Wermlandian Yonder 2020

2 long days in the saddle riding through Värmlands län

Perspective — Danny’s.

A few years back our friend Klas set off for a solo ride in his home county of Värmland. The idea was pretty straight forward — set off from Karlstad, ride 200+km North taking in a handful of brutal climbs. Stay the night up there. Ride 200+km back the next day (avoiding the climbs).

And so it went. And then almost a year passed by, and the ride was planned again.

This pattern repeated itself. In the meantime Klas moved back to Karlstad. And then, on edition 4, I was lucky to be invited to join along with some other lovely riders. Very much a “Lads on tour” vibe, albeit with none of that actual sort of vibe you just conjured up in your minds eyes. Actually, more of a “Friends re-united” vibe when we rocked up to his house. It was lovely.

BBQ was eaten, chats were had.

Then on to prep. The route was 99.9% tarmac, so it made sense to take road bikes. We needed to pack light but carry essentials for rain and colder weather. And of course a toothbrush.

Bar bags, frame bags and saddle bags were fine. I was actually riding in the prototype All day bib shorts too — cargo pockets are just so handy!

Folköl opened and we hit the garage to start the seemingly endless faff cyclists are so accustom to.

How it started:

How it went — race bikes look so cool kitted out like this!

My LOOK 695
James's Cervelo R5
Klas's Argon18

Day 1

Alarms were set early, everything was prepped. So a hearty breakfast and off we rolled.

The weather was kind — nice blue sky and sunshine to head into. Nothing quite like that feeling of the sun hitting you to balance out the early morning chill.

The first tens od Kms seemed to drift by in a blissful manner. Stopped near a church for a nature break (standard). Took a snack break in a town called Sunne (loaded up with Fanta).

Powerful stuff.
Note the valve cap someone snuck on to Klas's front wheel.

The first “wow” moment I recall happened as we rode along the Eastern shore of a lake called “Rottnen” (the name doesn’t read quite as beautifully as the photos look). This was around 90km in.

Our next target was our lunch stop. A town called Torsby, about 125km in (roughly half way). The road there was fantastic. Undulating, fast and free of traffic. Motivation for the promised land of a small-town pizzeria was hard to contain.

It felt great to arrive. The sun was out and we took up a table perfectly situated to watch the town go by. And what a show it was — a mix of vintage American muscle cars, old modified Volvos the youth love to roll in (Google “epatraktor”), and even a nearly-new fancy-pants-modded Volvo V90 (huh?!)

Lunch done, mood good, off we set again.

Then a few km later a mechanical hit, if you can call it. Patch’s Di2 battery was flat — unfortunately for him he hadn’t charged it ahead of the ride, and no one had a cable for it. There were no bike shops in the vicinity, and out of options, it looked like he was going to be stuck Single speed for the remaining 100-ish km. Whoops!

Sensing this might be a case of “too many chefs” I took a few pedal strokes back, then took this photo to preserve this precious memory.

Undeterred Patch continued with us — he rode the rest of the ride single speed!

We rolled through more beautiful countryside taking in the sun and sights. We soon neared the first of the “proper” climbs — Hovfjället. A 7km climb up to a small ski resort. While not massive, after the day we’d had so far, it felt like a mountain. We unloaded some bags and had at it. James attacked and was quickly out of sight, finishing a solid 2 mins ahead of the next of us.

Views from the top were great. The feeling of a proper descent was even greater — hitting around 80km/h.

Roughly 50km left — and suddenly this sounded like a long way. So we took a pika paus at a gas station 20km later. Can’t cancel fika under any circumstance.

“Oh sh*t! The village store we needed get supplies from closes at 1800. We better hustle!”

We made it to the store with about 5 mins to spare. Loaded up with snacks, pasta and folköl, and slogged out the remaining 30-ish km to the cabin.

The aero bar is open
H&O bike packing prototype v0.1 — needs work

Destination reached. BBQ fired up. We ate, ate some more, then ate some more. Then slept.

Day 2

The plan to get back was simply to ride pretty direct to Karlstad. No significant climbs of note, instead more mission-focused.

As such, not much really happened, so there’s not a great deal to re-tell.

We set off in rain. Otto got a puncture. We stopped for lousy gas station fika. Klas wore his arm warmers on his wrists. We smashed it most of the way back.

Fika of dreams.
Style never goes out of fashion.

Outtro

It felt great to get back. Patch charged his battery and then he and Otto set off to their hotel in Karlstad to continue a week of riding.

We de-faffed, packed the car, bumped fists and headed back to the capital. Can’t remember much of the drive home, but there was at least one Max burger involved I think.

Why so many photos of Klas and no one else? Well, I don’t wanna give other brands too much free exposure, and James can’t not pull a stupid face whenever a photo is being taken.

What about a Wermlandian Yonder 2021? Yep, taking place in early July. I’m already starting the faff for it.

Oh, and remember that valve cap? Well look what I found what I was cleaning my bike at the end…

I got got.

Thanks for reading!

Danny — H&O.

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