Cycling the Kystriksveien - Day 3
Updated 21 August 2006.
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Woke to brilliant sunshine at 04:20 and stumbled outside with the camera to try and get some photographs of mist on the river which runs along the valley on the other side of the dirt road.
Morning mist outside
I tidied up and packed what I could downstairs silently, wrote up the diary, and dozed on the sofa until 8:00, when the we all got up for breakfast on the patio in the sunshine, lots of tea and bread, salami and cheese - we haven't tracked our morning staple Havregryn (oats) yet.
We set off from the hut in baking hot sunshine at 10:00. Google Earth shows the next section of 40 km to Namsos as being fairly flat but it was demanding from the start - long climbs up steady grades with a ten minute descent after each summit through Bangsund and Straumsnes. To add to my problems with the buckled front wheel, the climbs are making demands on the transmission on my bike that it can't meet; I have spent the last year riding other bikes and didn't check the chain for wear, and now I am finding it slipping on two or three of my lowest gears. I am kicking myself for not giving the bike a thorough overhaul (which Janet's bike got) before we left, but it has always been reliable before. Still the scenery is adequate compensation, even though the road is busier today on this stretch towards Namsos, the nearest large town, with two or three cars passing us a minute at times.
Near Reitan on a more gradual climb
Tom (whom we met yesterday) catches up with us about twenty kilometres into the ride. He's had a late start after a night in a pleasant paddock by the road; he's riding at just over our speed so we talk for a few minutes about the next part of the route before he bids us goodbye and gradually pulls away.
I've booked a hut for tonight at Ranemsletta, which is about 20 km on from Namsos, but the terrain means we aren't going to make it that far on the RV17, and we'd prefer a road with fewer vehicles on it, so the RV 769 looks more attractive because it follows the coast and will have less traffic bound for Grong and the junction with the busy E6.
Trying to find somewhere dry to sit just off the road for lunch near Sævik
Slowly the sky fills with black cumulo-nimbus clouds - looks like we are in for a thunderstorm later on. We eat the last of our food just off the road near Sævik - it's tricky as usual to find anywhere dry and level to sit down for a picnic when you leave the tarmac. We meet an elderly couple here with a bucket full of cloudberries they've picked from the wild thicket just behind us.
After we've munched our way through our bread and cheese, we fly downhill into Namsos, arriving at 3 pm with the brake blocks smoking from the descent.
The last couple of kilometres into town have been altered recently with the opening of a long low causeway bridge across the bay; the townscape is dominated by big jets of water from static fire hoses. These are playing over huge piles of treetrunks stacked in large lots outside the town's sawmills. The town is a fairly low-rise, low-density settlement where cement and the aluminium facias of shopping centres rise from large empty lots skirted by one or two roads - not a sight to inspire civic pride particularly.
The older wooden buildings are confined to the quay, where we find the Tourist Info office. Ingrid behind the counter turns out to be useful ally, who teaches me to use "avbestille" to cancel my reservation for tonight's hut on the phone, sells me our useful Nordland 1:400 000 roadmap, and provides a booklet on ferries up the coast from the town. With her directions fairly clear in my head we ride to Namsos Camping, next to the airport, stopping on the way at an awful Bunpris supermarket for food for the next couple of meals.
Namsos campsite is a model of efficiency but doesn't provide pillows or duvets, and keeps cutlery and plates stocked in the kitchen cupboards in the "cooking block", which throws us a bit. It is drizzling within minutes of our arrival and cabins here are more expensive than any we've used until now, which adds to the general feeling of let-down, but we soon have a pot of tea brewing and the hut warming up, and at least the place is spotlessly clean and tidy. Good showers, but for 10 kr for two minutes.
It has been a really tough day today, mostly due to the terrain, but also for me due to the problems with my bike and the uncertainty of being able to fix it rapidly. Today points to using 40 km as a sensible daily distance through the hilly sections unless we want to spend all day riding with a brief respite at the end to shower, cook an evening meal, and go to bed.
Tomorrow will have to be a day for getting the buckle out of the front wheel and a new chain and rear sprocket fitted somehow.
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