The days are short, barely enough to tire me out after riding from sunrise to sunset. I could continue into the night if I needed to, with the energy I have. But – let’s face it – that would be pointless.
15 hours of darkness sounds like a lot, but the reality is more subtle. At this latitude, the sun seems to be permanently rising and setting together, low in the sky, casting long shadows even at midday. It’s a photographer’s paradise.
It follows that the twilight hours are wonderfully protracted. Light still lingering in the sky more than two hours after sunset means that actual riding time is extended by a fair amount.
I’ve yet to drag myself out of the sleeping bag early enough to make use of the pre-dawn light, however. The temperature has fallen and that together with the sudden onslaught of all-day exercise has left my body beaten. I lie now in my tent, insulated by a down jacket and 2 sleeping bags, trying to ignore the ache in my right elbow as I lean on it to type this article.
I can keep going for a couple more days, but soon I’ll need a day off, and that will mean finding a local host, as I can’t afford the accommodation rates here. It’s a tough enough place to do this in winter without the knowledge that hotels and hostels are out of reach.
The night is long, but I’ve plenty to keep myself occupied. Running a daily blog is a new project for me; I’ve never travelled with a laptop and 3G modem before, and needless to say the conditions make it tempting to forget the updates and head directly for the warmth of the sleeping bag. My rusty routine actually helps to fill the waking hours of the night – if I were as efficient as I once was, I’d have a lot more time to waste!
It’s -12°C and falling. This is far more prefereable to anywhere close to zero, which would result in a lot of damp equipment. But I hope it doesn’t fall much further…