Day 5 Levi to Pello sponsored by Kerry’s

From the deserted ski resort of Levi we headed out South in search of some warmth. The day looked promising – No Rain! No Snow! A few legs were sore especially the knees, the warm up has moved from a few miles on day one to 20 miles today. The roads were long, straight and mainly flat. Today was about keeping those pedals turning.

As we left Levi we could see the terrain and forest change with every mile further south. Gone are the desolate Arctic wasteland forests where the trees looked like they had been starved and tortured by the harsh Lapland Winter. It is hard to imagine only 2 weeks earlier the only method of transport was a snow mobile!

The forests at the side of the road were vast – for as far as the eye could see there was the dark evergreen of the Scandinavian Spruce. As we moved further South the sun finally came out. The fresh glossy leaves of the birch trees shimmered brightly in the dense forest, which brightened up what has been a very plain scene.

Further South we started to see further signs of change; houses were more frequent – some even had lawns and flower beds, the sound of silence from the forest had been replaced by lawnmowers and chainsaws where folk were preparing the fuel for the next winter.

The team eventually hit a main road after 50 miles with more examples of civilisation even a burger bar! We just had to – a burger and a beer! The sun was out and blue sky’s above, not the pale Arctic blue at Nordkapp but a clear sky blue. Summer is here. All the riders were now happy, full bellies and a beer inside so we decide to go off route and follow the river road, an extra 9 miles in the end but worth it. The river was wide and wild, several small fishing boats along the way. Salmon was the prize! We managed to witness a happy angler land tea for his family while we were on another beer stop we had managed to find.

The last leg was 30 miles The knees were hurting – it was like having acupuncture with rusty pins. Cramp was setting in! Ibuprofen was the saviour and we pushed on averaging over 20mph for the last 20 miles. The pain and aches were irrelevant now we were nearly at the next stop, Pello. We even managed a sprint finish at the end.

102 miles done as the day ended, tired legs but a good day of cycling.

Back up had already surveyed the town in a very short space of time. Pello has a supermarket, petrol station and motel. It is the largest town in the area and that is about it. It is a bank holiday today – Midsummer festival – so everything is shut, another ghost town. So a Friday night party in the motel is as much excitement as any of us are going to get today.

We do now have a numpty hat for the person who does or says the daftest thing. Lee had it from yesterday and I am just about to announce today’s winner, which is again Lee! He got the most points by first asking if the airfield we passed when we set off was the same one we saw 2 days ago (250 miles further North!). Then at the burger bar he helped himself to a coffee which he thought was included in the price, but not only that he broke the handle and spilt it all over himself.

Tomorrow is a big day – 128 miles out or the Arctic – 22 miles left to go, and into Sweden our final country for this leg. Let’s hope the knees survive!

Sean

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