Day 10-2. Dragsvik to Førde and then a bit more contd.
I stopped after a further twenty minutes of cycling to admire the view back down Veltefjorddalen and the road. There was a break in the trees here making the view more interesting for a moment. Looking up the hill I managed to get a photo that gives a better idea of just how steep the road is, and the improbable path it takes up Gaularfjellet. The first hairpin is supported by the rock wall and you can see the road heading further up the hill above it. We can't remember exactly how the two bits of road joined up but we think there were at least two more hairpins between the two sections of road.
To give you an idea of how our speeds differ when climbing, I spotted Damae around five minutes later, and it took another five before she arrived rather breathlessly where I was. After a sip of water and a pause we were off again. This was to be a climb of short pauses necessary as the sun was too warm and the incline a little steeper than expected.
Like the day before, we were sweating profusely as we toiled up the road. We stopped twice more on the way up to admire the view first on one of the large sweeping bends. Although there had been little traffic, most of it had been large campers which was rather surprising given the size and steepness of the road. So this spot was great for a stop as we were very visible to traffic coming from both directions. The view wasn't bad either as the road had broadened now that it was scaling the more expansive open landscape close to the top of the hill.
The next stop was to be quite close to the top. We'd pushed our way past a couple more steep hairpin bends and onto a long sweeping right hander that would have been great if we'd been racing up it in a pepped up Mini. As it was we had to deal with the fact that we were on bicycles and also that we were still only managing to do around six kilometres an hour. At one of the last hairpins there was a small space you could park a couple of cars on. A few scrubby silver birches provided some sort of half shade for us to cool off in. We were ready for some more sweets and a tube mints disappeared very quickly into our stomachs. Although it had gone twelve and we had started quite early we decided though to wait until we got to the top to stop for lunch. There is nothing like achieving something before lunch and then relaxing with a view to look at.
As we stood there cooling down we started hearing the sound of cars with loud exhausts in the distance, making their way up the valley. Then a squadron of Morgans appeared below us racing their way effortlessly up the road. I took a few photos of the cars as they passed us. It was a lovely day to be driving open top through the Norwegian countryside; in fact it was a lovely day to be doing anything unless you had a sun allergy. Now it was time for us to continue our way up the hill and we started off again, knowing that there was not so much to do and hoping that the gradient would ease.
Well, the gradient didn't ease until we were about a hundred metres from the car park and picnic spot. I reached it long before Damae and stood around taking in the fresh air and looking at the shiny expensive Morgans parked in the car pack. I noticed a public toilet in one corner of the car park and also that it had a sign on it saying that it was not usable. Damae finally arrived and we set to the task of brewing up and eating lunch. This went as usual except that I forgot to release the pressure in my fuel bottle and got sprayed with methanol as I started filling the burner. Ho hum. As we were sitting there a Danish family asked if they could join us and we spent about twenty minutes eating and chatting.
Lunch over and done with, it was time to take in the view of the valley and the road. Then we headed the very short distance to the real highest point on the road where it pushed its way through the narrow gap between some large rocks. Damae squeezed through the gap a few minutes later and together we enjoyed the landscape. Rather like the at the top of Haukelifjellet the peaks all around us were dusted with patches of snow. Next to the road was a Nystølsvatnet in shades of deep blue, which we were to cycle beside for ten minutes or so. Stopping briefly to look back I could see the hills that were part of the view from our lunch stop in the distance. Then we started the descent into Gaular kommune. We'd hoped for a nice downhill similar to the climb we'd done in the morning. However Gaularfjellet is similar to Vikafjellet so now once we'd done the short climb we had a section of ups and downs before we'd start descending again. This made us a little grumpy every now and again so it was with some excitement when we started going downhill again. On the completely plus side the weather was warm (considering our latitude and altitude) and now we were no longer climbing continuously, the sun was not too hot and we were enjoying the brilliant Norwegian afternoon sun.