Day 8-3. Voss to Dragsvik contd.
At one point I just had to stop wondering if I had overdone it and was starting to suffer from heat exhaustion. I drank some more water and ate a few mints as I panted at the side of the road. I felt a bit nauseous for half a minute my legs almost failed me. Then at the right moment the breeze picked up again and changed direction ever so slightly increasing the cooling effect dramatically. Emboldened by this and realising I wasn't about to collapse, I set my sights on the next car park and the blue Ford Transit parked there. I hauled my way up the hill warming up with every push. When I got the energy I repeatedly wiped sweat from my forehead and face. With some relief I noted that the ascent was getting easier and on arriving at the car park, that the hill was definitely levelling off.
Here I stopped and sat eating more mints for a few minutes before trying to see where Damae was and then photographing the view over the high moorland. Still not being able to find her I wandered over to a stream with the Trangia kettle and filled it for a cuppa. I gleefully stood in the cold clear water: even though it was only my feet that were covered, it felt terribly refreshing. When I got back Damae had arrived, and she headed over the stream to enjoy the cool water and splash around a bit. We boiled the water for a few minutes to kill nasties before making tea. Using water from the stream we could maximise our by now dwinding supply of drinking water. We'd started with a total of seven litres between us and my 2 litre extra supply bottle was by now empty. I had less than a litre in my platypus bag. Damae had a litre in her bidon and a litre in her bag. As we sat and relaxed an older participant of the race stopped and almost fell off his bike. He leant his bike on the signpost next to him and stood for a few minutes to recover. Then he slowly remounted his bike, wobbled a bit and was on his way again.
Once refreshed we did the same, without the wobbling of course and headed up the now (relatively) gentle incline. After entering Vik kommune the road flattened out completely. A little later we passed through the cutting in a big lump of rock and the Skjelingavatnet hove into view. We knew now that, although there was still some climbing to do the hard work had been done. Past the end of the lake there wa a lovely fast downhill. I hit sixty-three kilometres per hour whilst Damae, not to be outdone hit sixty-six. The bikes felt good, more stable at speed than our old ones and the brakes reassuring.
I took some photos whilst cycling, views from the road and I stopped for a short time at the Målsetevatnet Damae preferring to keep going. Then as the road climbed up towards the Storhaug tunnel the inevitable gap appeared between us. As I cycled on I noticed what looked like a refreshment stop for the Vikingtour support group. I didn't feel like taking a break right now and wanted to get to the start of the downhill.
I'd noticed the old gentleman on the racing bike leaving the refreshment stop and nearing the tunnel I finally drew level with him. Slowing as I passed, I said hello and got a small grunt of some sort back. I was quite impressed that he was out here, at his age, on a bike without really low gears doing this climb. However he was moving considerably slower than I was despite the fact that I had a full set of fully loaded pannier bags, and I quickly left him behind. Once through the Storhaug tunnel I stopped at the large car park to cool off and enjoy the view whilst waiting for Damae to turn up.
As it turned out I had plenty of time to enjoy the view. When Damae finally turned up she explained that she had been invited to stop for refreshments by the Vikingtour team and had chatted for a few minutes whilst eating fresh oranges. Apparently the tour takes place every year in a different part of Norway. There are several competitive classes and it is also possible to sign up for the tour as a tourist following the route each day without any time limits.
Now we had passed through the Storhaug Tunnel the really fun bit of the day was about to start. The descent that had taken us around three hours to climb last year was over in a little more than twenty minutes. In contrast to when climbing Damae quickly drew away from me as we headed down the hill. I kept my bike in the high fifties low sixties whilst her courage allowed her to descend somewhat faster then me. We paused briefly at the last cafe before Vik to take in the view of Vik again. It was as lovely as the year before.