Monday, August 5, 2013

Race to the ferries

In Scandinavia, people seem so laid back. Civilized. Everyone will get food and a bed at the end of the day. Why hurry?

There is a lot of water around Scandinavia. Day 1 of SBS involves four ferry rides. Boats that leave on a schedule. What I understand is this turns into a flat-out criterium slugfest to reach the harbor. Then stand around waiting for the next boat. Rest and eat on the ferry. Leave ferry and repeat.

The first ferry is no problem. Danny demonstrates the proper form off to the right there. That was the Hals-Egense ferry six years ago. Although the route sheet says it leaves every 5 minutes, if memory serves the trip across the water is what takes 5 minutes. Another 5 minutes to unload, 5 minutes to load, 5 minutes for the return trip. Still, every 20 minutes, not a huge deal. Time to take photos and have a smoke (I hear people actually do this.)

The second ferry, Aarhus-Odde, that's a problem. Aarhus is at around the 100-mile mark on Day 1. It's a large, busy town so a big part of getting to the harbor in a timely fashion is making all the right turns on your approach. Don't get sucked into Aarhus.

Also the crossing is a long one, one hour twenty minutes. Boats leave 12:30, 2:00, 4:00, 5:30. Imagine arriving at 2:15pm...you could have a full sit-down lunch waiting for the next ferry. Contemplating the sleep you won't be getting at the end of the day.

Then you land on Sjaelland (Zealand) and ride 35K...to the next ferry at Rorvig. It leaves every 30 minutes.

The way this all goes down will have a big effect on arrival time in Melbystrand (red) or Laholm (green). A boomerang effect.

Leaving at 6:30am it will be pretty freaking hard to make the 12:30 ferry in Aarhus. That's 100 self-supported miles with another small ferry ride in the mix. It may be almost impossible but you know there will be riders who try to make it by 12:30. In case it's a real possibility, there should be some food (like a sandwich) in my bike bag. Zero time for food stops in the morning. Zero time for getting lost.

More likely I'll make the 2:00 one. On the other side at 3:30. On the Rorvig-Hundested ferry at 4:55. After that, 120 kilometers (80 miles) and one more ferry to finish Day 1. Wow. It's going to feel so good to pull into that cute hostel at the beach! Both hostel and beach will be tough to see because it will be dark, at least 11pm.

OK, so. Day 1 is NOT about hitting every bakery for pastries, it's about flawless execution and fast riding. Carry a sandwich and pocket food, get in and out of the first control at Mariager, don't get lost, under no circumstances miss the 2pm ferry from Aarhus.

Got it.

(And in case of a really really good day in a fast pack of Danes, hammer away for the 12:30 ferry from Aarhus. It will be worthwhile on the other side.)

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