4 September 2006

SSWC06 #1

Finally got a free day, and what a month it has been so far, so I will give it a crack at filling in a few details for ya.

It’s not been all work though, with a week or so in Sweden, racing the Singlespeed (MTB) World Champs in Stockholm and a bit of a tiki tour, the month started out sweet. I picked up another Kiwi from Amsterdam en route to pick up a third in Stockholm, kind of a makeshift team for the SSWC, serious all the same. Sweden, of course is now my sister country, working with the Swedish road and TT champ Susanne, and wrenching at the Worlds and the European Champs for Sweden, I thought it was about time to have a look around.

The city scape, looking from the old city.

We had a few days before the race, this was going to be painful as I have not been on a bike, bar the odd test ride here and there. My fitness was sitting well below average, but the legs were keen on a bit of a spin, and it is my only time to after the Worlds at the end of this month, I was excited. We headed towards the second largest lake in the country, where we heard there was a few trails. And it was nice to get a bit of mud on your face, and smell the dank air deep in forest, it brought back good memories of home trails, and great to spin the legs after 1300km hours driving. We caught the ferry from the top of Germany, to the middle of Denmark, and for a few euros it cut about 250km off the trip, plus forced you to rest for 45min’s, it was perfect. We hit Denmark just as the sun was going down, and small drive to the bridge to Sweden. After spending time on the highways of Germany, France and the like, where a speed limit is not necessary, Denmark and Sweden should get with the program. 110km on the highway is quite slow after a spin through Germany, we cruised at 160 km\hr through the night up the middle of Sweden, and passed a Cop car while doing 169, opps. It was late, just past midnight, so I slowed to 130 and pulled in as he sat behind me for a while. We were joking that in safe Sweden, he was on the radio getting instructions on what to do as it was the first time he had seen a speeder in ten years. Just then the lights went on and he pulled us over, damn it. After a car and license check (which of course I passed) I got the obligatory lecture on what the speed limit was (110km) and sent on my merry way.

Lake Vattern, and yes they were slippery.

Stockholm was good, we had a wicked hostel in an old converted jail from last century, this was smack in the middle of all city, the riding was close, and so was the race, the rain had stopped and we were meeting a few of the players sniffing around the city. It was good to catch up with some of the more colourful characters, and see what they were riding this year. We picked up the third Kiwi member of the team and went for some sight seeing, this was an old port form years gone by. The city is full of islands, all with their own character, some wicked old houses, all made from wood, strange for Europe, and plenty of nice little trails and bike paths everywhere, a real bike friendly city. It has an older area, which is as like it was for hundreds of years, big stone buildings on stone streets, so nice at night with all the little alleys, falling off the street, a real time warp, back to the days of a port full of ships and a whole lot of pirates walking around. We didn’t have a parrot for our shoulder but we did have a monkey on our backs, Andy, the fourth member of the team. He couldn’t make it this year, due to him being useless, so we have a replacement Andy, and so far he has worked out better. Causing no fights, and man can
he ride, every time I look over my shoulder, he is there, and quiet, out with the old, in with the new, that’s my thinking.

Meet the new Andy, carbo loading for the race.

The inside of the prison, built something like 1755, closed 1975, our hostel for the week.

We had a couple of days discovering the city and the surrounds. The riding was all with in a half hour ride, over a few islands, and few a bridges, no need for cars around here. The race was a few days away, so time for a bit of riding. There seemed to be a change in the people the race attracted, a lot of lookers and wannbes, busy discussing gear ratios when a fine Swedish girl rides past on a granny bike. More interested in talking than walking, It’s starting to loose it’s special character, I think.

Some of the nightlife, admiring my bike.

Cut and paste the link below, or off to the right you should see one soon. Part 2, coming soon.

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