What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was a pleasant ride under the sun, today has been a grueling effort in the cold.

I’m now a stone’s throw away from the finish line, and this has been a great motivation to reach the end of the ride. That, and the fact there was no other place to stop before the city. I started the day feeling good, but that quickly turned around.

I suppose I’m mostly feeling the need for the break I didn’t have since I left Copenhagen. The effort is building up faster during the day. My legs have really been paying a dear price today, I can still feel it in the evening. The second factor was the terrain itself. I’ve been going east then north from Nyköping, on what was the best course certainly (no dirt road or strange detours), but I went through ups and down all the way – so it was far from nice and flat. Small hills actually, but I’ve  quickly resorted to walking them up when needed. No shame in surviving the distance.

On top of that, the weather went from a sunny 30+ two days ago, with a helping back wind, to less than 15 today, overcast again – I didn’t see the sun today – and a wind coming from the east. Not strong enough to be a nuisance, but it didn’t help. Mostly the muscles never got warm, and I had to push harder than needed.

Oh well, it’s this kind of day where you have to stay focused, manage yourself and keep going. Four hours on the bike is doable, as long as you move forward, and it doesn’t become ten or twelve hours walking. It’s what happened that fateful day in Utah, when I couldn’t go on. But the circumstances didn’t add up as much today, so after hours circling the fjords, passing a farm here and there, and even during a time seeing groups of cyclists in a race, I reached Södertälje. I haven’t really being looking around the city to be honest. I’m looking at the weather for tomorrow, which should be awful apparently. That won’t prevent me from concluding this trip and be happy I did it!