Pangalan to Pekanbaru 129km
Sometime today I cycled across the Equator. Not sure when, because I saw no signage, or if I did I didn't understand what it was telling me. But my map tells me I am now in the Northern Hemisphere. That means I have cycled one quarter of the earth's axis. That's cool. But today was not cool. It was hot...like equator hot.
Anyway, my understanding is that now a few things will start happening. Apparently water will go down the plug hole differently. Hopefully, it will start getting cooler. Supposedly, everything is downhill from here. With any luck I'm now closer to some countries that don't have rice and noodles as their staple food. We shall see....
The first 30km today followed a wide river up a deep valley. Lovely riding. Just as the road started to rise, at 30km, I stopped for breakfast. Then I climbed every hill in Northern Sumatra for 30km, just to get around the arms of a huge lake. Without the haze in the air there might have been some really nice photos, but as it was, my hands were so slippery from sweat, I probably would have dropped the camera. I was stopped by a young couple and invited to their house. Unfortunately, it was 200km away from my route. So we just took photos instead.
After the tour of all the uphills, the road dropped back to what I'm sure was the same river, just at the other end of the lake....60km and lunchtime.....and copious fluid intake needed.
I had finally reached the promised flat land, but it was incredibly hot. The road was very busy, and straight, like the Himitangi straights on a huge Sunday, tripled. At 90km I was melting. I flopped onto the steps of a closed restaurant, and slept. I was in the shade, but it was not cool. I was ready to fall into a rice paddy, but there were none handy I sacrificed a bottle of water, tipping it over my head. The water was warmer than body temperature, but it picked up the slight breeze. Almost Bliss, but far too short a respite. I didn't move for an hour. When I did, it was to use my Swiss Army knife. It was in my handlebar bag, in the shade, but was almost too hot to handle.
The nearest hotel is in Pekanbaru 40km away. It is a very measured, weary ride, stopping every 10km for juice, ice cream and shade. A tough, tough day..... But I crossed the Equator.