Stryken – Kikutstua – Skar – Hammeren – Ullvålseteren – Nordberg

31 Jan

So, I did it. Took me a train way the hell out of Oslo to Strykyen. The train trip from Kjelsås was free. The controller said she’d come back to me to sell me a ticket but never did. Was already in a giant peleton when I got off the train. At the trailhead it was too cold to wait so I had to resign myself to staying in it.
The first couple of kilometres were solidly uphill with a lot of herringboning. Good for making anyone with doubts about his endurance regret marooning himself 40km from Oslo. I felt perfectly remorseless.
I shortly came down a very steep slope into a road crossing and got my first taste at ski jumping going over the berm. Landed it and then had to sit down and butt brake just from the shock of not being dead. Word to the wise: watch out for that crossing.
After that things flattened out. Alternated forest road with lake crossings with decent snow.
Eventually came to the big lake just north of the one Kikutstua sits on. Some spots crust, others really soft but still OK going. Got ahead of my peleton and was happier for the lack of company.
Back on land came quickly to a fork with Kikutstua at 0.5km and Skar at 9.5. I decided I could pass on the Kikutstua ski cameraderie and ditch a few potential road mates. I had plenty of food and water and felt neither the need to warm up or rest.
The pleasant double trackset skiløype ended abrubtly 500m after the junction. Plowed mountain road. Disturbed a Norwegian couple kissing to ask them how far to a proper skiløypa. 800m. Shit. Took my skis off and walked it. No fun skiing on cleared roads. The Skar trail began again over a lake. Crusty snow this time. When off one lake it degraded into a single track to the side of another lake. A lot of uphill weekender type traffic. Flat terrain, so this was bearable. But when back in the forest the single track decided to go abruptly downhill.
I pass a lot of people going uphill so I can’t be too bad. But I’m crap downhill. Plow as I may on steep slopes I accumulate speed I can’t get rid of. This meant butt braking more often than I’d like to admit when I encountered uphill traffic. That was a wretched 2-3km.
Finally got back onto a big lake. Lots of traffic but bad snow. There were holes in which you could see water. I think I felt the ice move beneath me. No one seemed concerned. Skied as fast as the crappy crust would allow and got off that.
Came to a pleasant double track road. Coasted downhill the last 2km to Skar. Came there to the packed parking lot that had supplied my uphill traffic displeasure.
From Skar took a fairly pleasant løype to Hammeren. Only had one trackset but there was plenty of room for two. Flattish terrain so didn’t matter much.
Hammeren to Ullevålseteren is home terrain. Ullevålseteren to Norberg by the Ankerveien is my backyard. Felt much love for the 18th century timber and mining magnate Peder Anker as I worked my way back home. Two idiot youthful hoodlum types were walking a bulldog on the løype. Personal message to the perps: don’t walk on my snow you ugly morons!!
Went about 40km in all. A fresh new blister on my left foot. Otherwise no worries. The camelback is a good thing as long as you remember to keep the drinking tube tucked away (otherwise it freezes). Blue extra wax kept me from slipping too much. Maybe wasn’t ideal on the loose soft stuff on the lake before Kikutstua but good enough. I wasn’t stopping to change it.
Stryken – Kikutstua would have been perfect with a few fewer skimates and without the ski jump road crossing. The route I took from Kikastua to Skar basically sucked. The map indicates another route directly from Kikutstua over the Bjørnsjøen that may be a lot better. It stays pretty resolutely over water and the pictures look good.

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