Day 20-1. Bud to Vinsternes (Nothaugen Fiskecamping).
Distance D 98.69 km Max 56.0 km/h Time 5.49:32 Average 16.9 km/h
Distance S 98.94 km Max 53.5 km/h Time 5.29:02 Average 18.0 km/h
A new day dawned so we got up and started the daily routine in the sunshine. Yes you read it right, in the sunshine. Our spirits had been lifted by many things: a good nights sleep, a good breakfast and a quick look at some of the vintage cars parked up on the campsite left us both raring to go. The supermarket stop the day before meant we didn't have to worry about food for the next couple of days. This was good as there didn't seem to be many particularly big places between us and Kristiansund, or thereafter and we weren't planning on stopping there for long.
The area around Bud is about as flat as you get on this part of the coast and it was a godsend today. Although visiting Ona had been, on balance well worth it, we'd spent too long at the mercy of ferry timetables, with days that started late and ended even later. Today we were on our bikes at a quarter to ten, not heading off to catch a ferry but to do some real cycling. This combined with the flat terrain around Bud meant that we had a chance of getting in a good days cycling, in terms of distance travelled that is. The sunshine suggested that it might just be a lovely days cycling too.
After the last ritual stop at the toilets on the way out we exited the campsite and turned left heading North Eastish. First we passed the nearest thing to'urban sprawl' in Bud before the landscape turned into the type of coastal scrub and mudflats we'd seen first the first time near Smørhamn a week earlier. This landscape alternated with areas of lush green farmland, sometimes consisting of isolated fields at other times whole farms of greenness.
Looking back now it is hard to work out if it all looked so intense and lovely simply because of the sunshine. The impression of a place is to a degree formed by the weather at the time. Perhaps the worst weather is grey and overcast; colours are dampened and contrasts between light and dark are muted. However, Fjaerlandsfjorden was amazing under a grey sky in 2007 and this type of scenery can be more imposing in such weather than on a beautiful sunny day. Sunshine brings out all the colours and subtleties in shades of greens, greys and blues and also adds perspective to the view. Sometimes we have been able to see for miles and miles over successive ranges of mountains or spits of land as with the morning we left Ålesund.
Whatever the reason, today it felt good to be back on the bikes. The wind was not causing any problems and we were maintaining a good pace. An hour after leaving we took a left turn to Nerland and headed back out to the coast. We cycled on quiet roads avoiding the busier RV 633 for most of the route to Vevang and the start of the Atlanterhavsvegen. On one side of the road there was flat productive land, on the other side some quite impressive hills made of solid rock. About an hour and a half after setting off the road passed close to one such hill. The contrast between the lump of rock and the cultivated land round it was wonderful to see. We took a short break here as it was about time to stop.
We'd cycled for at least ninety minutes without a proper pause. Unlike the summer 2007 trip Damae didn't seem to be suffering from the need to stop and eat something after the first hour of cycling. If left to my own devices I'd cycle an hour an a half to two hours before stopping to eat something and I found having to stop after an hour disrupted my morning rhythm. We think that it is because in September 2007 Damae changed jobs and since then had been commuting by bike to work, a round trip of over twenty five kilometres a day. It is also probably that the new bikes with Rohloff gears helped. The distances we were travelling per day were not so much higher than with our old bikes. However we did notice that we were not so weary at the end of a long day as with derailleur equipped bikes. We also had fewer muscle and joint aches and pains in general on the new bikes.
Not long afterwards the landscape changed back to scrub as our route took us back out towards the sea. After having read several gushing reviews, we approached the Alantahavnvegen expecting it to be a great experience. This small section of road over small islands and lumps of rock sports an amazing looking bridge in the middle. It also gets gushing write ups in newspapers such as 'The Guardian' as being one of the world's great pieces of road. As you can imagine we were expecting something very special indeed.