Yesterday the grey skies threatened rain and they delivered. Today the rain filled clouds threatened to give way to some sun. They didn’t. Parts of today were what I imagine riding a bicycle underwater would be like.
Again my heartfelt thanks to the owner of the campsite last night who warned me about the road closure of part of my route today. This was the turn off I was meant to take. It was belting rain when I got to this point of the ride today and with my head down and brow furrowed you can be sure had I not been forewarned I would’ve blindly followed my navigational system and turned here and ridden 40 km tonthe closure. Then ridden 40 km back to here.
As I commented yesterday better to be lucky than smart. Which, as that quote comes from a previous boss, now good friend, Andy.S, I got to thinking about bosses I’ve had over the years. I was fortunate, very very fortunate to start my career with two of the very best. Andy.S and Frank D.B. . They were instrumental in shaping the early years of my professional development and as a consequence heavily influenced my personal development too. Both of them outstanding in their fields of work and just very very good human beings with an enlightening approach to the balance of life. I am privileged to have met them and dedicate today’s ride to them both.
The rain got so heavy I took respite in someone’s garbage bin hut and donned my heavy duty wet weather gear. Neoprene over boots, waterproof overtrousers , neoprene riding gloves, my fetching fluorescent shower cap for the helmet and of course my trusty “can see you from the moon” day glow jacket . Nicely coloured and maintained hut it was too.
A house in Norway painted a colour other than clay brown with white trim, and an oversized troll statue in the driveway. Two sights you don’t expect to see on the roads of Norway.
Another favourite road sign of mine. Although given how wet it was I wasn’t exactly freewheeling with speed or unbridled joy down it. On a dry day I’d probably be daft enough to try and set a new land speed record. Today I was on the brakes all the way down, and am pretty sure that once at the bottom you could’ve fried some eggs on my brake discs.
Once at the base of the valley I rode alongside a fjord that even in belting rain was impossibly beautiful with waterfalls and a dusting of snow over my right shoulder .
This is the municipality of Bindal, Home to the 1063 metre high Heilhornet Peak which is one of the most famous landmarks along the Hegeland Coast. Unfortunately Mother Nature decreed that I wasn’t allowed to see it today.
I did see plenty of mussel farms and yet more fjords.
I took this photo of my navigational system to highlight what cycling fjords is all about . You’ll look across a piece of water to where you’re going and as the crow flies, in this instance it’s probably no more than 400 meters. By the time you’ve actually cycled down into neck of the fjord and back along the other side it’s multiples of that crow fly distance. One example today was a 400 metre gap from where I stood but was actually 3 tunnels and 9.2 km to the other side.
When the rain relented momentarily I stopped for lunch. Some homemade sandwiches, extra eggs that I had boiled this am , and the regualtory 3-4 (was actually 5 today) Oreos all washed down with Norwegian mountain spring water sourced directly from a roadside waterfall. Oh, and the view wasn’t half shabby either .
Went through 3 of these today. In pouring rain they offered a welcome respite from the inclement weather. Quite cosy in fact.
Came across and chatted to about 10 retired gentlemen from Namsos at a roadside cafe who were mostly riding motorobikes from the 1970’s. “To remind us of a time in a life when we had a lot of fun” said their leader and spokesperson.
The aforementioned cafe. Now the reason the coffee cup gets a show is that I walked in and asked the owner if he did coffee. He replied he did and proceeded to pour me a cup from a glass coffee jug of the type you see waiters in American roadside diners use. Probably 2-3 days old. I asked if he had milk and got a negative answer. Sugar ? Ah yes , and he dusted off an old glass sugar pourer. When I asked how much for the coffee I was half expecting him to take pity on my drenched state and give it to me for free. Ha! He errred and arrrd and then as though he was plucking a random number from the skies told me it would be 25 NOK. That’s close enough to £2.50. ( AUD $ 4.37) Welcome to Norway . I bet those bikers didn’t pay 25.
After an 80km cycling bath I got to Holm where the ferry would take me across to my campsite in Vennesund for the night . (Another over priced rort but that’s a story for another day )
Now what do we think a human relationship psychologist would say about this couple. She’s catching flies in her sleep and hes hunched over the steering wheel clasping his ears as the ferry steamed westward. They were Swiss.
As we queued to board the ferry I took time out to seek this truck driver. I wanted to thank him for his patience on a particularly narrow and technical part of the road some 10 km back. At that point I could hear him approaching under full steam and then change down his gears to slow to a crawl as he approached me. Driving at my cycling speed for about 100 meters he waited until he was sure he could give me enough room then swerved around me and steamed off . When I caught up with him at the ferry queue I asked if he spoke English and when he replied yes I said - “ Sir , from all cyclists but this Australian one in particular I want to thank you for your patience back there. You’re an oustanding driver and it’s appreciated . “ ....... “Ahh , thank you and I wish you safe travels “ he replied .
The world is a good place full of good people. He is one of them.
Belting rain all day it finally relents as I check into camp and I take a cabin to dry out . Won’t be no tent tonight .