Friday, October 30, 2015

Shoulder season

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. 

The weekend after our Adriatic Adventure, Audun and I headed to Norefjell with our mountain bikes to enjoy what promised to be a spectacular day.

Thumb P1060987 1024

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!

Thumb P1070003 1024

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!

Thumb P1070032 1024

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.

Thumb P1070092 1024

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.

P1070104

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:

Thumb P1070127 1024

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.

Thumb P1070145 1024

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!

Thumb P1070195 1024

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!

DSC 0461

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.

DSC 0484

Fall leaves on my last ‘run’, where I ended up turning after 2K due to a lack of motivation.

Today I’m headed for Morocco for our annual fall mountain biking trip, where we escape the dark Norwegian fall by heading south. Stay tuned for the trip report!

- The Wild Bazilchuk

1 comment:

  1. Those mountains look like the perfect place to run! Looking forward to your Morocco trip report.

    ReplyDelete