So, as I have said before, last month was officially not the best September ever. Or perhaps it is more correct to say that it is the worst utilized glorious September ever. While the weather was absolutely FANTASTIC, the only thing I did was work work work, caugh, shiver, and work some more. Those few glorious days in Bygdsiljum were truly glorious, but a hill can never outweigh a mountain and this September deserved a mountain.
In addition to my deprived consumption of mountains, I completely failed to fill my subsistence level of rides on the flatlands due to a virus with megalomania (I think that it’s convinced that it can mutate into tuberculosis if it just keeps at it long enough). Ever since the end of August, I’ve felt as if someone poured a tank of diesel into my lungs. But just every other day. The other days, I feel fine, and then, all of a sudden, I get that splendid diesel feel again. Very weird, and completely impossible for me to handle. I either have to be sick, or well. This semi-sickness kills me. I don’t know what to do with it. I am way to restless to lie on the couch, and way to sick to do anything aside from work. Yes, I’m at it again, whine whine. But what the hell do you do with these things? I said fuck it, and celebrated the end of September with a road trip to Östersund and Cecilia Thomasson, twice world champion in MTBO and a helluva nice person.
I love road trips – the feeling of driving into the great wide open – but driving long distances all alone scares the shit out of me. I hate to admit it, since I really would like to give an image of myself as this independent and strong person, but its true. I never feel as close to insanity as when I’m alone in the car on a deserted road. Extremely free, and very close to a mental breakdown at the same time. Do you ever get that feeling? That you’re in a bubble and reality slips away? Maybe its just me. In any case, this was the first 380 km on my own (embarrassing but true), so I have to admit that I was a bit nervous, but the Lloyd carried me safely all the way through. I just went mental once.
To avoid traffic, and calm my nerves, I took the slightly longer road via Dorotea, with the hope to see some reindeer and perhaps a lynx (no, not really). I saw neither, but I actually got to see an ermine scamper across the road (still in its summer dress, and very cute), and stunning views. I love the northern inland.
After a 5 hour ride through epic desertedness, I reached Fursteli Gård. Ah, Fursteli Gård in Fugelsta… I really don’t think that I can give the place a righteous description. It is just so frantically fantastic. From the outside, its just a picturesque village some 10 km outside of Östersund. But Fugelsta is more than that, since the village almost entirely consists of a bunch of friends who share an intense interest for living life the way life should be lived – outdoors and downhill, together and with a huge smile on their faces.
When I arrived to this stunning place, I stumbled straight into the project of the year – to turn the forest uphill into a bike playground. The project was initiated by Johan, who was born on the farm and who owns the land. When everything is in place, there will be 15 km of jump and play 5 minutes from the village. Right now, the crew is working on the downhill section. I really can’t think of a better activity for a virus infected body on speed than driving a dumper and building jumps in the forest. It does wonders for the mind, and apparently also for my lungs.
If the afternoon in the forest calmed my nerves, the October fest in the evening warmed my heart, and filled my stomach. Cecilia had told me that we were to have a party in some burrow in the yard. I thought she meant figuratively. Not at all. And we all wore mustaches, drank bear and ate fantastic goulash. Splendid October.
When I woke up the morning after, I sort of expected that my virus would finally have managed to tear my lungs into pieces, but instead I was greeted by a surprisingly happy body (as I said before; trail building, Fugelsta air and beer IS good for both mind and body) and the slanted rays of the October sun. A long tour to the mountains was out of the question, but with the virus momentarily chased away, I and Cissi decided to go riding at Frösön.
I hate to repeat myself, but the word that comes to mind is that word, WOHOO! Gah, I need Swedish words! I don’t know why the word “DUDE!” comes to mind, but to me that sounds like how I feel inside when I think about the trails running up and down that little mountain. There is something for everyone – from XC to proper DH. We had only brought our trail bikes and no full face helmets, so we refrained from going down the trails containing big drop offs, but the trails that we did go down were definitely challenging enough- fairly steep, slippery as soap and fun as hell. My wohoo and dude-experience was not made less intense by the fact that we had the privilege to charge up and down those trails with what is perhaps best described as 3 big smiles and a rocket dog called Kungen (the king).
When we got home, we were first greeted by home made cinnamon buns and hotdogs by the trail building crew, and then by Martin who cooked us an Ethiopian dinner for five. I have no idea what anything was called, but I’ve eaten Ethiopian cooked by Ethiopians and I can say that Martin did real well. We ate until we dropped. Then we watched Danny Macaskill and dreamed of the mountains of Scottland and the Alps, and then I fell a sleep.
The next day was a Sunday. I hate Sundays. Sundays almost always means heading back to stomach aches and raising cortisol levels. But before I had to rush back to reality, Cissi took me out on a ride on the trails built by the Fursteli crew. Winding, bouncing, flowy trails, on which I managed to stand on my head, get some air, and see a moose. It was a great ending to a great weekend.
Back in a rainy Umeå, I realized that October seems surprisingly much like September workwise, and surprisingly little like September weatherwise. I wish I could have just jumped straight out of reality and stayed on that beautiful farm and its wonderful people.