Monday, August 13, 2018

Efteløt - Seljord Camping

Friday June 29, 2018, 105 km (65 miles) - Total so far: 1,715 km (1,066 miles)

So last night I put on my big girl pants. Actually some performance underwear I bought at Target right before leaving. The waistband has inspirational sayings. I needed some inspiration.

All night long grave tenders arrived. I woke up early and was taking a poo at 5:30 and someone pulled up.

The weather today started out cool. 52 degrees. I rode out in leggings and windbreaker, but after climbing it all came off. While climbing a tank passed me. Downhill into Notodden the wind roared in my ears. My cyclometer also broke down. I put fresh batteries in before leaving, so again a mystery. The phone recovered though.

It was 49.8 km KM to Heddal, with 603 up and 623 meters down. I now know what this feels like. Actually fresh and in the cool morning, it felt do-able. On the way out of Notodden, not sure why, I asked these two ancient Norwegian ladies if Heddal was ahead. They answered in Norwegian, and I believe they were blessing me, they kept touching me and saying soothing things.

The Heddal stavekirke is only one of 28/29 left. In Telemark they have as many words for wood as the Inuits have for snow. I ate a solid hot meal in the cafe (I'd been eating nothing but crackers since leaving Moss. I also charged devices. Upon leaving it was a scorcher. Down the road I bought a drink and refilled water bottle in graveyard. I knew there was climbing ahead. I took frequent shade breaks.

At 4 p.m. I was having a sit down break on a bench outside a store where they played country music. Yuck. When a guy walks by. He said he saw me ride up to Kongsgaemoen, then he saw me in Notodden, now here (?). He said you must be in great shape. Then he said I had 2 more hours until Seljord, 55.8 km.

What he didn't mention was the big climb. From Heddal I had followed a valley and the climbing was do-able. Suddenly the last push up became eternal. At one point I walked the bike. Big mistake. I was breathing so hard I though my heart would burst through my chest. It was hot, hot, hot. Harder to take breaks because the side of the road was steep. I took a few breaks just to catch my breath, but no chance for leg recovery. It felt awful and desperate. How did I do it????

Then I knew I was at the top. Thank God. I turned a corner and saw a vista that was HOLY CRAP. A narrow valley opened up. And down, down, down were teeny tiny houses. How will I get down this?? Seriously.

I took it in stages and no trucks, cars, or buses passed me. I just flew. According to Google, I did UP 542 m · DOWN 447 m. It was like a Norwegian Monte Carlo with hairpin turns.

Tonight camping in Seljord, where my camper neighbors are letting me charge devices!!! Tomorrow Dalen, 54 KM, 901 up, 966 down.

 traditional Telemark houses (e.g. lofts and stabburs

 traditional Telemark houses (e.g. lofts and stabburs


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