Engineer Fredrik Andersson took the chance and changed career path in life. Now he is building MTB trails with his own excavator and longs for it to be Monday so that the work week can start. It also means that he can build a security in the joints that he sometimes thinks shines with his absence.
You have re-saddled professionally and acquired an excavator to build flow trails on Kottaberget. What made you make that decision?
I ended up at a crossroads in life after working with the same thing for 27 years as an engineer, first as a self-employed person then in an international company. When that business was then to end in Sweden, I applied for a job at the head office in Switzerland. I had probably looked through every single MTB trail in the vicinity of Trailforks and Strava and had mentally already moved down when I got the call that I would not get the job. Then I decided to instead take the severance pay and take it easy (cycling) for six months to decide where my working career would go. Unfortunately, I stopped pretty much at the same time as Corona was a fact, so it had to be cycling in Sweden.
And how did you get caught up in the excavator?
You could say that for 4.5 months I did not know what to do, but one day I saw a Youtube clip of some guys who were dropped off by a helicopter on a peak in New Zealand and started working their way down with an excavator for to build a MTB trail. In fact, I did not even see the clip clearly until I had decided what to do next. I rented a mini excavator and test built for a day to see if it was fun and above all if I had any talent. Two weeks later I had my own excavator. Quite different from me to do something so impulsive but everything felt so right. Much like falling in love. In the same vein, I had been offered to dig a technology area for the local cycling club.
Watch the film about how Fredrik works on Kottaberget near Nora:
Many are considering changing careers in these turbulent times. Do you have any tips for those who go into that kind of thinking?
When I look back on my previous professional life, I experienced that job as fun. At the same time, I can probably say in retrospect that the job became a hassle where the negative had been normalized. If the business in Sweden had not been closed down, I might never have taken this chance. What was very negative instead became something positive. Now I long for Monday already on Friday afternoon. Examine yourself and think if what you do is the most fun thing you can do? Can and do you want to do something about it? I will definitely continue to research what I do and ask myself if this is what I will continue to do in the future.
You have worked a lot with security. How do you find the balance between challenge and security?
I have long been concerned that many machine-dug joints, especially green and blue, have obvious dangers directly outside the joint. It can be large rocks, a deep ditch, or even a precipice. When it comes to machine-dug joints, you have the opportunity, and in my opinion an obligation, to actually think about what it looks like outside the joint. There are always trees nearby, but if you make sure that you can brake in a controlled way even if you have gotten a little off the trail, you have increased safety. There is a lot to do. This summer I tried a newly opened green trail where it was almost 4 meters free fall if you went over the berm *.
* A structured dosed curve in a MTB joint.