Wind and Rain

EUROPE 10

22/06/2011

WIND AND RAIN

I packed up inside the tent this morning: yesterday’s rain had persisted through the night, and I wanted to keep everything dry. Still this presented a unique challenge – packing two pannier inside a cost one man tent is not the easiest thing in the world and requires some odd (and probably quite comical) contortions. Packed, I ate breakfast and made some coffee, under th porch of the reception building, all in good time to get on the road for 9. Just as I was about to leave, a older german gentleman started talking to me – turns out he’s doing a loop of Finland, Sweden and Norway by bike and train. We chatted for a bit, and although this delayed me I proved quite useful: he recommended a free book from the reception that lists all the ferry times for the costal route – information I badly needed.

When we lived in Norway, Dad used to commute to work by bike – wearing a dry-bag. After today I can see why: it wasn’t the heaviest rain is ever riden in, but it was persistent and freezing cold. To make matters worse, I had the wind against me for most of the day – not a strong wind, but enough to make a difference. I wrapped up in all my warm gear, as well as all my rain gear and pressed on. Just when I was starting to feel a bit sorry for myself I passed an older woman pushing her bike uphill – I stopped to make sure she was alright, and she confirmed that she was fine, just tired. After that encounter I felt a bit better – however bad a day you might be having someone’s always worse off.

After about 55 miles I reached Ørnes, from where I had to get a ferry to avoid a tunnel that prohibits cyclists. I’d made better time than I thought I would, and had about an hour an a half to wait for the ferry. The first hour was fine: I ensconced myself in a cafe and had a fried breakfast and buckets of coffee to try and warm up. It was the half hour that I spent at the harbour, waiting in the rain for the ferry, that was painful: my clothes are designed to keep you comfortable when on the bike, so aren’t much good at warming you when you’re standing about. By the time I got inside the passenger lounge I was a human icecube – it took the entire half hour journey to warm up.

Although the journey took half an hour, the ferry only took me across a small bay, to where I could use a local road to avoid the tunnel, rejoining the main road later on. While the main road has plenty of hills (over 2000m climbing today) at least the civil engeneers have heard of contouring. The local roads are build roman style: straight over anything in their path – this made for some spectacularly steep climbs later in the day, but at least they kept me warm! I finished after 80 or so miles, and spent an hour in the bathroom using a handdryer to remove some of the water from my clothes. It’s still raining now – I just hope it gets a bit better for tomorrow, the costal route is designated a ‘national tourist trail’ and is supposed to be awesome, but all k saw today was tarmac and cloud.

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