19 DAYS NORTH CYCLING ADVENTURE | DAY 11
6:00 AM, in the dawn fog the train slowly stopped at the town Mo i Rana.
It rained lightly in the heaven, I felt right fresh. Had a simple breakfast under the roof of bus station, greeted each other with a hiker, I set off on road. Back to the road after a whole day rest. Marching steadily towards the goal, this was really a GREAT feeling.
I can’t stop frequently for photos because of the rain. I just ride along and kept my eyes wide open on the surroundings, whenever I thought of that it’s close to the ARCTIC CIRCLE, even the landscapes alongside the road appeared to be somehow different. Comparing to the thoughts of my first day in Norway, I think I was gradually got used to the idea ‘I belong to the Outdoor’, which I tried to sale to myself.
Lesson learned from previous terrible experiences, I changed my clothes frequently with the weather. Do not care to stop and change suits could waste time, to keep myself healthy is definitely the first priority. I wrapped myself with 3 layer clothes, just stop and wipe my body whenever I sweat, or put on raincoat as soon as it rained even for a little bit. It was very troublesome, but no longer that miserable as before – trapped in coldness and sweats, completely wet…
Just for once my nose bled harshly without any sign, and dyed my suits some big red spots – was it because it’s too dry here?
Mo i Rana to Bodo, this route was part of the Tour de France – Arctic Part (Remarks 1), but strange enough, shown ‘no route for cycling’ in google map. I had inquired the local travel office before departure, confirmed the possibility of cycling, and learned there will be a significant sign alongside the road, when people cross the arctic circle.
And as I pre-investigated the elevation, there’s only one big uphills in this part. So all the way I was just thinking: Is this part the big uphills? Where’s the sign of arctic circle? Maybe by that time I didn’t realized, when I ask myself such questions repeatedly, suggest in sub-conscious I could hardly proceed.
Maybe because the Tour de France is drawing near, there were obviously more cyclists all the way. Of course they are all in racing bikes, without any burden, just rush aside me in a blink. I’m not that interest in racing bikes – more expensive gears, more dangerous. I just prefer a long journey with my old pal, as my origin dream. Be slow is not always bad.
The small uphills consume my energies slowly. I told myself this should be the last big hills I went across in this trip, the road should be easy, when I get on the island later.
Even with such implication, when the clouds silently went away, I felt a strong tiredness under the beam of sunlight in right midday. Maybe it was because I didn’t had a good rest in train seat last night? Then I could just stop at next camping site. In this way even I proceeded only 60 KM today, it won’t be a big issue to make it up tomorrow, with good energy.
Yes, in previous trip I may feel tired, but never sleepy, but for the moment I was too sleepy even to support my eyelids. I took out handy phone frequently to check the distance to next camping site, surely this helps actually nothing but to make the route appeared even farther.
Finally a row of cabin came into my drowsy eyesight. The word hanging upon the grand gate ‘Camping’ seems to me more like ‘Goooal!’ I ride in lazily – the scale is as big as previous 4-star site: Wide roads, countless Cabins set in order, Mini-Golf field, and all kinds of finger post.
Yet the camping site was hovered by a strange feeling which appeared familiar to me. Right, there was NOBODY there, another dead site.
I have to make a choice again: Just rest here, or take a nap, or directly moving forward.
To rest at this dead site which is far away from the real goal doesn’t sounds persuasive for me. If I took a nap, I just felt can’t put the goal aside and sleep good, so I pick the last choice.
Fetched some water at site, I dragged my heavy body back on road.
I don’t mind sometime to COMPEL myself. I knew I have already rest a whole day at Trondheim, it must be FAR from the end of my energy – it should be just sleepy but nothing else.
Can’t remember how long I fought along the uphills, I stopped by a resting area surrounded by woods and river, and started to cook. The ‘Outdoor food’ cooked by half-boiled water was as terrible as always. Pungent garlic smell, Indian style strong curry, All the same strange taste of varies dried vegetables, Noodle pieces without total boiled water were just between soft and crisp.. I just REGRET why I bought 4 bags of this stuff without gave a try in advance. 8 EUR for a bag is cheaper comparing with the price here, but I never felt it fills up my energy, instead, this taste just KILLS me.
When I have to eat very very slowly, another two motor cyclist came by and rest. They should be a couple and were armed to teeth by the professional cool gears which totally overwhelmed mine. We greeted each other and ‘enjoy’ our lunch separately. Before leaving, I asked them if we are already in Arctic Circle, ‘No’ they answered. ‘Not yet, but not far from here. When you are close to it, you will find barely nothing aside the road, and there’s a significant sign – you won’t miss it!’
I was lightly inspired. Despite the ‘not far’ from a motor cyclist is …just for reference, but this is like the carrot before a donkey – as long as I know the goal lies ahead, I will PROCEED.
Midday sun burns. Carrying almost 30 KG luggage with the old bike way long up hills, I was truly as slow as a donkey. It’s true I’ve been to Galdhøpiggen the peak of Jotunheimen, but that was planed with a complete day – I could eventually get there even by crawling. As the time is not that sufficient now, I have to struggle and fight in the hardest way, there is NO shortcut. Even in the lowest bike gear I moved very reluctant. But I have to insist, since I knew if I stop, it would be nothing but slower.
This uphill appeared especially long. I knew I should be at the last challenge now. This is no longer the hills I met before, which can simply be conquered if I just fight for like half an hour. For the moment I was in very bad status, the speed grew even slower, I was facing the toughest challenge on endurance.
The squeaking chains worried me. I tried to reduce its burden. If I just pedal with pure brutal force, it’s NOT FUNNY to have a cracked chain at this barren hill.
Gradually the top of the slope grew lower, and the forest aside road were not that thick. I thought about the hint from the motor cyclist and got basically certain in my mind: I did it again. Uphill ends!
Again I was standing before a HIGHLAND ROAD which leads to horizon. Suddenly I grew sincerely gratitude to the heaven: Last time I met it in howling wind, now we meet again under a most sunny day. I’ve witnessed all I could met in this season, nothing to feel regret. For certain, how it looks like in winter, snow and eternal night, I could only try to imagine.
Despite it’s just the second meet, the snow mountain at the end of eyesight appeared so familiar to me. The air of arctic here is relatively thin, my back felt a little been burned under the sun, while the air sweep my naked skin like icy blades. I suppose I can’t experience such cycling experience in any other place in the world.
Not long after I saw a sign aside the road: 2 KM to Arctic Circle – The Arctic, HERE I COME!
The sign of Arctic Circle is indeed well marked. The building as a human civilization can be recognized easily in the wild of nature highlands. All buses and cars parked before the tourist building, full of tourists were walking all around. I came to a monument, which was sculpted with what I know well: Red Star, Reap hook and Hammer. I wonder what’s the relationship of Communistic to here, and asked an old man aside. He explained this is the monument for the Soviet Union who helped the locals to fight against Nazi Germany in SWW. He introduced more details – some SU soldiers choose to stay in Mo i Rana for the rest life, and support to build this monument to think on their comrades etc… I try to imagine the pure Highland before my eyes was washed by blood and smokes before decades, so much has transformed.
The sign of arctic circle is just wooden, shape like the earth lifted by several men, and is more or less ruined after stand against weather for decades. The pedestal was rounded by some badges which I vaguely figured some name as the cities of Norway, and suppose they are kind of historical ‘heraldry’ of locals.
Endured the river of history, most of these ‘heraldry’ are either lost or faded. Some kids were playing around these sign which once stand for the glories.
Walked on the small hill aside, I was astonished. Tourist here won’t mark ‘be here’ (Remarks 2) but to pile up stone towers. For example there’s a tower with 3 pedestals at Jotunheim is extremely beautiful. Right here we have countless mini stone towers all around the hills… more than one could count. The tourists after could just walk in tiptoe among those, could kick the stone placed by former tourist by a single carelessness.
I also took a stone and piled up on one randomly. A little funny and can’t help thinking: we try to leave a mark to identify we were once here – once lived in this world. However will here be any trace of ours, after stand for another thousands of years?
The rest station here provide unique post mark. After sent some post cards to friends, I got back on road and proceed towards next camping site. Soon the road began to lean forward. The uphills I previously saved in suffer got paid again. Along the winding downhill road, I once again soar along the turquoise river, embraced by verdant mountains. The surroundings gradually changed from wild white into luxuriant green. The giant camping site is already at sight, the flag danced in winds, striking in the blue blue sky.
This time, I should really reached the goal of the day. The sky was still in dazing sunny, the site appeared especially pretty. I award myself with a nice buffet at canteen and adjusted the route plan tomorrow, made it more reasonable in timing, and able to avoid the bad weather, which I just updated from local forecast.
Among the colorful tents of my neighbors, I set my dearest mini-world rapidly, plunged into it, plunged into my sweet dream.
Tour de France – One of the most famous cycling competition world wide. Surely it’s a game for racing bike instead of mountain bike.
‘be here’ – I have to admit it used to be a ugly custom of many uneducated Chinese, who like carve some word like ‘I have been to here’ during travelling. To my relief this is no longer that often nowadays.