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You don’t become one of the best aviators of your generation without knowing what cloud formations mean and how they might impact your flying. Personally I think when Russ.K looked at those cloud questions I asked him yesterday he thought to himself “man, you are about to get absolutely smashed Nick”. However being the gentleman he is he waxed lyric about the technicalities of the clouds and merely alluded to the possibility of unsettled weather.
So let the record show. Today were the worst climatic / meteorological conditions I have EVER cycled in. At one stage I was freewheeling up a hill and then rounded a peninsula and had to pedal to go downhill.
I passed numerous cyclists going in both directions who were huddled in tunnels or bus shelters for protection, or who had dismounted from their bikes and were walking them. I passed and had pass me motorcyclists who had both feet down on the bitumen to stabilise themselves from the crosswind.
Catastrophic conditions is how I would best describe it .
The day had started so well too. Sun view at 12.01 am .
9 km into the ride I saw the first of many benchmarks for the day. At this stage it was relatively calm and “only “ blowing about 10 knots gusting to 15. When I had left camp I bumped into the owner who asked me which way was I was headed . When I replied “Nordkapp “ he said “ well look after yourself because I saw the weather forecast this morning and it’s forecast for the wind to blow 19 m/s. Now I have no idea what 19 m/s wind feels like because I have only ever measured wind in knots , km per hour, or force 1-7. I was soon about to discover.
The first fishing hamlet and bay were a picture of misleading calm . It was soon after this that the winds became stronger . Very very much stronger. Extremely stronger.
In these sort of winds a beached fishing boat is probably the safest place for it.
The occasional tree and the angle of its lean was a good barometer of what the winds are like in this part of the world.
Little surprise then to see this sign. “Only” another 73 km of being absolutely smashed to go. Lovely!
On one of the rare occasions I was able to lift my head and look sideways I was blessed to witness this view.
The road narrows after about 25km and hugs the cliffs that seem ready to fall on top of you. Protection from the wind then? Pffft.
For 7.5 minutes the clouds parted and I witnessed blue sky and a fleeting view of the sun then just as quickly both were gone. Rock formations were interesting at least. Layered as they were.
Not sure how the phone wasn’t ripped out of my hand by the wind for this shot.
Soon I ran into Andrew from Yorkshire who was going in the the opposite direction . Readers will recall he is cycling from Trondheim to Nordkapp then down through Finland, Eastern Europe and finishing in Athens. He had got to Nordkapp yesterday , proclaimed the last 30 km to be “brutal” and then was on his way.
Soon thereafter Franck the Frenchman appeared. He too had got to Nordkapp late last night . Had tried to pitch a tent that disappeared over the horizon and now was making his way 190 km back down the same road he had ridden the last 3 days in order to get back to Alta for a flight home. Why?
I’ve included this photo as it was here that I was in the easiest of my 30 gears riding into a headwind doing 3.4 km per hour.
I came across Simon from Stockport near Manchester who after walking his bike DOWN a hill and then decided a bus shelter would be a good place to hide for 45 mins. He might well still be there tonight . Didn’t even bother propping his bike up .
I then entered the infamous Nordkapp tunnel. Just under 7 km in length it disappears almost 700 feet below sea level. The gradient going down and up the other side is 9%. Think about that for a second . 9% gradient climb for 3.5 km inside a tunnel some 600-700 feet under water. Oh throw in a passing truck and car for sound effect.
Great. Only another 3 km to go . And it’s all uphill at this point.
At this point I know which direction I would run in an emergency.
“Here comes a truck “ look.
Looking back down 6.5 km of tunnel.
Came out of the tunnel and this mighty good looking fella was standing there gazing at me with a look of incredulity on his face. “Are you nuts ? In this weather ? “ he seems to be asking .
Almost there ! Honningsvåg tonight and then 38km tomorrow as I am actually staying in camp a little further away.
One ridiculous extreme day of riding that will live long in the memory . Truly ridiculous.
The one saving grace of the day? Emerging from the last tunnel of the day there was a car honking its horn in glee behind me. That would be wifey then.KSR. She had flown to Tromsø , picked up a car and driven over 400 km to ensure she’d be there tomorrow for the finish. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face with stainless steel. It’s not so much the experience it’s who you share it with. I am humbled and privileged to have at my side.