After Hamar (Vikinskipet roof seen in the distance), we have to go up. First a tough climb above the valley, along the mountain, via a plateau and then down to Dokka. 1123 altitude metres, we hadn’t done that many in 1 day before! It helped that it was raining that afternoon so we preferred to cycle on until 17:30 rather than pitch the tent at 3pm at a local beach in the rain. The route to Gol two days later, again contained a lot of climbing we saw, so that would go in two stages. During a long climb, the front tyre suddenly went flat. Again on the inside, again the rim tape?! Patched, lunch and on we went again. Half an hour later another puncture on the front tyre. Different spot, but again on the inside. We decided to tape the whole ribbon with duck tape this time. The Dutch version ran out halfway through so over to the roll from Skopje. A bit thinner we noticed when taping. Then came a gigantically steep descent. After the 3rd hairpin the front tyre was flat again!!!! Very scary to lose control of the bike in the middle of a descent, but fortunately it ended well. We took the outer tyre off again and yes, the tape from Skopje had shifted. Tessel’s rim brakes had warmed up the rim and made the glue flexible. After the 3rd taping, we rolled downhill even more quietly and mainly with Oscar’s disc brakes. There was a campsite there where we found a spot. 35km and 735 altimeters covered. We spent the rest of the afternoon, slightly frustrated, on the campsite terrace under a party tent. Drinks turned into dinner: pizza for the first time this trip and of a mediocre quality to match the rest of the day.
The next day began immediately with tough climbing. Asphalt became gravel, but we were used to that by now in Norway. Such roads here are much more passable than the off-road roads in Greece or Serbia, even when it has rained. Things got complicated when, after the umpteenth hairpin bend and 12% stretch, we found out that we should have taken the exit one bend lower. Not surprisingly, we had missed it, it didn’t look like a through Norwegian off-road road at all: more like a cart track. You know: two paths in front of the wheels of a car with vegetation in between. It was really the only route to Gol so we did it anyway. It required a lot of concentration and steering from Oscar, especially as the slope went down steeply to our right. Some stretches we took the left track to feel safer. And meanwhile, of course, we were a bit nervous about the front tyre🤞. We regularly saw paw prints here and also droppings that we couldn’t bring home. Tessel googled the droppings and yes, almost certainly from moose!
But no matter how we peered, they did not show themselves. We did however come across one beautiful waterfall after another; so beautiful! A nice bonus for the difficult trail, because yes, even here we had to walk and push the bike uphill every now and then…
After about 10km on the elk trail, we got back on a more regular gravel road and it stayed that way for the rest of the day, much to Tessel’s disappointment 😉 . The descent to Gol we did in stages and again with little braking by Tessel; we came down in one piece…. 🥵 1123 altimeters in 52km this day…
In Gol, the sports shop turned out to have inner tubes in the right size as well as rim tape. That evening, we removed the old rim tape and stuck the new one in and replaced the inner tube with all those stickers.
We thought we would spend the whole next day cycling along a busy road, but after a few kilometres we saw a sign indicating a cycling route to Geilo and going across the river. That was nice! Largely it was a good gravel road, but again a stretch became a real moose trail. Here also we had to walk several stretches (20% on wet grass we really didn’t manage). But again, all our hard work (now almost 1100 altitude metres) through the desolate bushy surroundings with mountains of droppings on the road did not lead to the much hoped-for encounter. But we did encounter more beautiful waterfalls and huge fields of chunks of stone up to 10-15m high.
And so we arrived in Geilo, where we had a well-deserved rest day.
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