After pulling an all-nighter struggling to pack everything in the new bags and getting the bike torn apart to fit in the box, I was out as soon as my butt hit the airplane seat at 7:15am. Two layovers and a day later, my feet touched ground back in Oslo. For some reason my bike didn’t make the transfer in the Chicago airport even though it was a four hour layover, so that solidified my stay in Oslo for at least one night. That is okay though, it gave me time to walk around and do some sightseeing.
At the baggage claim, I was told my bike would be delivered early nighttime since I had arrived before 10am and the bike was due to arrive around 3pm. This of coarse didn’t happen and ended up waking up in the morning to the bike down stairs in the hostel after over sleeping until 11:30!!!! Cant remember last time I did that. Well it was time to get a move on assembling the bike to hit the road.
Half way through getting everything together, I noticed some little ball bearings sitting inside the box…yep my unsealed headset (the part that lets the handlebars turn smoothly) had spilt just about all of the ball bearings out. This was great and back to the bike shop my bike was headed. Luckily the guys at Oslo Sportslager were amazing and gave me a great deal throwing in a new Chris King headset with a speedy turn around time for the following morning.
Crazy thoughts traveled through my head and much debating went on. Do I ride the 210 (340km) miles to Gothenburg and catch the cheaper ferry….or should I just relax spend another day in the hostel and opt for the 12 hour ferry ride from Oslo. This went on and on for hours throughout the night and the next morning. Once my leg swung over the bike, I knew what I was going to do (not to mention I’m a gluten for punishment). Accepting the challenge, it was game on once everything was all loaded up. It felt like home again as my legs turned the cranks and the wheels spun leaving the hostel at 1:30pm. I only had a day and a half to do it in.
Darkness came a lot quicker than expected and I found a place to camp right near the border in a field around 8:30pm. Glancing at my gps, I had covered roughly 70mi (112km). Not too bad but definitely not far enough. With my alarm set, the plan was to get an early start around 7:30am but for some reason couldn’t get the will to get moving in the morning. I’m sure it had nothing to do with jet lag. So finally at 9:30 the bike was packed and the journey continued into Sweden!!! There was definitely some great scenery and nice roads along the way which always make the trip fantastic. I knew there was a ferry at 9am the following morning so figured the plans would change and just ride for as long as I could.
Another bonus to Sweden is that my phone works and I am able to use data. As the drew on, the legs were starting to get worn and fatigued, not used to all the sitting and riding vs standing on the single speed. Pulling up ferry times to check again, I noticed a trip heading out just after midnight which would give me a free place to stay the night. Rejuvenized with this new information, it was a possibility to make it.
There were many times the legs were aching causing my head to enter that “dark” place saying to just stop. I had caught a second wind already and then a third, a forth, and a fifth. How many more winds were left in my body??? Stopping at a Burger King to replenish the camelback, my eye caught ice cream for SEK 10 ($1) well here was the sixth wind! Ice cream always does the trick. As the sun set and darkness crept upon me the home stretch was on its way, only 80km (50mi) left along the highway, piece of cake I thought. Until I realized that was usually a good day of riding on the single speed. Oh boy! There went my sixth wind…not to mention about 30 miles down the highway I realized bikes weren’t allowed here. Hopping on google maps on the phone since I had deviated from the original gps route, it was time to recalculate again. Luckily there was a road that ran right along side the highway providing a straight shot into Gothenburg. Seventh wind here I come!
45 minutes before the ferry was to leave, my bike carried me up and over the bridge overlooking the harbor. Somehow I had made it! 140 miles (220km) later, pushing my bike onto the ferry, or was it holding me up? Not really sure which one, I had successfully completed my furthest distance to date! Thank goodness for gears and I was able to see the coastline of Sweden! It was a long hard and tough day both mentally and physically, legs aching, stomach growling, muscles tightening up, and the head spinning from good places to dark side. I enjoy the challenge and struggle and in the end it was totally worth it!!! Thanks a ton Maesyn for agreeing with me to attempt 210 miles (340km) in a day and a half…not! Just another part of the journey that has helped me learn more about myself and what one can accomplish with the mind overpowering the screams of the body.