Day 12. Sønge to Lillesand.
Distance 70km. Average 15.5km/h.
The significance of today was the day we changed maps. Sønge is less than 20km from Kristiansand the point at which on part of the route ends and the next begins. The sun was shining and we wanted to push on. After a few kilometers of main road, we found the side road we had to take to get onto a section of unmetalled road. But could we find this section of the West Coast Highway?
After 15 minutes of confusion and cycling into a couple of 'driveways' Damae asked a local resident. We were given clear directions, and heard that lots of people doing the route miss the turn-off. To be honest not surprising as it is not very visible at all with the NSCR sign obscured by trees and what you can see does not look like a cycle track. There was lake nearby the locals were going for a swim, it would have been nice to have gone for a short dip but we had to push on.
This section started with a short sharp climb through woods, and, as usual on the gravel roads we had to get off and push every now and again. I played catchup for a while with a small group of people lazily cycling up the hill on mountain bikes, just for the fun of it.
At the end of the first climb we stopped and took in the view, drank some water and tested a new variety of munch stuff. It was another scorcher of a day. We looked down onto the lake and the houses we had cycled past when looking for the route. Shortly afterwards we hit Kvislevatnet where the road passed over the lake, stopping to take a picture. With the route leveling out and then heading down into Kristiansand we made the most of the downhill sections and went as fast as we dared on the track.
The area along the track seems to be a sort of recreational area for the residents of Kristiansand. In stark contrast to the earlier sections of the West Coast Highway where the only evidence of human inhabitation were scores of beehives, we saw plenty of people on the way down to the town. On the outskirts we cycled through what seemed to be largish council house estates (social housing), hardly a soul to be see in the baking midday sun.