Weather was too good to miss out on - clear blue sky all weekend. So booked another skibussen to Mylla Dam on Friday at work, woke up at 5:30am on Saturday and got out for [probably] one last shot this winter.
Started off struggling significantly. Seemed to have pulled a muscle in my hip yesterday, as well as my wrist growing increasingly swollen and a blister soon developing in my heal. Wasn't enjoying it all that much being very sleepy and sore but soon woke up as the sun rose higher and I began to consume vast quantities of snacks. Gave a few people some help with directions since I had been there last week, to which one of them humorously remarked about how funny it was to get help from a British person. Headed a different way after the initial 10km intro, and was met with a huge lake - Gjerdingen, a few km long, almost all to myself. Weird to think how many metres of ice and water were below my skis, felt quite isolated and vulnerable to any crevasses I was able to imagine at this stage so was happy to soon meet some people.
I got the waxing quite wrong to begin with. It was well below -10c in the shade and so very sticky snow. This made going quite frustrating, even more so down any hills where the snow felt like glue. It soon either warmed up, or the wax wore off though, and so going was a bit easier. Stopped for lunch at the top of a pretty long climb at about half way and had a good chat with someone I met there. The food and socialising woke me up a bit and from then on, with the help of a very cool downhill section, I began to enjoy it.
Cut the initial plan a bit shorter and opted for some long, flat lake sections. Skis and body grew faster and I began to get competitive with a few slightly more advanced skiers. Sun was blazing at this point and a tshirt was enough in the sunlight even if it was well below zero - quite a comfortable setup in terms of avoiding overheating. Put in a good shift across to Kikut and stopped for a few more snacks. Bailed most of the way down the infamous slope to the lake. Then a final very nice section of flat piste, informally racing even more this time, before perhaps the best track of the day. Some great downhills dispersed with a few tough climbs which were somewhat welcome as a chance to 'walk'. Had to bail at one point for a granny who was blocking the path - gave her a bit of a fright with my wipe out. Stopped at Ullevalseter hut and met an English couple; nice to talk to some people from back home for the first time in a while.
Final stretch to Songsvan was tough as I began to bonk. But took it fairly relaxed, except for the final long downhill where I raced what seemed to be a whole kindergarten class to the bottom (gravity was on my side and I very proudly took the win). Finished at the tram station, piled into BK in Oslo Centrum, train home, back in time for dinner, perfect day out.
Hopefully this Instagram post can reinforce my statement.
Somewhat upset that the winter is over on the XC skiing side of things. Then again, the incessant cold is getting quite annoying and I'm looking forward to some more exciting orienteering as the snow clears from the better terrains in Halden. Might still take a few more weeks though...!