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  1. #1
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    TR: Sights & MTB Iceland

    TR: Sights & MTB Iceland
    August 16-27, 2017

    Day 0:
    End of last year some local riding friends started planning a mountain bike trip to Iceland. I had never done a guided mountain bike tour, but looking at costs of food, lodging, and transportation in Iceland, it seemed like an ok option. Plus we would be a private trip, so would more likely have a good group dynamic. It was a tough call picking to fly 1 stop from SAN or non stop from LAX. With bikes, option to use 1 less vacation day, and less chance of delay, picked WOW airlines nonstop from LAX. Plenty happy with WOW and would fly them again, but LAX is a huge hassle, so hopefully they start flying to SAN. Packing was the only other headache of the trip. Glad I wasn't stuck on a rental bike for all the rides, but it was a challenge getting all the weather riding gear and spare parts all packed and under weight limit. But it all worked out and it was time to get on the airplane:

  2. #2
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    Day 1:
    Arrived in Reykjavik, purchased beer, booze, sim card in duty free and picked up at the airport in style:


    Had a couple days before the mtb tour started, so I rented a car and couple of us started drive east after dropping most of the gear at the Airbnb rental. Had to eat at this place we noticed from the highway for dinner:


    Despite my lead foot, slow speed limit and traffic on the ring road made it seem like forever to get to the national park. But the drive was scenic:


    Nice looking farm:


    Arrived the Skaftafell after sunset and crawled in the bivy for a few hours of sleep:

  3. #3
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    Day 2:
    Up early for a big hike in the National Park:


    Trail started up right away and was steep most of the way, past some waterfalls:


    Awesome views:


    Got more awesome:


    Final push to summit was something like 1000 vert ft in less than half a mile:


    But views got epic:


    Up we go:


    180 pano I took with my cell phone from the top of Kristinartindar Peak:


    Didn't see anyone on the way up, but it was busy on the hike out. Not sure if it was because it was a different trail or just later in the day. Slightly painful 4000 ft of down back to the rental car, but with views of a glacier:


    After the hike we drove further east to check out a couple glacier lagoons:


    To bad kreechan dropped his ~$100 bottle of whiskey in rental car parking lot, on the rocks with 10k year old ice would have been fun:


    Started drive back west to town. Remains of the bridge from a jökulhlaup:


    Interesting looking moss growing on basalt:



    Stopped and hiked into the Seljavallalaug Geothermal pool, but the water wasn't very warm:


    Next stop was the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall for sunset photos:

  4. #4
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    Day 3:
    Golden Circle sights. Started with Țingvellir national park, sight that The Vikings established the world’s first democratic parliament, the Alțingi, in AD 930:


    Stop at Geysir to see the OG Geyser:


    Then Gullfoss water fall and some lamb soup for lunch:


    Stöng, for a unearthed Viking-era Long house:


    And more water falls and location for GoT scenes:




    Stopped at the geothermal park to cook an egg in a hot spring:


    Couple mile of steep hiking up to a geothermal river valley:


    Water was perfect:


    Final stop was a lava tube that the guide book said was free, but looks like they just put up a gate and started charging. So we wondered around and looked in the sky lights:
    Last edited by 406; 09-01-2017 at 01:50 PM.

  5. #5
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    Day 4:
    Start of the MTB tour with a fat bike ride south of town. My first time on a fat bike. Trailhead at a geothermal area:


    Up we go:


    Small patch of green:


    Welcome to the moon:


    Chunky down:


    Up we go over the next ridge:


    The boys play on some Iceland slick rock:


    Ridge line riding always seems the best:


    Fun down to the super bus:


    Lobster soup and beers at this place:


    Swim in the blue lagoon:


    Back to town to put the red bikes together:


    Guide book claimed locals liked these hotdogs the best, but I wasn't impressed:

  6. #6
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    Day 5:
    Fun ride on mostly down trail next to a young lava flow:


    Then it was time to "get to da choppa":


    Cool looking lava flows:


    They have an elevator that goes several hundred feet into the volcano, but cost $400:


    Smooth drop off and the trail was fun from the start:




    Lots of down and then across a large flat meadow to a geothermal area:




    Some up and then very fun down to a geothermal power plant for beers and snacks:


    Dinner was yummy fish and chips, but expensive:

  7. #7
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    Day 6:
    Our meeting spot was the big church:


    The bastard is in Iceland:


    Drive to the cabins in the highlands and then to the top of a volcano with a lake in it to start the ride:


    Up to the high point on the rim:




    Fun down, then some up to some nice flowing trail:


    More up with cinder cone in the background:


    Past a very busy geothermal river and up an awesome canyon:


    Some hike a bike Euro style:


    Then down to the rigs:

  8. #8
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    Day 7:
    Had nice northern lights both nights at the cabin. Others got some cool photos. The cabin:


    Evdog about to go otb into a boiling pit, j/k:


    Some up and hike a bike got to awesome colors in the hills:


    Then fun down to some loose steep that only a couple of us cleaned:


    More geothermal stuff and water falls:


    Up and over a couple hills and then perfect sheep trail next to a scenic lake:


    Around the lake:


    One more up, then down to the cabin:


    For smoked lamb, cheese, ham, and beer:

  9. #9
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    Day 8:
    Scenic drive above the clouds to Alftavatn to start the ride:


    Fun first few miles:


    Some rivers had bridges:


    others did not:


    A few miles of moon scape:


    And then the big glaciers started to come into view:




    More green as we get closer to Thorsmark:


    Bushes!:


    Last section of trail was down and fast and fun:

  10. #10
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    Day 9:
    Always good to start with push a bike:


    Some riding:


    Cool canyon:


    kreechan gets his Hans Rey on for a second on the Cats backbone:


    Evdog rolling off an outcrop:


    Nice drive out of the Highlands and back to town. The super bus overheated, but a couple restarts and we were back on the road.

  11. #11
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    Day 10:
    Weather had rolled in, I went to the National Museum soon as it opened. This was really cool:






    The only weapon invented by Icelanders:


    Walking around town. The unknown bureaucrat:


    Modern Alțingi:


    I agree:


    Then the Settlement Museum, which is a Viking era long house excavated 10 feet under current street level:


    Seems the nordic boys ventured far to find a woman:


    More around town photos:




    Cool building:


    Inside:


    Sculpture:


    You are welcome:

  12. #12
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    Day 11:
    Ride to the airport was at noon and I had a few more things on my to see list. Inside the big church was boring, except the organ:


    Explains all the sheep, Irish monks:


    View from the top was nice:


    Rented a WOW bike for $3.50 for 30 min:


    Hammered up to the Perlan, but no KOM:


    Bike was more fun when I figured out how to shift, grip shits! Down to the University to return the bike at that station:


    and a bay that they pump hot water into for swimming:


    Except they had the hot water turned off...I figured I still needed to swim in the north Atlantic:


    Checked out the bike again for another $3.50 for the ride up the hill to the church:


    Parting shot of the Airbnb, we had the best street name:


    Nice flight back, but I think it took 3 hours from landing to get on the freeway...no more LAX for me:




    Tried to prune down the photos, but it was very scenic and we had perfect riding weather which sounds very uncommon. Would have liked to do some longer rides, but otherwise pretty happy with the guided part. If I were to go back, definitely wouldn't need a guide, but likely wouldn't get as lucky with weather and not very motivated to do 40 mile rides in rain & wind. Still totaling up door to door cost, but it was expensive and the USD dropping ~15% since the new year didn't help.

    Pretty awesome trip.

  13. #13
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    Looks like a great trip, B. Thanks for sharing.

  14. #14
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    cool architecture there!

    no one likes grip shits on a bike

    cool trip, thx for sharing!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by acinpdx View Post
    no one likes grip shits on a bike
    Freudian slip ...I know some like them, but they don't work well for those of us with big hands and a firm grip.

  16. #16
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    excellent

  17. #17
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    Epic photos and TR, 406! I've had a lot of friends visit Iceland in the past few years, but this is the first time I've seen an mtb trip. Very cool.

  18. #18
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    Dude this is awesome, I'm glad you posted this, no additional photo pruning necessary. I am fascinated by Iceland for a variety of reasons and this is just perfect to satisfy some of my curiosity yet make me even more intrigued.
    "The skis just popped me up out of the snow and I went screaming down the hill on a high better than any heroin junkie." She Ra

  19. #19
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    Good looking trip. Great photos

  20. #20
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    Iceland just jumped to the very top of my (non-ski) travel priority list. Well done.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using TGR Forums mobile app
    a witty saying proves nothing
    voltaire

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