Day 15-1. Klovholt to Kilen.
Distance D 66.20 km Max 51.0 km/h Time 5.10:10 Average 12.8 km/h
Distance S 66.22 km Max 50.0 km/h Time 4.46:23 Average 13.9 km/h
Considering how late we had arrived the night before, today started rather early. Damae took the initiative this morning and at eight thirty she sat up, opened the tent and allowed the outside world to flood in. It looked lovely out there even to me in my bleary-eyed state but I felt no strong urge to get up. Then again, there was the small full bladder issue I had to take care, of so getting up could not be postponed indefinitely.
We decided that there was no rush this morning, after all we were at least forty kilometres ahead of schedule and it was a beautiful day. We went about our normal packing up and breakfast routines and by half nine Damae had got as far as making sandwiches for the day. I had a look at the rear light on her bike and was pleased to discover the problem was dirty contacts. Five minutes later and the light was working properly again.
In the next hour we got ourselves together and ready to go. Damae paid for our night at the campsite and, when the owner heard of our troubles the night before, and how late we arrived, she dropped the price. Which was nice, considering she was not responsible for our problems in any way. By ten thirty I started putting my panniers on the bikes. I had got the rear ones on my bike when suddenly there was a loud POP! followed by an equally loud hissing sound. My front tyre had just gone flat in the morning sun.
A momentary grump was replaced by a sense of relief and we laughed in surprise at the sudden and spontaneous flat tyre. We realised that it was much better that the tyre had gone flat this morning rather than on the gravel track in the dark of yesterday evening. I took the bags off my bike and got on with the job of repairing the flat. It looked like a small piece of stone (flint maybe) had worked its way past the anti-puncture defences of the Smart SAMS. There was no problem with the rim or rim tape which was good news.
The flat tyre put us back a bit and an hour later we were on our way. We left the lovely campsite and headed back to the main road. This turned out to be well surfaced and quiet, the vehicles that passed us gave us plenty of room. The cycle route would take us on and off the main road a few times. The first of these was a small loop which climbed a little on an old road. The road was once important enough to be lined with deep concrete kerbstones which had long since decided to give up the struggle to remain vertical. We passed a huddle of post boxes and wheelie bins and cycled through the lush green farmland of Telemark and got a taste of things to come on this trip.
Not long afterwards we rejoined the main road. For the first couple of minutes we had our own cycle track but that didn't last long. We were directed off the main road shortly after at Aspum and started climbing gently. Just before Bergen we crossed the main Rv 36 again, this time via a bridge over the road and not long after we were back on gravel roads again. We passed through more farmland, with large farms alongside the road and clear views of the landscape. Once the gravel section finished we rejoined the main road again but a cycle track appeared shortly before we entered Helgen. Most of the way to Ulefoss would now be on gravel track. This section of track was in good condition and we passed the almost empty campsite at Koldstad Gård before dropping down to Nordsjø.