Monday, August 19, 2013

Norwegian Wood


Niels-Kristian is humming. "Do you remember the words to Norwegian Wood?" he asks.

Apparently it's a Beatles song. Can't help there. A half hour later Soren comes up with a few lyrics. When they talk about it their faces have a far-off, meditative look. It's a project.

First thing, directly out of the roundabout at Skien Sportell we were greeted by a 4km steep-ass climb. Welcome to Telemark. Put it in the little ring and push. The air was clear and almost hot, the sun blazing.

Packing up after breakfast, I admit to dreading the prospect of another 300k. The fourth in four days. Maybe it was the bonus clicks, the lack of sleep in Uddevalla, the nightmare ride from Hvittingfoss last night. Or hey, just inertia. A body at rest tends to stay at rest.

Then I realize today is not 300k, it's less! 230k, to be exact. The first three days were longer so the last day could be a short day. What an excellent design! With renewed spirits and determination, we roll out for our victory lap. Lace through the roundabouts and head right into the base of this monster hill.

The day gets progressively easier, that's the good news. The bad news is the starting point. The first leg to Sannidal (which is 75k) has 1170 meters of climbing. That must be why we're going steeply up and down! At this point it's a plus to be impaired. The conversion to miles and feet occupies my thoughts for many pedal strokes.

50 miles with 3840 feet of climbing. That's Montebello plus the dirt over the top, cresting Page Mill and heading south to Saratoga Gap before looping back down into the valley. All the high points and steep bits on the ridge at home. On this last day of a 1200k.
Roadside yoga, a new trend...
In Sannidal (at the top of a hill) whilst eating a hot dog Andrew shows me the stats for the next leg. He's showing me how it will be so much easier. To Arendal 50 miles, 3340 feet of climbing. Right. I manage not to weep openly.

OK, so it's not raining. The scenery is drop-dead gorgeous, with forests and farms and that dark rock along the road that definitely means you're in Norway. With a brown colt frolicking in a green field, tossing her black broomstick tail. The field takes up the whole floor of the little valley that we descend into and climb right back out of again for the nth time this morning. She floats when she runs. I wish this felt more like floating.

Yeah, it's good for those who know the melody of Norwegian Wood to work on finding the words to go with it. Today it's helpful to have a project, a different project, something to lean on.

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