Some people are rootless. Being rootless isn’t necessarily negative of course, it may just mean that your home is where your hat (or helmet) is. I, however, do not consider myself to be a rolling stone.
Quite the contrary, my root is firmly based in the dark soil of Västerbotten. Umeå may not be the most spectacular town in the world when it comes to natural scenery, but it may well be the most spectacular town in the world on other merits. It is the town where I could go to Hard Core and Punk concerts and hang out when I was 13. It is the town that made MacDonald’s close down the first time it tried to open. It is the town where a lot of people focus more on making a nicer society than making money. It is the town where some of the most spectacular people I have ever met live.
Damnit, I didn’t think that leaving would be this hard! I’ve only been away for a few weeks, and I’m in one of the most beautiful places on earth, but I miss Umeå. I miss those people. I miss them like crazy.
But now I am here. I can grow more roots. Just give it time. Bah, giving things time is not really my cup of tea. I want results instantaneously! So when my friend Tanja told me that there is an initiation rite to become a true Tromsøer, I jumped on the opportunity. Said and done, I and Martin set out to climb Tromsdalstind (1238 asl) yesterday. Naturally, our bikes tagged along.
Tromsdalstind is probably not the most common goal for mountainbikers. Probably because the trail up to the ridge is off camber for the most part, and because the ridge itself is rock heaven. But as some of you may know, Martin is not like most mountainbikers. And I think that part of his insanity is starting to rub off, because I happily (ok, I grunted a few times) carried my bike through the first couple of rock gardens.
Martin of course carried his bike all the way to the summit.
You are supposed to see a pretty large part of Troms from the top of Tromsdalstind. I can’t say that we saw much at all, but we tucked ourselves against the summit cairn, ate our sandwiches (stuffed with brown cheese of course) and felt pretty good about ourselves anyway. 1238 asl!
Then our real initiation rite commenced. Riding down. I think that Martin really deserves to call himself a Tromsøer now.
Although I failed at carrying my bike all the way to the summit, I think that I did a fairly decent job claiming that mountain too. The trail from where I left my bike was definitely what Martin would call type 2 riding. Loose, relatively steep, with shark fins popping up every once every while. I had to constantly remind myself to point my tits where I was going and my ass towards where I was coming from. The trail was definitely calling out to me to eat it’s dust. I nearly did.
But just nearly. By the time we reached the end of the ridge and started our descent down into the valley, I was completely exhausted, and very happy. I did it!
Then we just had to make it through the off camber and switchback section of the trail before reaching the flowy section at the valley floor.
My fear of ledges does seem to have improved, but damnit, that part was hard!
It was an excellent opportunity to practice on keeping my eyes high and not at the rock in front of my front wheel.
And then, all of a sudden, we were down on the semi-flats. Tromsø welcomed us, its new true citizens, with flattering flowy trails going all the way from Tromsdalstindens foot to the end of the gravel road where we had parked Ralf.
So now I am finally entitled to call myself a Tromøer. I still miss those people back home, I think I always will. But there is room in my heart for more.