Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Crème brûlée

Bang! Straight into 2013 with another hike, this time in pummeling rain, over Rundemannen yesterday and a slithering, icy, three hour bike ride today. Plenty to look forward to in the coming year so best keep active when I can. December seemed to be dominated by high pressure weather, keeping things nice and frosty with some snow for good measure but January has started with much of Scandinavia suffering a low pressure Christmas hangover.

Riding through Bergen this morning I enjoyed clear bike paths and trails but as soon as I hit the small pass over to Kalandsvatnet I was in a world of ice. Patches of grey slush to start with, but they soon grew in size, the colour purifying to white against the black tarmac. Then they joined together to produce a full width covering with a crème brûlée consistency. A thin veneer of smooth verglas sitting atop a layer of bubbly slush. My studded tyres cracked through and found comparatively easy purchase below. Then, out of the blue, I hit expanses of solid ice, the bike slewing this way and that, as I struggled to keep things on an even keel. At the worst stretch, a downhill, off-camber corner, I simply unclipped one foot and unceremoniously tripod-ed my way round the bend, the front tyre the only point of contact able to maintain constant grip. 

So, I didn't ride as far as usual today but it took just as long and I ended up feeling just as drained after tensing and un-tensing all kinds of muscles that helped to keep me upright. My toes scrunched tight in my boots, my hips having sashayed around for hours and my hands cramping with repeated intervals of light-but-deliberate and full-blown-death-grip. Closing the loop into the maritime climes of Bergen the ice receded, replaced instead with icy rain and puddles. Ahh, bliss...

So here we go, 2013. Happy new year everyone. 

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