A Snowy Day: Somewhere on F910 to Egilsstadir - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

August 5, 2013

A Snowy Day: Somewhere on F910 to Egilsstadir

I heard the soft patter on the tent fly which wasn't rain, but at the same time it was a surprise when I unzipped the inner netting of the tent and saw snow outside underneath the outer tent. I excitedly unzipped to confirm it was true. The tent and all around was whitened by a fresh fall of snow. The bike's handlebars and saddle and pannier tops, all had a couple of centimetres covering of snow.

Once I'd breakfasted, eating liberally into food provisions as Is sure I'd reach somewhere with a shop today, it was cold taking down the tent, with much stopping to warm my hands by putting them in my pockets. When fully packed, I warmed my hands again before putting on the gloves and pushing the bike back along the stream bank to the track where the stream was narrow and shallow and with stones to step on, so Is able to get across without taking off my shoes. The way ahead as well as being wintery white was also extremely hilly; mainly downhill which was a problem as the brake-pads with all the wet sticky sand were worn to the point were the brakes no longer worked. And at this point, Is too cold to stop and rectify them, so I'd to walk down the hills. Luckily, I'd the wind coming at me from behind which cut into me anytime I turned. I couldn't believe it then when Is pushing downhill and I saw another cyclist pushing uphill towards me into the wind. He didn't look happy as we closed on each other. His hood was tightly drawn around a red face. And when we spoke he answered in French and spoke only French and with help of his map, I just about understood, he was at the beginning of a ride across Iceland, on the most difficult route, into the freezing wind. When I left him on his way, I felt sorry for him.

I warmed up enough to stop and take the gloves off and take the allen-key out so I could move the brake-pads up so they met the rim, so the brakes worked again, enough to get me downhill riding. I began descending to where there was less snow, then no snow at all as I finally descended into Bru-dalur. It felt so much milder down in the valley and there was a good gravel road which ran along it. I lunched, then it took me a couple of hours to ride the twenty-eight kilometres to the ring road, where just after joining it, I came to a petrol station, guesthouse, café and campsite. I was originally for stopping here the night, but thought, its still only half four, I'll spent an hour on a coffee and cake stop, and look at the map and write some, then ride the remaining fifty kilometres to Egilsstadir.

The café was inside an old school classroom. It was positively stepping back to the early nineteen hundreds, with narrow windows and dark brown boarding on the lower walls, a blackboard at the front and a upright piano at the side. It was a pleasant warm place to sit and enjoy a large slice of delicious carrot cake and a coffee with many refills, though it was hard reading the map in the dim light.

I returned outside and set off again at six o'clock. My chain was dry, but I waited until I reached a rest-place by a bridge across the river. Then it was a bit of a climb out of the valley, then the final fifteen or so kilometres were gradually all down toward Egilsstadir, by which time it was getting late and I'd an icy crosswind, making it both cold and hazardous on the elevated steep banked road built here in Iceland. It was getting dark when I arrived at quarter to ten. The first place I called at was the petrol station café, where I'd a slice of pizza and coffee, and there was free Wi-Fi, so Is in there quite a while and had many refills of coffee; so much that when I got to the campsite and had a warm shower, I couldn't sleep all that well.

Nice day. The dip down and up in the background is the road where it fords the stream, which I most do at the day's beginning.
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The way ahead.
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Descent into Bru-dalur.
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Warmly dressed and I haven't cleaned the lens.
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Looking down Jokulsa-dalur on the old unpaved Ring Road.
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Bridge.
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Today's ride: 103 km (64 miles)
Total: 3,802 km (2,361 miles)

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