In late februari-beginning of march 2012 i started my cycling adventure around Iceland. Besides, i also undertook some short hikes on my snowshoes. Somehow, after hiking i am always happy to be back on the bike again. But when hiking out, it seems to me like there is nothing like it. Which means, dragging along the whole lot on the bike. Just in case.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Falling Down

A friend told me, when moments get bad, that´s when you need to record. If you want to get famous, that´s what the people want to see: trouble. Basically anything that prevents them from coming out of their sofa is exactly what they want to see from that same sofa. Stormy weather, failing gear, robbery, fights, political instability, fatigue, incomprehensible languages, or just: a good oll´ nice and plain bad day. That´s exactly when you have to put the camera on rolling, say some stupid lines with your stupid face about the stupid things that are happening to you, Mr. Stupid. I skipped the camera, but hey! i can just tell you about it and –voila! I bumped my second smallest toe pretty hard against the bed made of “palletten”, and it turned all blue. 
I managed to loose my swiss knife, which means that if i am in big trouble i will have to chew my arm off to make an escape. I know exactly when and where: it was such a bloody cold day somewhere near Siglufjordur, windy and icy and hilly, and long. I didn´t advance so well, and was tired and hungry because in Iceland there is never really a place beside the road where you can stop and chill for a while, have a snack and move on. It always seems like if you stop there, you will not make it wherever you go. So after waiting too long, i did stop, undid all my millions of gloves and shawls and helmet and cape and other cape and balaclava and whatelse, to open myself to this arctic wind keeps blowing with tiny hail!!! and fingers freezing the moment you get them in open air, so i quickly cut off an approx. 250g piece of cheese, sandwiched it between two rye bread slices and shoved it into my throat together with a snickers and a banana, to let it do its job down there, burnt my lips on a cup of tea because i always tend to forget that a thermos -even after having been hung for five hours in cold wind and hail- is a little mysterious world of magic. I rapidly dressed again and got mooooovin´. While accelerating, i heard a sound of stony metal on the street, and thought: “ah well, stone against chain” and that was that.
 My fancy pancy Event 1000x better than gore-tex mega performance jacket is falling apart. Not just as a figure of speech, but literally. The glue has decided to give it a break. And its legendary waterproofness has gone skiing. I also lost my right over-glove super mitt. Pretty bad, because it was this super fancy high tech shit with lots of names and properties, and it was so good! So now i have to do with either too warm and waterproof, of too cold and not waterproof. Couple of days ago, cycled the whole day in the rain without gloves, because it seemed to me (sometimes you have that totally absurd beliefs) that i might need them “for later”. What a joke. But let me tell you an Icelandic one. One of the only two existing Icelandic jokes: If you don´t like the weather, wait for ten minutes. Well it rained the whole day. But since i crashed most spectacularly with my bike two days before, hand all swollen and bloody painful like twenty Santa Cruz Screaming Hands together, i thought: “let´s make something out of this!”. So i didn´t cycle with gloves and after a day of keeping the hand at +2 degrees, nice and wet with a little chilly breeze on it (sounds like a burrito commercial), it kind of got better! 
I know mine are not those of a pianist, nevertheless this seems a little out of proportion
Not the knee though, and as a matter of fact, i am already five days put on stable like an old crippled horse in a hostal on the Laganes peninsula in the North East with a vast and ever changing panoramic view. Staring through the window, having coffee, compulsively eating like i were still cycling, putting ice on the knee, more coffee, impatiently reading anything i find on the shelf as long as it´s not Dan Brown, John Grisham, or that Milennium guy, what´s his name, Stieg Bookrackfillingson. So after Jekyll and Hyde, some Grunberg, and a Harry Mulisch, i finally started the Edda, you know... Thor? Odin? Loads of booze, loads of Walkure chicks, loads of violence and tough talk? Talking-about-my-mother-I-fucking-beat-the-fucking-shit-out-of-you? You want to know more about the roots of our culture? Indeed, that´s the famous Sagas.
A very rare shot of an Icelandic wind bag. I was really lucky to find it hanging just like this. It didn´t even move when i got the camera out. 
“The Corpse-Swallower is his name, sitting there at the end of the sky
a Giant in the appearance of an eagle
from his wings comes the wind, so they say,
who blows over all men”
Here you have it. Straight from the Saga. If i run into this Corpse-Swallower, i throw my Mjöllnir at his cliff with the hairs. I drive my mighty forewheel right into his giant nuts. See how he whistles then. It was a day where i got to seventy, then turned 180 degrees, and then had to battle the wind from the front, going sometimes only 3,5 km per hour. I didn´t even know that was possible. So suddenly street going down towards at the left the sea, and to the right a water field.

This the fucking left side, where i dug a hole. How peaceful it looks
The road in the middle, a couple of meters higher. I knew it: bad vibes; it was all over the place, you could see solitary wind gusts howling over the water surface, bashing over the road, disappearing in the sea. I am telling you: i was so prepared for it. So i go down, take the turn, let me roll very slowly, and see one coming. It just beats me, pure madness. But here i stand! So i continue and see another one. And as i see it approaching, totally prepared, i get this handful of gravel thrown right in my face. Remember another day i told about this wind, one second of slack concentration and you are wherever? Unfortunately i was so right, as i somehow turned 90 degrees, racing towards the other side of the street, thinking: “,!!!”
And as i lay there, feeling all stupid although there was no one to laugh at me or look worried or angry because this is not the time of the year and didn´t they tell me about the wind? As i lay there thinking it was foul play, some bad bloodsport movie where the bad guy throws sand in the good guy´s eyes, and while he is trying to keep standing and reorientate, the bad guy finishes him off in slow motion, low screaming bass voice as treacherous knee hits humble cheek with sweat drops drift slowly through the air away from the cheek of our already knocked-out hero, eternally falling down. But no spectators here, so what else to do than getting up. Looking around. And that bloody, shameless wind, ripping the map protector off my Ortlieb handlebar bag, so i run after it like Quasimodo freaking out. Flat tyre, and somehow the tyre was already smashed off the wheel, all ready to get the inner tube out. How lucky! Now i don´t even have to do that at least!
What else. The most amazing hot spring in the world, “hidden” one, in a ten metres deep and kilometres long crack in the ground, make your way down, and there it is: Perfection. Once in, you look up to the outside world through a deep crack, feeble broken sunlight (Yes it was sunny that day! What the hell was i doing in a cave!), and down under, the three meter deep water of forty degrees. 

What else. People i met that make you want to hang around there for a while, just to reassure yourself of their existence. Why? Just because it is a good thing to know. And yes, they do exist. Like Jimmu and Christine kind of people, where suddenly you find yourself in their company and you think: that is just amazing, and actually i don´t even know them. Sometimes i think they are, together with some friends, my last argument pleading for humanity.

This actually an avalanche, couple of hundred metres big
What else. The Polar Fox. I saw him! I love him. He is definitely the whitest fox in the whole world. If they would tell me i see him but then i would have to fall off my bike just like i did, i would. 
What else. It seems like i am not following the plan. I thought i would follow ring route 1, but as it turns out, until now i only rode 200 of the 1300 km on it. 
What else. Apparently it is the hardest winter in more than fifty years, and at the same time, the warmest winter in more than fifty years. How about that! In the beginning i thought the people told me that to prevent me from doing it (like that guy, my infamous Icelandic enemy, who advised me to go skiing and do myself and the Search and Rescue a favour. But i don´t know how to ski!), and then, since i was advancing pretty well and having such a good time, to say that actually it isn´t really winter after all. But as it turns out, both are true. 
It´s just that meteorologically speaking, the West and the East don´t have much to do one with another. And yes, while this doomy image of the terrible Northeast played in my head already from before getting here, all i saw was sunshine on the weather forecast there, and last week, i had up to thirteen degrees! Now it dropped again to below zero though, but still... i had my taste of spring. Last days have been splendid,...Wait and see, the weather will turn violent again as my knee turns good. 

What else. did i mention the polar lights? Did i?

Pray for the knee! Or whatever: pay for it! You can just subscribe some money to my bank account for a fysiotherapist or some whiskey and some morphine. I will have some more coffee in the mean time. Thank you very much.

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