I met these youngster down on a river, when I left the road before the bridge to get closer to the water. The boy carried his catch of the day in his hands. Besides the usual ‘how are you’, ‘what’s your name’ style of questions, a nice little conversation and a language lesson developed …
A quick 30 km to the ferry mostly on a nice parallel road to the highway. On Java a complex navigation through the port city of Merak, before we turned into a more rural area.
We had to circumvent Gunung Rajabasa in the morning to get to the ferry port. Boarding was easy; pay 21000 Rupias (1.5€) and get on the large bark. The ride was fast and smooth, unfortunately we had to wait a long time in a park position before we could anchor and unload. So lunch at 45 km was at 12:45h, with still 82 km to go. The ride in Java is mostly unnoticed by the local people. Only rare ‘Hello Mister’ could be heard, unless you started to wave a hello to the people. We had to cycle along the slopes of the first volcanoes on Java. The day finished with a long 25 km downhill to Carita and the large hotel complex at the beach.
I felt better on the bike than yesterday, but now the fever is back, as I am resting in the large bungalow, that I share with 7 other riders. I may skip the day trip to Krakatau in favor to improve my health situation.
Sumatra Highway, all day long. Lungs are fully tarred now – feels like being a chain smoker for a life time. Got a mask now.
After the scenic rides of the past days, this is one to file under ”We don’t need more of these” . Although we were awarded with a long downhill, the ride as such was a ‘dirty’ and ‘hectic’ one. All day between a million trucks and motorcycles, blowing their exhausts into our lungs. I guess the Indonesians are being paid for burning their ‘gas’ (bensin solar) instead of having to pay for the fuel. I don’t know what they are doing on the roads all day?! Sure bringing kids to school in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon and carrying goods from here to there. But there is no rest in between. Roads are always busy. A few traders with goods on the bike, but others just youngsters cruising around … We had a small detour in the first larger town. However these attempts to bypass major traffic routes are often more difficult and dangerous to ride then staying on the main road, as the road conditions can get really bad on the secondary’s. Unfortunately another crash on a downhill of one of the fellow riders. 6 stiches in the local hospital and back on track!
You can sense, that your body is going weird, when you are wearing 3 layers of cycling functional wear (incl. wind stopper), but you still feel cold at air temperature of 40°C. I hope the rest day in Carita (after tomorrow’s 112k m) will get my body back in sync with my riding plans …
Overcast and cool in the morning. The afternoon sun burnt away the clouds and temperatures raised to upper 30th. Roads were good, but busy. Many trucks. The National Park was very scenic. Little time for photos, as time and energy was a constraint.
Another tough one. Longer and with two steep climbs compared to yesterday. The final climb, starting at km 137, was consuming the last energy reserves. I am developing a cold – a result of the temperature changes, riding in sweaty wet clothes all day, A/C in some places, fans in other, cold showers, exhaustion, … therefore I set myself a moderate pace of 22 km/h for the flat parts of the day, targeting a 4 pm arrival. A few photo and Coke stops in the afternoon, after passing the first summit added extra time to my result. The steep uphill (max. 18%) of the first climb through the National Park was followed by an identical steep downhill. Those with normal rim-breaks had problems with overheating the rims and needed to stop several times to cool down the rims again. With my disk breaks I didn’t have overheating problems and could race down the hill. However I stopped for a few photos. The Indomarets (super market) were good on stock with real cold Coke and chocolate, so bottles could be refilled infinitely. Our hotel is on top of the last climb. Temperatures are down to a comfortable level. 3 mosques are surrounding our hotel, and they seem to be competing each other with their prayers and volumes.
Tomorrow is another 140 km day. Establishing my health is first priority now –> early bed time … The next rest day is two days ahead.
Hot & humid (what else?). Steep climbs (20% grade), very scenic. Road good at the beginning at the end lot of gravel and potholes. Lunch again setup in a sort of paradise location at the beach – serving fresh coconuts.
This was one of a tough ride, today. The long big climb after 40 km was announced the night before. However there was no word about how steep some of the sections are going to be. And there was no saying about the many shorter but less steep ascents thereafter were following, adding to the total ascent of more than 1600m. We were mostly cruising along the coast line, except when crossing the national park with the big climb to 500m. The quick increasing temperatures did their part to the game and made cycling a sweaty job. At some point I thought Cristiano must be sitting somewhere at the beach, having a beer or more and a set of voodoo dolls of us all. For some unknown reasons he is punishing us the whole day, setting up more and more obstacles into our way and pushing the needles deeper and deeper. Reception at the camp was exceptional: We got a late lunch and fruits. Dinner was excellent – I added a fish to my diet. I think I gonna need some extra portion of energy for the days to come. Room at the Surfer camp is basic, but has got 2 fans, that are absolutely needed!
Today I was stopped by two girls who followed me on their motor scooter for quite a while. When they passed me the first time, they gave me a bright smile and a ‘Hello Mister’ and headed away, to soon slow down and let me pass again. I could hear them giggle. Next thing I noticed them approaching me again from the back, staying behind for a while, before they passed and slowed down again. This repeated several times, until they finally stopped behind the next corner and waited for me, waving me to stop, too, which I did.
Then I heard ‘Oh my God’, ‘Oh my God’ and ‘Photo’. Several OMGs later, the smiling faces were ‘iPhoned’ for a happy girl and a happier ‘Alter Sack’.
A fast marathon warm-up in the morning. The 42 km flat out of town would have been a treat, if the air wouldn’t be so polluted from the early morning commute.
It was easy rolling on the first 40 km. Thereafter it became more rural, hilly and the road sometimes a bit broken. The landscape did not change much until we turned back to the coast. Rice fields and palm trees build the scene. Lunch at a police station with a school next to it. This guaranteed spectators and entertainment. After lunch temperatures increased to reach upper 30th.
Today I was stopped by two girls on a motor scooter. They followed me quite a while, then passed, fall back again, passed until finally stopped next to the road and signaled me to stop, too – which I did. The first word of the girl was ‘OMG, I want a photo with you’. So I had a road side photo session and many more “OMG’s” …