GOING NOWHERE, SLOWLY
I had breakfast at a café attached to the campground this morning, and was on the road by 9.15. The camp sight was in a lee, out of the wind, but I could see the trees being whipped about on the side of the road and I knew before I set off that it would be a tough day.
By the time I’d been going for 20 minutes, I knew that ‘tough’ didn’t really cut it as an accurate description of the torment I was in. Not only was I facing a ferocious wind that roared down the valley slowing me to a crawl, but also a 700 meter climb up to one of Norway’s highest mountain passes. I made incremental progress up towards the summit, passing ski resorts as I went, scowling darkly at the cars as they went by, oblivious to my suffering.
After a couple of hours of this, I passed a Norwegian couple cycling from Trondheim to the south coast to see their daughter. They were collapsed on the side of the road, having had enough for the day – the woman spoke english, and told me that her husband had competed in an annual road race between Trondheim and Oslo six times, and had only once seen winds like these – that year the race was cancelled after 40km due to the conditions. Indeed, as I climbed higher, there were warning signs out declaring that there were ‘dangerous conditions’ on the pass.
Crossing the summit was tortuous: there was no clear top, rather the ground leveled out at around 1100 meters, and wound through a high plain for around 7 miles. The wind at that altitude was ridiculous – I crawled along, hanging to my bike the best I could, occasional cross-winds threatening to blow me off. I stopped as the road began to descend for some coffee and cake at a café, looked at the map, and decided to call it a day at the town. Even the first couple of downhill miles were slow – it’s rather discouraging to have to pedal to keep moving downhill! Finally the gardient steepened, and soon enough I was in Dombas, pitching my tent at a camp ground with a great view down the valley. It’s been the shortest day so far, at a little over 60 miles – but I feel exhausted. I just hope the wind let’s up tomorrow!