The days are growing longer in Norway, and the first frost has come (and gone). We’re on our way into winter, although we’re not quite there yet, and we’re squeezing in a last few adventures before snow and ice cover the landscape.
Mountains upon mountains on the way up Norefjell
The fatigue from our week-long ride was still stuck somewhere, deep in my legs. It was a rough day for my legs to be riding, but a beautiful day for views!
Looking back down the (highway of a) trail at Norefjell
It was officially fall vacation week, for people who follow the schedule of schools. As a consequence the mountain was crawling with people, especially as we approached our turning point at Høgevarde hut. Surprisingly, most people were pretty nice about us passing them, saying hi and asking questions. There is a history of conflict between hikers and mountain bikers, especially in the Oslo area, so this was a welcome change. Maybe we’re finding a way to share the trails? All it takes is for hikers and cyclists to respect each other!
Descending at Norefjell
On the way down the mountain, there was one woman who started shouting at me about ‘trails being for walking’, although these trails are on public land and legally open to anyone using non-motorized transport. Oh well, you’ll never have everyone on your side.
The next weekend we headed to Skeikampen, another mountainous region not far outside of Oslo. This time, ‘we’ were a larger group, gathered to celebrate Audun’s impending and Alf Petter’s recently passed 30th birthdays. In a dramatic start to the weekend, the what-should-have-been-3-hour drive to Skeikampen became six when Alf Petter and Synne’s car broke down, and much effort was required to find a rental car that had space for several bikes.
It was foggy on Saturday and we could glimpse snow on the upper part of the mountain, but our jovial group of 9 riders set out with enthusiasm nonetheless.
Synne and Sara pedalling up the road
After a section of rolling dirt roads, we entered the trails to find them slippery, snowy and difficult. Somehow we made it up to the high point of Kristavarden, which provided some limited views in the fog.
A group photo in the snow
Then we got to head downhill, which turned out to be more fun than I expected in those conditions. I only wiped out once, but the snow made the landing soft, and I landed in the perfect place to snaps photos of the guys coming behind me:
Alf Petter with Chris in the background
As we descended, the snow started to thin out and the trails grew muddier but at least slightly more predictable because obstacles weren’t hidden under snow.
Synne in the last of the snowy terrain
Once you got used to the feeling of sliding around in the mud, the riding was pretty fun!
Audun enjoying the trail below snow line, with Prestkampen peak in the background.
We got back to the hut, covered from head to toe in mud and happy with our outing.
The next day I squeezed in a 25 K run on the trails around Skeikampen. I tagged the peaks of Skeikampen itself, Prestkampen, and ran the whole long ridge than makes up Bånsæterkampen. Most of the snow from the day before had melted. It was spectacular but slow going with lots of vertical. I should go to the mountains to run more often!
The view of Bånsæterkampen from Prestkampen.
Since Hytteplanmila two weeks ago, I’ve been taking a break from running. It’s been a long season - I started training for Skogsmaraton in early February - and I definitely feel a lack of motivation, especially with no races to ‘scare me’ into training. Hopefully a couple weeks off will reenergize my legs and, more importantly, my mind. We’re getting into the time of year where I have to run by headlamp, which although it can be nice, definitely requires more motivation just to get out the door.
Fall leaves on my last ‘run’, where I ended up turning after 2K due to a lack of motivation.
- The Wild Bazilchuk