Ride Report: Skånes west coast and inwards

Today, I thought I saw one of my idols. Riding along the west coast with CK Lunedi, we rolled by the Hilleshögs road race, just to take a peak. As we entered the parking lot filled with cars with fancy Cervelos on roof racks, my heart began to long for the race days of last spring that seem so long ago. To qualm my nostalgia, I decided to keep my eyes out for Emilia Fahlin, Swedish national women’s cycling champion, winner of the 2009 Tour of California womens’ crit, HTC-Columbia team member, and my same age. Yup. I’m sorta jealous. I thought maybe she would be there because, well, what else is a bike-racin’ Swede to do on a warm Skåne sunday?

As we climbed the hill opposite direction of the course, several packs zoomed by. The first few where the men, and although I did my best to try and compare their speed with the Men’s A races I’ve watched back home, my breathlessness prevented me from making any sort of quantitative judgment. But those dudes seemed fast. Then came the women’s packs. There were fewer women, and they were strung out a bit more. I looked hard as I saw the rainbow of spandex approaching, and there she was! A woman with one heck of a race-face was pulling the leading cluster. She had a long blond ponytail and was wearing a Swedish-flag jersey. It has to be her, I thought. I don’t know how I found the strength to make it to the top of the hill and hold back my enormous desire to scream “EMILIA!” at the same time.

Good thing, because when I got home I checked Emilia’s facebook fan page, and there read an update stating “In Belgium (six hours ago)” and was reminded that Emilia Fahlin is a pro cyclist that probably has better things to do than zip around Landskrona on a warm Skåne sunday.

I, however, am not a pro cyclist (never happening) and personally think that the best possible thing to do on a warm Skåne Sunday is zip around on two wheels. So I did.

I showed up this morning in Clemenstorget, ready and willing for the proposed 120 km ride (around 75 miles). The ride leader looked at me sort of doubtfully, re-stated the terms of the ride, and asked “Är du med?” Are you still up for it? My answer was of course nothing other than a resounding JAAAAA!!! and we rolled out of Lund and into the expansive Skåne landskap.

The way out wasn’t bad because I could hang on to the pack. I actually felt as if I had gotten stronger since my last ride, a feeling I hadn’t experienced since a year ago during race season. It also help that we were ‘medvinden’ (the wind was with us). We headed North West until the sea became visible over the curvature of the potato fields, and then bent north along the gentle shoreline. We easily managed a couple hills, indulged in rolling spectatorship of Hilleshögs RR (and saw the Emilia-look-alike), climbed a seaside bluff, and descended one of the most beautiful roads I have ridden in Sweden (think gently curving, new asphalt surrounded by vibrant green fields and the two pure blues of the ocean and the sky meeting Danmark on the horizon) into the small harbor village of Ålabordarna. In Ålabordarna we stopped at the harbor kiosk were we bought coffee and freshly baked kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls).

And now I offer you photographic proof:

Kanelbulle: This beats blue-berry-pomegranate-pineapple-whatever GU any day.

Oh yeah, and I WASN’T THE ONLY GIRL! yayayay!

We sat there in Ålabordarna for a little bit, enjoying the sunshine, the bullar, and cracking up at a pudgy old man who walked up to the very cold ocean in a bathrobe, ditched the bathrobe, and dove in head first.

Soon it was time to stick iväg (get going) and the pleasantries of seaside pastries where soon forgotten during a steep (hey, it was steep, ok!) climb back up to the plain. The way home was tougher, longer, and we were motvinden (against the wind). We headed inland, where there rollers and some bigger hill-like creatures to fight with, and the wind was absolutely without mercy. Let’s just say ‘stay with the pack or die’ is a lesson I am still learning the hard way. We continued through pastoral land and climbed up a hill, at the top of which was a bronze-age mound burial site and an enormous pile of wood, in preparation for next week’s semi-pagan celebration of Valborg, during which all of Sweden is lit by bonfires and intoxicated young people.

After the grave sight there weren’t any serious hills to deal with (although nothing here is really a serious hill, I guess). But the wind, o the wind. It sucked the life out of me. I hung on as long as I could, but when Lund was finally in sight, a few others and I dropped back and took it calm for the rest of the way in. So the verdict for this time is: only sort of dropped.

On the plus side, someone who was along on the ride said his computer calculated an average speed of 29,4 km/hr (18.26 mph) which for me is not bad (actually quite good) over such a distance. No wonder my legs are tired. If only I could be like Emilia….

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3 Responses to “Ride Report: Skånes west coast and inwards”

  1. Sabrina Says:

    To quote Alia, “baller”

    Seriously, sounds beautiful and like you’re getting heaps of riding in! Congrats on the last post as well. I told my mom that you’re fluent in Swedish since I figured she’d think it was very cool. 🙂

  2. tornspira Says:

    Haha, thanks, but you sorta lied to you own mom. Not quite fluent yet! But still got a little time to work on it!

    I wish you were here to show these Swedes that Californians in general don’t get dropped as much as I do 🙂

  3. Sabrina Says:

    Lol, from the plans you’ve got in the works for this summer, it sounds like you’ll be dropping me pretty heftily when we’re back on the road. When do you actually finish up with classes, etc?

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