Day One: Frederikshavn to Aalborg.
Although the typical party atmosphere on the overnight cruise from Oslo was nowhere to be seen, we did manage to connect with a pair of young Norwegians with whom we ended up socializing until just hours before our arrival. Like most of the other passengers they’d be heading straight back to Norway – not even setting foot ashore. But we had a festival to get to. So at 7am, we disembarked.
It was the usual story: a couple hours of sleep and still marginally buzzed from the night prior. Only this time, there’d be no lazy morning in bed. Today was Day One.
Over the next four days we’d be cycling anywhere between 70 and 120km per day, making our way slowly cross-country and towards a much-anticipated reward. The Roskilde festival.
In Denmark, they have an expression. I can’t remember the exact wording, but the meaning is something like “no matter which way you go the wind is always blowing at you.”
Let me tell you from personal experience: as unlikely as it sounds…it’s absolutely true.
Still, putting aside the nonstop wind I could only describe Denmark as a cyclist’s paradise. Cities have dedicated routes and signals, and even the highways that connect them – no matter how rural – provide plenty of room just for the sake of cyclists.
Our first day’s ride started out remarkably pleasant, as we skimmed the shimmering coast and passed through town after town.
But it wasn’t long before the luggage started getting heavy. What began as a refreshing ride in the sun turned gradually to a moderate challenge, and then to unbearable pain. Although 100km of cycling should normally pose little challenge, with strong winds pounding on your chest and a child’s weight in baggage smashing you onto a rock-hard seat…each kilometer quickly starts to feel like two. And then like ten.
Perhaps we shouldn’t have brought such an extensive collection of tents, sleeping bags, dress shoes, hookahs, Ukrainian vodka, party hats, bunny ears, food, bike repair tools, and a kitchen sink. But hey – we were heading to a festival after all 😉
Yet despite my considerable difficulty, somehow, Peder seemed to be completely unphased by the challenge. Throughout the entire day he rode deliberately slowly – for my sake – realizing only moments later that I was once again a mere speck in the distance. And his pack was even heavier than mine, on account of his 4-person tent and extra bottle of vodka! I guess all that training really does make a difference 😳
By the time we pulled into Aalborg only 75km later, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. Every part of me ached, and I had barely enough energy to keep my eyelids opened.
When I started this trip I couldn’t wait to brag about riding halfway across Denmark. But at the end of day one, I was already doubting if I could make it…