Day 2-1. Kristiansand to Evje. Rain rain rain.
Distance 82.09 km Max 42.5 km/h Time 5.31:55 Average 14.6 km/h
We awoke to grey dampness and short rain showers. Our plan was to eat breakfast before packing up and heading off. There seemed little need to shower as it looked like it was going to rain all day and a shower at the end of the day would be a lot more welcome. After eating and washing up we broke camp, chatting first to another bloke from the Netherlands with an old BMW motorbike and then with the German couple. They were interested in our (German) bikes and the Rohloffs. Their bikes were quite new but with derailleur gears and in the case of the man's bike, with full suspension.
The DGG was being a bit reticent, not indulging in the usual 'gezelligheid' that seems to emanate from many Dutch people when they realise that someone understands their language. He was also slower than us getting up and out and saying our goodbyes to all and sundry headed off, out to find our route. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention how much the campsite cost; NOK 200 for two people and a tent. It certainly does not represent good value for money but was Hobson's Choice: a classic example of the advantage of a monopoly position. We didn't know for sure but it would turn out to be the most expensive campsite of the whole trip.
The first bit through the centre of Kristiansand was not a problem as we had cycled it the night before. With the map from our guide book we picked our way gently through the quiet town centre. There was no special rush although we didn't want to hang around all day. On the way out of town we discovered the square where we had eaten lunch in August 2005 and the bicycle counting pole that we'd read about in På Sykkel. We were numbers 127 and 128 and were quite chuffed to have found it.
We had to pay attention navigating out of town. A couple of times we got a little confused particularly where the cyclepath crossed under the road, and then when we should just have carried straight on. At that moment we ended up on a short section of the NSCR where it approaches the town centre just as the rain had suddenly turned from wet to torrential and took shelter under a railway bridge for a few minutes. I recognised this spot from 2005 remembering the houses on the other side of the bridge we had cycled past (then in glorious sunshine).
When the torrential shower had abated we headed back on our way through the normal summer rain. In every direction the sky was solidly grey and we realised that is was probably not going to stop raining all day. We wondered if the weather this year was going to be as bad as it was in 2007. Following the 13 main road out of Kristiansand, I remember long straight sections that climbed keeping our speed down to around twelve kilometres an hour. Despite the weather we were enjoying ourselves. We'd started planning the trip at the beginning of the year. After the annoyances of the problems with the tent and booking the train journey and the excitement of buying new bikes it was good to be on the road at last.
I started off navigating and found the maps from Castor Forlag good, although I prefer the style of the older maps from Statens Kartverk. As the maps were on separate plastic sheets we had decided to alternate role as navigator. I got the first and third card, Damae the second and fourth. That would see us through most of the day before we'd have to change maps. This turned out to work fine as neither of us felt the pressure of having to navigate all day. Despite the quality of the maps and the fact we were following a valley we still had some confusing moments. On approaching Mosby we were a bit uncertain as to where to go. What turned out to be the cycle track disappeared sharply downhill and looked rather like someone's driveway. In the end we followed it and the road curved left, went under the railway and continued alongside the lake. It was nice and quiet down here away from the main road.