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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Today we took the train down to Huddinge and biked the 6 or 7 kilometers to Flottsbro.

There, there is a relatively tall hill with a T-bar ski lift. We rode up the hill on our bikes by placing the T-bar under the saddle, behind the seat post.

There's quite a nice view from the top of the hill.

We met Patric there. Åsa is in Rome for education this week so Patric was riding her Kona Howler bike — a great bike for the sort of downhill trails at Flottsbro. As you can see, Patric also had the necessary protective gear.

After a quick dash down the hill, Matt and I met up with Lisa at the bottom and rode the cross-country trail marked with blue signs. The trail basically went right back up the trail that Matt and I had just come down. It was a hard climb, so we stopped halfway up to take some photos. The bridge across the water in the distance is a subway bridge, but to where, I'm not quite sure. Somewhere way to the Southwest of the city.

Moments after taking that last photo, the sun came out so I had to snap another one!

Patric didn't join us on the cross-country trail. Instead, he kept riding the lift up so that he could practice his downhill technique. We met him coming down as we were slogging it up the hill.

At the top again, this time under my own power — much more satisfying, but also more exhausting!

Hi Mom!

After the climb up the hill, the cross-country trail branches off to the right and into the woods. The terrain is quick rocky, but it was much drier than the woods in Ursvik yesterday. Still, some steep bits over mud-covered rock were a bit treacherous and I had to walk at in one place. At the end of the run, the trail empties back onto the ski slope. Matt blazed down the hill in his usual happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care way. But unfortunately for him, his luck ran out this time. He hit a bump at the bottom of the hil a bit too hard and crashed rather spectacularly. Both of his weels broke, and in one place spokes were broken and yanked clean out of the rim. Two of his three chainrings were broken. I was 50 meters behind him when he wiped out, and I saw the whole thing. It happened so quickly that I coudln't tell exactly what caused the wreck, but I think I have a good idea. I think the front wheel failed on impact with the log, and that the rear end of the bike swung around sideways, slamming into the ground from the side and causing the rear wheel and two chainrings to break too. Matt came off the bike and rolled twice before sliding to a stop in the gravel at the bottom of the hill. Incredibly, he wasn't badly hurt and got right back up to survey the damage to his bike. Suffice it to say it was an expensive crash!

Here are some shots of the damage caused by Matt's crash.


On Saturday, Lisa, Matt & I went for a quick ride around “NICKspåret” in Järvafältet.. It was wet and muddy, but otherwise okay.

Matt likes to storm down mud-covered trails at top speed, and the splatter testifies to his bravery/recklessnes.

I brought my waterproof pants and jacket, but didn't use them. It was warm enough outside that the extra layer would have been a bit too much; plus, after an hour's exertion on the bike, my clothes are soaked with sweat anyway.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I went biking today with Lotta, Lisa & Matt. We went down to Rudan and took two laps around the trail there.

It was sunny and warm, almost like a Summer day.

May was having fun the whole day, racing me on the uphill sections, and taking every jump he possibly could. I was lucky enough to catch this photo of him in mid-air.

Matt took this photo of me and the girls.

Done with our ride a few hours later, I took this photo with the timer. Today's ride was really nice. Rudan is a lot easier than Hellas, with lots more flat sections between the difficult bits. The trail is wider too, allowing riders to pass one another safely in many palces. Even though it's not as difficult, the trail in Rudan is challenging and exciting.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Matt and I went biking on NICK-spåret in Järvafältet on Saturday. It was cold and rainy, and the trails were quite wet and muddy. I wore the Arc'teryx Gore-Tex pants that Ethan got me a few years ago. In fact, this was the first time I had used them. They came in handy.

After a while, I took off my long-sleeved shirt and rain jacket because I was getting overheated. Riding with just a short-sleeved shirt but long pants worked well, even if it did mean that my upper body got soaked. With all the mud, the ride was challenging. Many of the uphill sections that I can usually ride I had to walk this time.

The next day, on Sunday, we went biking again — this time in Hellas, South of the city. Sunday was a much warmer and brighter day. The sun was shining the whole afternoon.

Plus, because it wasn't raining, the terrain was a lot less slippery than it had been on Saturday. A littlie moisture in the ground actually helps with traction, because it makes the dust into a harder packed dirt. But too much moisture makes the dirt into mud, and then it's even more slippery than the dusty ground would have been. Plus, if there is any water, moss, lichen, mud, or wet leaves on top of smooth granite, it's a recipie for disaster. In several places on Sunday, there was water flowing down the trail — runoff from the previous day's rainfall. In many of those sections where the water was flowing over exposed rock, I got off my bike and walked. Still, I stayed on my bike for most of the wet parts, and I fell a few times.

Once, my front wheel bottomed-out on a downhill section that was covered with roots and rocks. With the front wheel stuck on a root and my weight too far forward, I flew over the handlebars. Amazingly, I detached from both pedals and landed on my feet in front of the bike, even managing to keep hold of the handlebars with one hand! I wish I had gottan a movie of that fall!

I rode for a few hours with Matt, and then once again on the same trails with Åsa and Patric. Åsa was trying out her new mountain bike for the first time, and she did a spectacular job.

After the ride, we had a beer, coffee, and cake at their place in Hammarby Sjöstad. Then I biked home. I took this picture of the sunset from the bridge back to Södermalm.

At home the next day, I took a picture of the result of one of my crashes. The big chain-ring scraped across my calf after I slipped on slippery granite and put my foot down to try to catch myself. I look like I've been attacked by a mutan nine-clawed bear!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Saturday's bike ride with Lisa & Matt did not have an auspicious beginning. I got a flat tire near Kungsträdgården. Then, when we were putting on the spare, the tube got pinched and we ended up putting a hole in that tube too! We patched the spare and headed South across Gamla Stan, and then beyond to Hammarbybacken via Danvikstull.

We climbed to the top of the hill there, which has Stockholm's only ski lift. It was a tough climb! I tried to bike straight up the path and got exhausted only halfway up the first steep bit. So I got off my bike, caught my breath, and then tried again, this time curtting across the hill, and making my own switchbacks instead of going straight up the fall line. That strategy paid off and I made it up the rest of the way. Here, Lisa poses at the top and celebrates the accomplishment!

Matt and I at the top, with Hammarby and Globen in the background.

Lotta lives in one of those buildings down there, but I'm not sure in which.

After the climb up Hammarbybacken, we took a little ride in the forest. Matt led us on a quick tricky trail. We were glad to take a rest by a lillypad-covered lake.

On the way back North through the city, we encoutered a band playing what sounded like gypsy music. It was fun to listen to -- very lively and upbeat.

Matt & Lisa listening to the music.