Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->2008-->Norway.-->Day 3

Day 3-1. Evje to Valle contd.

Distance 100km Max. 61 km/h Time 6:12:48 Average 16.1km/h.

The day started damp and grey as yesterday had ended. We breakfasted in the kitchen, and managed to miss the Dutch community washing up, before packing our stuff away. Whilst we were doing this a small chink of hope appeared as the sky lightened in one corner and a brighter shade of grey appeared.

Emboldened by the thought that we might not spend all day getting wet, we cycled slowly away from the campsite in search of the nearest cash machine. We had been running off the Kroner that Damae had brought back from her week on Jazz Camp and this was pretty much finished. As I was waiting I noticed that the sky now contained quite a lot of blue which made us feel somewhat better. It was also just after nine thirty so we were on the road quite early considering the late arrival and the less than inspiring weather.

Once our cash reserves were back to normal we went off to find the route. Trying to follow the route as faithfully as possible I navigated us out of town (straight on) until we came to a church on the outskirts. Here I realised that we had to pass it and then turn immediately right. Much to our joy (NOT!) this put us onto a lovely section of wet grey sand.

As with the day before it wasn't that bad but we were pushing to get much above fourteen kilometres an hour and wondering what was wrong with us. If it had been completely dry we would would have expected to be travelling near to twenty kilometres an hour. It appeared that we were running along an old train line as the track was built up and well graded and ran on an embankment. This meant the gradients were gentle and after a while we realised that we'd started off by climbing which contributed to our lower than expected pace.

Fortunately this off-road section was quite short at around seven kilometres and to be honest was much nicer than cycling on a main road. The weather kept us on our toes though by dropping the odd shower on us as it would for the rest of the morning. Still it was a lot better than the day before and it wasn't too cold.

Our first real stop of the day was to be just after eleven. By now we'd been cycling on tarmac for some time alongside the Byglandsfjorden. A few kilometres before Dale the road straightened out and rose and fell like a large wave on the ocean. On the crests in the distance we noticed a gathering of people and as we got closer we realised that we were about to pass the start of a cycle race.

We smiled and waved and said hello as we passed the huddle of lycra-clad racing bike fanatics and carried on up the hill to the bend at the end of the lake. The road then turned right and fell again towards the water. We'd been cycling for the best part of ninety minutes only with incidental pauses to take off and put our rain gear back on. So it was definitely time to stop and take a breather even though it was actually raining.

Fortunately this spot was sheltered by pine trees and next to a beach that, on a sunny day, would have made an excellent place for a quick dip. We considered brewing up but contented ourselves with a snack, some water and aimless stomping around whilst the competitors of todays time trials whizzed past us. Every now and again one of the more exuberant competitors would roar a greeting at us as they passed. We guessed that this road was a lot easier on a lightweight racing bike than our wonderful but fully laden touring bikes.

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