Day 8 Skelleftea to Umea sponsored by New Lodge Contractors

Previously on Arctic to Africa……

Moral was at an all time low, the weather was atrocious, roads were too dangerous but the team were battling on and now the story continues….

Up early again for breakfast at another Scandic Hotel (Sweden’s answer to a Best Western). The cereal, cheese, ham and toast were very good as usual.

It wasn’t raining!!! Yey! The cyclists set of with renewed vigour and hope in their hearts. Muscles were aching and joints were hurting. It wasn’t long before the pain was getting serious for some of the team. We all rallied together, the team was working again! Those who felt better took the wind and pulled the others along.

The backup team packed up the kit and loaded the van and then they hit the gym! 15 minutes on the treadmill, 15 minutes “floor session”, and 15 minutes in the pool and we were about ready to go. Last night we found a great café, which served proper coffee out of a proper machine, so we headed there for a large cappuccino before setting off in the truck. Heaven!

The cyclists moral picked up considerably at the half way point when we came across a cafe – all you can eat for £8; Swedish meatballs, potato wedges and salad, juice and coffee also included. We also managed a beer, result a happy team. As we finished lunch a coach load of Germans came in. I have to say they weren’t the youngest group, in fact if any were a day under 90 I would be surprised. It was a bit disconcerting that some of the ladies took a shine to Dave in his Lycra! After lunch we continued then the heavens opened and we got soaked again! Luckily this was a short shower and then the sun came out. It was glorious, this is what we had been waiting for. Cycling was a pleasure for once and the views were stunning, still trees but trees in the sun!

The backup team arrived in Umea amongst plenty of roadworks only to discover we were staying in a converted prison. A few cellmate & soap jokes followed, then we followed our tour guide Gary to a very funky bar in the centre of this student city. We are currently sat in this bar outside in the sunshine (it got here eventually!), except our table is next to a building site so we’re patiently waiting for the diggers to shut up!

After a nice downhill section to finish the day off, the cyclists met up with the backup team who didn’t disappoint and had beers ready. A good day all round.

Dan & Sean

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