Day 3-2. Evje to Valle contd.
We were not in a mood to stop too long. In less than fifteen minutes we were ready to get going and as if to help us on our way the rain returned spattering large drops all around us. The slight disadvantage of stopping at a bathing spot is you usually have to climb away from it and this was no exception. The road wound its way up a small lump next to the lake before continuing in a Northerly direction. The short sharp climb left Damae well behind me and I was in turn left behind by the racers that came past.
The day so far had been relatively demanding without there being any killer climbs. The route was meandering past lakes and fields along the side of hills. I was however getting a little concerned by the road passing a peak called Horgi that appeared to be two hundred and seventy metres above something. It was not clear from the map how long or how far we were actually going to have to climb nor did we know how far above sea level we actually were (months later whilst writing the travelogue I noticed that the height was marked at Dale and was two hundred and fifteen metres. It is amazing what you miss in the heat of the moment).
With the weather warming up we came round a corner and there was our pass. The climb can not have been much more than ten minutes in low gear but long enough for Damae to disappear into the distance. I got to the the top relieved that it had been so short and was greeted by the sun coming out for a couple of minutes from behind the clouds. I was way too hot.
Damae arrived a couple of minutes later and did her best to cool off. Then we headed on noting that the terrain, like the weather was changeable. The sun would come out and then disappear as we passed under a light shower. The road went down and then up again and this combined with the changeable weather made it a bit frustrating going. At least we had showers and sunshine today, instead of the continuous rain of the day before and the scenery was wonderful.
Our next stop for a proper brew up and lunch would be at Storestraum. Here we doubled back on ourselves a little as the route we were following crossed the fjord at this point. A concrete bridge had replaced the old stone one, which had been left there together with a pair of disused lockgates. I guessed that at some time in the past, there had been a canal here and a large difference in water levels.
Whatever the reason was that it had fallen into disuse, the area by the old bridge made a fine a picnic spot complete with tables and bins. Great: it had just gone twelve thirty and we were ready for some nosh. With the water warming up in the kettle, we started eating and stood around enjoying the view and watching car based tourists come and go. Whist enjoying my brown cheese and spring onion sandwich I realised that in a day and a half cycling in Norway we had already seen more natural stone than we would in a year at home.
As we were packing up it started raining again. Was it just a short shower or was this going to go on for longer? The sky around us appeared to be uniformly grey so we sighed and donned our rain coats again, hopped on our bikes and carried on our way. This involved crossing one of the bridges before turning left a few hundred metres further up.
After a short section that looked like a gravel pit the valley became green again. Within a few minutes of setting off the rain stopped and the sun started making feeble attempts to come out. We even encountered some dry patches of tarmac, and a little while later after trying to keep cool with our rain jackets unzipped we had to bow to the inevitable and stop again. Behind us was the bad weather and although the skies ahead of us were grey, things were looking more hopeful.