Day 10-1. Dragsvik to Førde and then a bit more.
Distance D 105.1 km Max 60.0 km/h Time 7.53:29 Average 13.0 km/h
Distance S 105.08 km Max 58.0 km/h Time 7.22:27 Average 14.2 km/h
The day started early and sunny, the snowy peaks across the fjord looking lovely in the brilliant morning sun. Early was good and we had to admit that sunny was good too even though we'd probably be too hot by lunchtime. By a quarter to nine we were on our way, and after a short climb up out of the campsite and up to the main road we were cycling along Veltejorden in the sun.
Despite our preference for moody and misty we were not complaining. The fjord and its steep walls climbing up to snowy tops looked fantastic and the cycling was easy too. We stopped a few times to take pictures including this one which appeared to be of a small rock wall left standing when they made/widened the road. Within the first hour we encountered a short tunnel, then a snow screen followed by a second short tunnel. All were open to cyclists and Messers Busch Meuller and Schmidt did their tunnel thing each time. It might seem like a small thing but never having to worry about turning on and off lights and not having the flat battery or blown bulb problems is a wonderful small luxury.
We've noticed many times the effect that valley walls and mountains have on light and shadow. We both grew up in relatively flat parts of the world and the sharp contrasts that steep hills make, are still new to us. In the morning the sides of the valley that get the afternoon sun are swathed in dark black shade whilst the sky the opposing valley walls are brilliantly lit. As we crossed the head of the Veltefjord at Ulvastad it was our turn to be swathed in darkness. Later on we'd long for the crisp cool air that the shadows brought but at the moment it was just a little on the chilly side. We were just warm enough cycling in the sun, so now in the shade it was definitely too cold. Luckily a couple of hundred metres later we popped out of the shadow and back into the sun.
By now we could see 'our hills' towards the end of the valley. We didn't know which one we had to go up but the ones we could see were tall and foreboding. Yes, we were going to be doing some serious climbing today but, hey, at least it would be over and done with once we'd got to the top of Gaularfjellet, right?
The road had dipped back into the sunless side of the valley and it was too cold. We paused to take photos back down the valley, have a very quick snack for Damae to do some minor clothing adjustments. I decided to be brave and hope that I could stand the cool air until the sun returned. We'd been going for over an hour although I don't remember it being so long between Dragsvik and this point. We pushed on up the valley and noticed that bit by bit the road was starting to steepen.
A few minutes later we spotted a 'storm drain' Norwegian rural style. It looked like new as we passed it but it occurred to me later that it would get sandblasted every spring as the smelt water rushed down the hill bringing all sorts of debris with it.
Half an hour later we stopped for our morning break. We were not ready for tea, that would have to wait until we'd reached the top of the pass, but we ate some biscuits and nuts and drank some water. The stereo-typical Norwegian view reminded both of us of the stereo-typical Alpine views to be seen in film and TV adaptations of childrens books or adverts from a certain chocolate manufacturer: nope, no purple cows, and no cute girls with pigtails helping Granny and Grandad out, so this must be Norway then.
Shortly after the stop the climbing became more strenuous and the inevitable happened. Within a few minutes Damae was far behind me and out of sight. The climb was cutting left round the end of the valley which brought us back into the sun. The trees around us were not providing shade anymore but blocked the view. By now we'd realised that this climb was somewhat steeper than going over Vikafjellet (in either direction). Even my speed was dipping down to four kilometres an hour at times. On the plus side the road had been recently resurfaced and the smooth asphalt provided little resistance, unlike the climb up Røldalfjellet a couple of days earlier.