With the forecast showing that a band of rain will be hitting on tomorrow we decided to try for the next large town, Suomussalmi, in a day. This would avoid wild camping and packing away a wet tent and would also mean that we could combine sheltering from the rain (what a pair of wusses!) with Christine’s pill day. However, the town was 95-100 km away so an absence of hills would be a real advantage.
Sadly this was not to be the case. There were no monster climbs but it was up and down pretty much all day apart from a 20-25 km spell near the end. The Garmin showed us have climbed 630 metres by the end but that of another cyclist, Ian from Scotland, who had made the same trip the day before said more than 700 metres. This may not sound a huge amount in comparison to the Tour de France where stages can involve 5,000 metres of climbing in a day but our bikes and luggage weigh the thick end of 100 lbs (each) compared to the TdF bikes at 16 lbs!
Suffice it to say, we were pretty weary when we reached the campsite 4 km before Suomussalmi (so our distance travelled was still more than 90 km) at 6.30. It being a holiday in Finland, the supermarkets in town closed early so we had to make do without “treats” (i.e. beer) other than the remnants of a half melted chocolate bar (amazing, considering how cold it has been) after the staple diet of pasta and tomato sauce, enlivened with a tin of tuna and a tin of mushrooms.
Over dinner we enjoyed sharing experiences with Ian who is also following the Iron Curtain Trail from Kirkenes. He had to walk the last 3 miles to the campsite as his back wheel split in a similar manner to Stephen’s when we were in New Zealand but in an even more dramatic fashion. He is waiting for the local bike shop to reopen on Monday after the holiday to see about getting it repaired or replaced.