At 5am it was raining but by 7 it had stopped so coffee, porridge, pack up and go. It was quite a ride back to the trail via a petrol station.
Initially I felt tight, tense and worried about the wet tracks. It was cold with high winds and the promise of more rain. The trail had big puddles which didn’t bother me but the sludgy looking areas did and I was letting it affect my riding which subsequently induces mistakes. It got no better as there was a stretch of muddy, slimey road for about 4km leading to a bridge and a junction with a far better surface. But for those 4km I was stood weight right back fighting the bike to stay upright and on course.
As the day warmed up the mud was far less but seeing piles of wood at the side of the trail means logging lorries, that in turn means the trail is caked in fresh gravel for the lorries to get grip. In this area the gravel was more like pebbles and the bike didn’t like it. For me it was far better than the mud. Of course it also meant lorries coming in the other direction. I saw a few and moved aside for them. What came next I wasn’t ready for. A few km of soft topsoil type mud being laid. It was like ice unless you stayed within a tyre track of a previous lorry. I was pleased to meet and pass the grading machine onto clear tracks.
I stopped for lunch at a trucker cafe. It was such good value and bottomless coffee pot for £2. Back on the bike with a belly full of burger and chips washed down with way to much coffee, I was quickly back on the pace, all concerns gone and the bike was loving it. I’d never put it on Social Media but I was just firing the bike at everything. At one point I went for a higher gear only to find I was in top gear doing 140kph. It felt so solid, admittedly a stray moose would have felt more solid but I’ve yet to see anything bigger than a red squirrel.
I found a campsite in Lycksele, the Ansia chain of campsites. £15 for a night and it was like a country club. Absoluty fantastic with every service available even including a purpose built dog wash. If the bike had gone through the doorway………
Having eaten my fill I went for a walk before bed. On return I noticed oil leaking from the front left fork leg. I cleaned the seal out in the hope it was just dirt.