In training! (Odda, Norway – km 265)

We know we have ridden our bikes over several kilometres during the past 25 years, we have the photos and resumés to prove it. We look like the real deal with our fancy bikes and high tech gear. When Norwegians ask where we are going to and we answer « to Norkapp and then down to South Africa », they look surprised but they believe us. Yet all week we’ve been in a state of shock, wondering if we’ll ever become the homo velocipedus that we once were.

First our gear is all new, most of it we brought over with the tags still on, so there is a lot of learning to do—did you know that headlamps are smart now and come with a USB cable? We just figured out how to blow up our NeoAir Therm-a-Rest but are still working on having a proper tracking function for this very blog from our InReach SE device.

Second everything hurts. E-ve-ry-thing. No matter how good of a shape we thought we were in, our panniers are very heavy at the beginning of a trip, the days are long thanks to the midnight sun and we’ve chosen the hilliest parts of Norway as our training camp. In our first 265 kilometres we have climbed more than 4,000 metres!

Third, our Road reflexes are quite blunt. How to negotiate the traffic—mostly luxury cars and small recreational vehicules—and the tunnels—Fjordland is like a piece of gruyere—but more importantly how to satisfy our basic needs on the move and on the cheap. Where to find free coffee, day-old bread and pastries, good camping spots, public toilets, showers, etc.

Waking up this morning at the 1250m high summit of the Røldal Mountain pass, surrounded by snow covered rocks and waterfalls with a view on the Folgefonna Icefields, we shared a pot of oatmeal, washed up and packed, climbed on our mounts and rode down to the Hardanger fjord like the two old beginners that we are.

Of fjords, alpine plateaus and sea coast: a Norwegian smörgåsbord! (Kristiansund, Norway - KM 990)
Kilometre zero! (Stavanger, Norway – KM 0)

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