Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 31: July 26, 2011

Before starting today's ride, we took the kids to the heated pool in Varmahlid. Sho and I tossed a beach ball and attacked one another with various pool toys, while Saya showed off her improving swimming skills to Eiko. After swimming, Eiko worked on Saya's hair. Wow, what a difference! (see pic).

We rode 51 km (31 miles) from Varmahlid to Blonduos today, Eiko and Arisa's inaugural ride. They did great! The first 20 km (12 miles) included a lot of uphill sections and ended with a challenging steep climb over the top of a mountain. A steady head wind worked against us, as we struggled at a crawl to reach the top.

Eiko and Arisa had ridden a bus on this route the day before, but couldn't remember the terrain. From the inside of a bus, long climbs don't make much of an impression. But when you're on a bike, you notice every minor change, from the quality of the road surface to the grade of slope, to the direction and intensity of the wind. You hear the gurgling sound of streams and waterfalls, birds' song carried off by the wind, sheep's bleating, the padded sound of horses' hooves, as they canter over soft grass alongside. Instead of boring dead time between stops in a car, the journey from one place to another itself becomes an adventure, a slow unfolding of terrain and weather and animals and sweat. And it is a test of endurance and fortitude. You worry at times that it may be too much, but you get stronger and start to relish the challenging sections, appreciating the value of discomfort.

At least, that's my take. You can ask Eiko and Arisa for opinion!

The final 30 km of the ride took us down the other side of the mountain and onto flat terrain. We pedaled at a much faster pace and made good progress. Including breaks, we spent about three hours getting through the first 20 km. The final 30 km took us only an hour and 45 minutes.

A light rain began to fall at the top of the mountain and continued for the rest of the ride. We rolled into Blonduos dripping, but satisfied. Eiko and Arisa had done great! We celebrated their success over a delicious meal of fish and salad at Kiljan Bistro in Blonduos, a pleasant restaurant/guest house by the sea.

Here are some pics:

Getting ready to go:

Saya benefitting from having Mommy focus on her hair. Hmm, I obviously need to work on my hair management skills...

Eiko heading off:

Arisa exploring fashion options with a helmet:

Shots along the way:

Celebrating after the ride:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure posting

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