Conquista - The Cycling Quarterly Issue 2 - Page 24

Jotunheimen is a land of trolls and giants. It is a mountainous area of roughly 3,500km2 in southern Norway. The name was coined by poet Aasmund Olavsson Vinjie in 1862 after being inspired by the name Jötunheimr in Norse mythology. Jötunheimr was one of the ‘nine homeworlds’ believed to be the home of giants including Rock Giants and Frost Giants. It’s easy to see why the ancients developed a mystical association with this epic, unforgiving terrain. Roughly four hours from Oslo, the Jotunheimen National Park has the largest concentration of mountains higher than 2,000 metres in Northern Europe and it is home to Norway’s highest peaks. Riding this landscape offers an endless variety of vistas and views. Any route you take delivers dramatic scenery that’s rich in contrasts. Airy mountains with snowy peaks gives berth to high waterfalls pouring endlessly over sheer vertical drops. The giants may be gone but Jotunheimen still teems with wondrous beasts – golden eagles, falcons, wolverines, elk and reindeer all run wild. The weather is violent and changeable. Within a few hours it can turn from snow and heavy rain to brilliant blue sky. The National Trail that runs from Lom to Gaupne (108km) is winding, steep and only open for a small part of the year, thanks to huge snowfalls in all but the warmest months. 24