 3 different months.

Snow!

Snow!

I found photos from a trip from mid-March.  Not that special of a trip as my trips go since it is essentially one of my two ‘short routes’  both of which cover just 13 to 14 miles.  I ride them mainly when I’m feeling a bit rushed for time, but still determined to go out and cover a few miles at least.  I call it simply the Ulva/Gamla Uppsala Loop after the two main points of  interest I pass along it (see Local Places Page).  It heads out along the cycle paths not far from my home and then crosses a busy road to get to Gamla Börje Vägen  (The Old Börje Road).  After looping through the country side for about 8 miles, I come to Ulva which is the site of an old water mill.  There’s a glass blower in the old mill and a few craft shops up the hill and a couple of cafes.  Nearby on Sundays during the warm months, there is a flea market in one of the fields.  Of course, the photos are from too early in the year for the flea market.  On this ride too, I passed a field that had what looked to be almost a hundred swans on it.  I took photos, but from such a distance that I doubt you’d even be able to see the little white dots of the birds in this size.

Shortly after this ride, the list of the disasters began.  First it was an agonizing tooth ache.  I tried to keep my mood and spirits up and get out to ride, but that just seemed to aggravate the pain.  That was followed by neck and shoulder problems which were diagnoised as tendonitus.  That made it hard to have my head at the necessary angle while sitting in my comfy armchair with pedals.  I was finally winning with those issues, when my husband went to Detroit for a while.  I took a few rides on my short loops (see Local Places page).  Loke was being kinda draggy on those runs.  Probably from sheer boredom, “Do we HAVE to go down this road AGAIN??”  I was starting to feel frustrated puttering along at less than a 6.5 MPH average.  Though there was one ride that was about 25 miles and I passed some interesting places, but my husband had the camera with him.  I still need to go back that way to take those photos.

Långtora Day Trip

Långtora Kyrka

Långtora Kyrka

Well, my husband came home after a week and returned my camera to me.  During the week of a bored, pokey dog, I decided I wanted my husband to drop me off out in the country side somewhere and let me ride home with Loke.  I looked in my map books for a likely place and roughly plotted out a path that would take me to at least a few interesting places.  I decided to start at one of the many thousands of ancient country churches that cover Sweden called Långtora.  It looks very much like Börje Kyrka though it’s a bit smaller and I didn’t spot any rune stones.  Granted, I didn’t really spend any time looking for the stones either.  I’m not sure about the history behind the church as my limited research as yet to find anything on it, but I’m guessing it’s roughly the same as Börje.

Långtora Bell Tower

Långtora Bell Tower

My husband was willing to drag out of bed at an ungodly (for him) hour, load me, dog and trike into the car and take the winding tiny roads out to the middle of nowhere.  It was a fairly nice day to be out and Loke was definitely the most exicted I’d seen him about cycling in quite a few weeks.  Once everything was set up and my husband was on his way back home, we set off.  The furry one set a blistering pace.  A flat out run at 17 mph on the flats and hit 19 or better on any little down slope.  He kept that speed for almost 2 miles before settling into a slightly easier lope of about 14 mph for another 3 miles.  He’s never kept speeds like that for those distances before.  I guess it goes to show how excited he was for new territory.

The new areas were much like most of the places I’ve been riding for years.  Gentle hills with a few flats all combined with quite a few stretches of open fields and a scattering of wooded areas.  The church I had picked as a starting point was roughly 30 miles from home and I was excited for Loke to be running the distance with me.  It was going to be his longest trip ever.  His previous longest trip was in June, 2008 and only about 27.5 miles.  After that it was just too warm for him to go with me.

Uppland's Runestone #808

Uppland’s Runestone #808

After a few miles, I came across rune stone #808.  It was set off the road a bit, at a crossroad.  It also had a few standing stones with it, one of which you can see in the background above Loke’s shoulders.  Nothing as impressive as Stonehenge, the largest being only perhaps 6 feet tall and two feet thick, but I still found them interesting.  It’s probably hard to see, but this stone is far more elaborate than the one that graces the churchyard wall at Börje (see Local Places Page).  A twisting sort of knot work that loosely reminds me of Celtic with the runes inscribe between and a sort of cross rather like those the Templar Knights wore.  It was made around 1100 AD.  “Gisl and Ingemund, good young men, left this memory stone after Halvdan, thier father, and after Ödis, their mother.  God comfort her soul” is what I think the translation is according to the information plate.  I also passed another rune stone along the route, but there was no information with it.

The small roads out in the country were nice.  I think in about 2 hours of travel time, I was only passed by 2 vehicles and one of them was a tractor.  Other than that it was just light breezes, bird song and maybe the lowing of cattle in the distance to disturb the silence of the day.  Sadly, a castle I was curious to see took me into a small town with a harbor which inevitably meant a busier road.  It wasn’t too bad though and part of it even had a cycle path.

Old Wall

Old Wall

Finally I found the turn off to Salnecke Slott.   The road leading to it was quite pleasant.  Parts of it were unwooded, but even so it wasn’t grain fields that flanked it.  Mostly pastures or yards of little country houses all on little rolling hills and dotted with boulders left behind when Sweden’s glaciers receeded at the end of the ice age.  I passed by a lightly wooded hill ridge area that had an old stone wall built up along it.

The road threaded along and I passed a field that had 4 or 5 horses in it.  I had to laugh at one of them.  The owner had clipped the animal, which is not uncommon, but it leaves the horse looking lighter where the hair has been shortened.  The more amusing partof it is that on the reddish brown rump was a stylized skull clipped into the hair.  Unfortunately, the sun was just right that the picture didn’t come out well.

Salnecke Castle

Salnecke Castle

Finally, I found the castle itself.  To be honest, it was rather a disappointment.  It appears that it has been converted into apartments and was marked private, so I didn’t feel comfortable rolling down the sloped drive way into the central court.  Not to mention, it was just a rather ‘bleah’ looking box shape, no grounds to speak of.  Perhaps I should just blame Wiks Slott for my disappointment (See Local Places Page).  Spoiling me with beautiful enviorns and interesting structure.  Still, I do enjoy taking my map book and checking off the ‘things to see’ page by page.  So, #238 on Map Book 2 B, check.

Gryta Church

Gryta Church

Thanks to the map, I had also noticed another church down at the end of the road.  So, I continued the pleasant way down and finally came upon Gryta Kyrka.  A bit different from Långtora and Börje, it’s another of those country churches.  I rather liked the area around it though and there was a small building to one side of the grave yard.  It rather looked like it might have been a mausoleum which would be quite rare for the small places like this.  Information I could find about this church was scant and vague.

The next landmark I came upon was Fröslunda Kyrka.  Did I mention that there are thousands of small churches scattered through the countryside of Sweden?  Perhaps I should explain my fascination with them.  The main part of why I take pictures of each one I come across is the fact that they are perfect landmarks.  I can click and remember, ‘I cycle past here’  Fields, forest and lakes can have a certain sameness to them.  But the churches, even if they are nearly identical like Börje and Långtora at least have a name and a clear marker on a map.  The other side of the fascination is the age of most of them.  They predate the discovery of the Americas even.  The sheer scope of time that they have seen intrigues me on a level I can’t even describe.  Stonehenge is the same way, though it’s draw to me is even stronger because the age is so much greater.

Fröslunda Church

Fröslunda Church

So! Fröslunda Church! Sadly, it occurs to me that I forgot to check for rune stones.  I really must stop that bad habit. It looks a lot like Börje Church though Börje is taller with yellow painted plaster rather than an off-white.

Hagby Church

Hagby Church

After that, the ride was very pleasant, but generally unremarkable.  Loke was still enjoying himself even after covering some 20 miles and I made sure that I’d brought some of the doggie socks the kind man had given me to keep all the skin wearing away on his paws.  The next landmark finally brought me to an area I’d covered before.  A small village called Haby I’d gone through on my way along the Wiks Slott trip last year.  It was a nice place to stop and let Loke have a bit of a breather.  He also enjoys getting unhitched from the trike and sniffing around.

After that, the way home was over territory I’d covered at least half a dozen times over the past years.  I did stop at Vänge and bought ice creams for me and Loke.  He really appreciated that.  Then it was about a 5 mile stretch along a very busy road full of traffic noise.  There’s a cycle path along that length though, so Loke and I were perfectly safe.  It was a fun ride and good for both me and Loke since it was through places we’re never been.  It was a bit over 35 miles when I staggered through the door to ask my husband to bring the trike in.

After that, disaster #3 struck.  My husband apparently caught a nasty cold/flu while on his trip to Detroit.  Fortunately, it didn’t turn out to be the Swine flu that was causing such a panic in the States (and world) at the time.  Much to my dismay, he passed to me.  The first cold I’d had in some 3 years.  It kicked my butt.  For 3.5 weeks, I hacked, wheezed, coughed, gasped and sniffled through my aggravation of not being able to cycle.  Loke wasn’t helping either.  After a few days without a run of at least one of the short loops, he turns into a rather large PITA.  Constantly in my face, woofing at me, pawing at me, trying to get me moving the trike out the door.  After 1 week, I was ready to turn him into a rug.  Never mind how I felt about him by week 3 of the cold.

I’m finally over it though it felt like forever, especially paired up with the lack of riding thanks to the tooth ache and tendonitus.  Now, just to regain the stamina I lost and start pushing myself out the door a bit more than once a week.

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