Terii’s Cycling Babble


A Short, But Long Ride!!
May 30, 2010, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

Today turned out to be good.  I would even go so far to say, very good.  It did fall just short of perfect though… by 2.5 miles. *grrs* 

After my last ride, my knees just went into hysterics.  I was limping around for days and could barely walk the dog around the block.  It seemed even my last ride had kinda broken Loke.  He was limping a bit and had no energy for almost 2 days.  Just from Börje/G. Uppsala Loop??  It made thinking about making my 50 mile goal for the week difficult to believe in though I only needed 15 miles.  Then of course, yesterday was a downright miserable day… 

Today dawned clear though a bit on the cool side.  I waffled for a while, unable to decide if I should risk trying to go for a ride or not.  My husband settled it by saying he’d drive me.  So, I went into high gear and plotted a route. 

Lunda Kyrka

 

And WHAT a route!  I chose my starting point at Lunda Kyrka.  It was quite busy.  Being Sunday, I’m guessing there were services going on.  There was a little cafe sitting just in front of the church and the bell tower wasn’t far off.  With Jens taking care of Loke, I felt okay about making a quick circle of the church to look for rune stones. 

Upplands Runestone #354 at Lunda Kyrka

 

Uppland's Runestone #353 in Lunda Church Wall

 

There were two.  The first was right on the path leading to the church and Jens wandered around with Loke getting worked up with excitement.  He stayed out of the church yard as I went to circle the church and discovered a second stone set in the plaster of the back wall. 

Pictures done, we returned to the car for me to start getting things ready, but we both had a wary eye to the road the church sat just off of.  It was very busy.  While I only had to do about 1/4 of a mile on it before trying to turn across traffic,  it was going to be a bit hair-raising I thought. 

With an eye toward practicality, my husband suggested going the 200 yards or so to the turn off and getting out there.  I didn’t feel the least bit guilty at the idea. 

With such a pretty day, it was obvious there were going to be a lot of cyclists on the road.  Four passed us just in the time it took for us to get the trike out of the car for me to put it together and load every thing.  Watching them go by got Loke’s attention.  He started woofing for me to get a move on. 

The mad dash didn’t last very long.  Less than a quarter of a mile before Loke screeched to a halt to… umm… do business. *smirk*  As he was fertilizing the weeds, a pair of stones caught my eye.  They were too angular and regular to be natural and it got my curiosity up. 

Grave Field Stones

 

As Loke finished and we began creeping up the hill, I looked down the slope to my right and wouldn’t you know it, very obvious standing stones!  Even better!  A large wooden board with a weather proof sign printed with a map and several columns of writing!  A must see! 

There wasn’t much space to get off the narrow road, so I ended up in the grass at an uncomfortable angle.  As always, I was a bit edgy as I left my trike and moved out of arm’s length of it. *smirk*  As pretty as the spot was, it SMELLED.  It was like old sheep poop that had been rained on a few times.  I know there must have been something to it, because Loke was rolling all through the grass.  It wasn’t like his usual wallowing, but like he was trying to smear the smell into his fur. 

Rune Stone From Iron Age Burial Field

 

I took a quick look at the sign and it mentioned a rune stone.  With a glance, I didn’t see anything obvious so peered at the map.  Yep.  Rune stone and should have been very close to where I was.  Finally, I took a closer look at the largest of the stones and yep, it was the rune stone.  It was just that the face with the runes was turned out toward the field instead of toward the path and the road. 

There was no little sign giving it an Upplands Runestone number though the rune translation was on the big sign at least.  And if you look to the right in the picture, you’ll see my trike up the grassy slope waiting on the edge of the road. 

There was obviously more to see around the area, but I couldn’t quite figure out where the rest of the burials were and I was feeling a bit itchy to go ahead and ride.  So, quite soon, Loke and I were back up the slope and creeping along the hill again.  A few cyclists past us and all had a wave with a cheery ‘Hej!’ for us. 

I was determined to take things slow, both for myself and for Loke.  If a gear felt comfortable, I went one lower to spare my knees.  I thought I’d done a good job doing so when I rode the last time, but obviously not so I was being extra cautious. 

Cloud Shadow and Sun Shine

 

It was a pretty area to go with a pretty day.  A nice mix of road shaded with trees followed by wide glimpses of greening fields.  At one intersection, I stopped to see if it was the one I wanted and a very nice couple on their bikes stopped to chat as they discussed going down the same turn.  They asked if I planned to do it, but since it was gravel and so early in the ride, I told them I was heading to the next one down.  After a few questions about my trike and Loke, we said farewell and went on our ways. 

This area was THICK with cultural heritage spots.  Less 4 miles after I’d left the first grave field, I took the turn to another. 

It was an unpaved road which left me grumbling a bit.  I dug out Loke’s socks to torture him with, but it was better than him limping with stone bruises.  In spite of the soft sections that left my tires dragging a bit, it wasn’t too difficult and I took it quite slow.  It was almost a mile before I came to a second grave field. 

An Oblong Stone Circle... I think?

 

There was a mini-van parked there and the older couple had a very sedate looking dalmatian.  For a wonder, she didn’t seem terribly phased by Loke, so we let them sniff each other and chatted a bit.  They asked about how far we were going and about Loke’s socks.  When they left, I went through the fence and wandered around the field a bit.  In spite of the sign with the map, it was very hard to make anything out since fields are more about stone arrangements than high mounds.  A shape of knee or thigh high stones with a bit of space between and 15 – 20 feet in diameter doesn’t look like much from ground level. 

Though the history of the spot (going clear back to the bronze age) sort of intrigued me, I again felt a bit uneasy at the idea of my trike sitting right on the edge of the road.  A large tractor had already narrowly missed it as I talked with the dalmatian owners.  I was a bit worried the tractor might come back and this time, not miss it.  Also, since the stones looked almost like random jumbles any glacier might have left, it was hard to feel the connection to the past. 

My plotted route actually had me continuing down the gravel road, but I decided to be kind to Loke’s feet and my knees by going back to the road.  1 mile of gravel to get to smooth paving with much less rolling resistance… or bouncing and pushing much harder over 2 or three miles.  Hmmm.  Choices. 

It was a couple miles in the warm sun, but the wind was cool enough to be pleasant.  Loke was actually wanting to go a bit quicker, but I was determinedly keeping his pace down.  I only let him run down hills and then it was still not his all out charges, but an easier sort of lope.  While I kept track of our distance, I absolutely refused to look at the speed and start obsessing. 

Boulder Road Sign

 

As I was coming up to our next turn, I could look across a stretch of field less than a quarter a mile across and see a church Loke and I would be visiting later.  With it so close, it felt a bit silly to turn away from it, but in hindsight, I’m quite glad we did.  At the next intersection, there was a stone road marker.  Instead of a thin slab of stone or iron on a square rock base, this one was… a stone.  A simple boulder with the names carved on it with no prep work.  A first for me! 

As I made my left turn (away from the church so close), I discovered I was on the Kustlinje (Coast Line/Path).  Like the Sverigeleden, it’s well marked, but with red signs instead of green.  You know, now that I think about it, most of what I rode today were spurs of the Sverigeleden, but I didn’t see a single green sign.  Hmm.  I guess it doesn’t really matter though. Hehe. 

As I made the turn, there was a fairly annoying series of hills, but I went at them with the same attitude I’d had for the rest of the ride.  I listened to the birds, patted Loke, enjoyed the play of sun and leaf shadow around me. 

Prettiest 'Road Weeds' I've Ever Seen

 

Oh, and can’t forget the constant stream of greetings to all the cyclists passing me.  I even was passed by what appeared to be a hard core racing team.  They were ripping along down the hill and all their gear matched!  Bikes, shoes, helmets, glasses and of course, jerseys and shorts!  They were setting a blistering pace that was quite impressive to see! 

I finally made it over what seemed to be a gradual ridge and was able to relax on the down slope for a bit.  I was a bit happy when I saw the signs for my next scenic stop though it amused me that it was another Granby.  And that is not a typo.  Within 3 miles of our apartment there are two places called Granby.  Then I discover this one, though it’s a quite a few miles further away. 

Uppland's Rune Stone #338 Side 1

 

Upplands Runestone #338 - Side 2

 

Zipping through the day which had gotten quite warm, I soon made a quick stop as a rune stone caught my attention more than usual.  I’d never seen one of this design.  The usual stone slabs I was quite accustomed to.  Boulder stones were still interesting, but I’ve seen a few of them.  This one was more like a giant 4 sided dice that had one point stretched up.  Only two of the three visible faces were inscribed.  I took a few minutes to walk around it to make certain the third side facing the field didn’t have something on it as well. 

I also took the opportunity to wet Loke’s ears down. 

About 400 meters further on, I reached one of the cultural heritage sites I’d been looking forward to.  I even had a moment of thinking, ‘Oooh’ when I saw there was a little cafe across the road from the parking lot. 

All thoughts of a cold drink for me and ice cream for Loke went flying as a female yellow lab came belling and running out of the yard of the house/cafe.  Her barks didn’t sound terribly aggressive, but the fur all down her spine and across her shoulders was standing straight up and she was not a Rhodesian Ridgeback cross.  I came out of the trike and put myself between her and Loke, even risking sticking my hand out to block her.  With me, she was friendly, even so far as licking my hand before trying to get around me to sniff Loke.  I wasn’t about to risk Loke’s boorish behavior to her temper though.  I know better. 

Fortunately, the owner came and herded Ester back to the yard and got one of her children to take her into the house.  With a regretful sigh, I turned my attention to new cultural heritage. 

Granby Uppland's Runestone #337 - Largest in Uppland

 

I was a bit disappointed when I saw it was mostly just another grave field.  There was one thing I did want to see in it though and that was Uppland’s largest stone carving.  It was a bit of challenge to navigate the slope and stones with my nightmarish cycle shoes, but it was manageable. 

Granby Grave Field & Village Remains

 

It was a pretty field, I have to admit.  All through the vivid green grass were thousands of these beautiful five petaled yellow flowers.  They seemed to glow in the sunlight as much because of their hue as well as the glossy nature of their petals.  Scattered here and there among them were little splashes of white and more subtle glimpses of tiny purple flowers peeking up beneath them.  My shoes and Loke’s feet were yellow from all the pollen. 

It turns out the stones I walked over and around were from a Viking/medieval settlement.  I never really saw the grave section of this site as it was somewhere on the other side of the runestone and I wasn’t about to walk THAT far out of sight of my trike.  Still, this was the farthest I’d ever gone from it to explore something like this. 

Orkesta Kyrka

 

From the old settlement, it was a short ride to Orkesta Kyrka.  It was feeling quite warm by the time we got here.  I parked the trike and went to explore the church yard with Loke. 

One thing I had noticed with the churches I’d seen today, was the bell towers were built within the church yard itself.  It didn’t seem to be terribly common.  Most of the time, the towers are placed across a road, or even hundreds of yards away and on top of hills.  A couple times, I know I’ve found the church and cycled on almost a quarter mile before at last finding the tower. 

There were a pair of runestones in the church yard.  I couldn’t find any signs for them though. 

What the...?

Pictures taken, I was walking out of the church yard.  As I do so, I tend to look at the grave stones to see what are the oldest I can find.  I passed one stone which looked rather new, but my cursory glance became a stunned stare and then a laugh. 

Sitting in the middle of a Swedish church yard was a stone to a Robert Montgomery of the 1700’s.  He was a colonel and boss for Nylands and Tawastehus and in a Dragoon regiment. 

It wasn’t so much the English name that floored me.  Our family name is Montgomery… and my brother’s name is Robert.  It was just one of those wierd coincidences.  It was only a fluke that I’d even looked at the stones at all, let alone walked out a different way then I went in. 

I had to send the picture to my family to give them all a laugh. Hehe. 

After leaving Orkesta church, it was back the way I came to head back to the church I’d seen across the fields hours ago.  More hills were tiring me out quickly and I was taking it even slower to save my knees.  I’d been keeping an eye on my GPS though.  I was determined to get at least 15 miles which would have given me a week total of 50.2 miles. 

Markim Kyrka

The turn to Markim Kyrka was on a bit of a welcome downslope.  I coasted down it with Loke still running pretty well beside me and came up to a farm.  A problem revealed itself.  A HUGE dog came running out of the farm yard.  It looked like a Bernard cross of some kind.  Fortunately, Loke had enough energy we managed to out run it and make it to the church. 

I did a quick circle of the church before parking in a shady spot to look at my maps and see if I could find some way out without passing the dog again.  My only option was over an unpaved road that looked VERY brutal.  It would have added 5 miles of distance, half of it over that nasty gravel of huge sharp stones and the other over ground I’d already covered. 

I knew I couldn’t do it.  Those 2+ miles over the unpaved would have taken about the last of my energy and would have meant trying to find a place for my husband to come get us where I wouldn’t be in arms reach of passing cars.  By the time I would have gotten back to new ground, I’d have been too exhausted to go on.  With a grumble about aggressive, loose dogs, I called and told him where to find me.  At least that was simple. 

So, it was a good day.  Perfect would have been reaching the castle on my route which would have given me over 15 miles for the day and 50 miles for the week.  As it stands now, I’m lacking 2.4 miles and tomorrow starts a new week.  All because of a dog and me getting tired. *sigh* 

Well, I’ll try again this week, right?

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