We climbed gently for a couple of km and then it was downhill.....for almost 20km......amazing, exhilarating, fun. Smooth tarmac, twisting curves, no pedaling, passing scooters, passing trucks..... What a fantastic way to start the day.
And we were at a beach...well really a fishing harbour....not somewhere you might swim...but we were feeling good about where we were. Time for an Ems Power Bar. The road out of town was reasonably flat, but the hills at the the head of the valley were looking, we'll steep really.
Our hotel breakfast didn't really do much towards providing energy for hills, so even though it was only 10am, we searched out a food stall. Down a side road we found the best Gado gado in Sumatra, and even though the stall was empty when we arrived, we were very soon surrounded by sight seers....we were the sights. We have to wonder what you would have to look like, riding through Sydneham, to get as much attention as we get riding through a village. Have at least three heads and be green would be our guess.
Schools out, and we mix it with kids cycling home. They race us, but suddenly all disappear as we turn up the first switch back. Our hill for the day has arrived. It's big. It's hot. It's long. It's steep. 6km takes us two hours. Passing trucks are spied out....have they room for a bike on the back? Several false summits do not add joy to the climb, but eventually we reach a high ridge, which feels close enough to celebrate a mean accomplishment, Grahams first big climb.
And now we are ready for the fantastic downhill.....but what is this, another up, and then another, and you wouldn't believe it, another. Graham reckons we were being teased. I reckon it was more an aggressive....Ha, thought you'd finished climbing eh? Suckers..... It was a test, of will power, grit, manliness, mind over body, and the hill was winning. But like true super heros, we persevered, and eventually good triumphed, and before us, finally, was a long long stretch of amazing downhill.
We sped through an amazing jungle landscape. Weird sounds could be heard from within the jungle. Monkeys? Birds? Cicadas? Chainsaws? Tigers? Elephants? Rhinos? They all live in this
area, but we saw none of them, but I'm sure we heard them all.
And then, for the first time while riding in Indonesia it rained. Torrential. It was already too late to stop and find cover. Thankfully the roads were not slippery, and the downhill continued. It was almost enough fun to make up for the gruelling climb. It was amazing. It was stunning. It certainly was fun. At times it was so dark, with the canopy, the cloud cover, and the rain, (and my riding glasses lenses being dark), it was hard to see. It was a fantastic way to end a hard day at the office.
Trouble is, the office wasn't finished with us. The wonderful flat smooth road at the bottom of the hill, produced no Losemen. We had to go up another hill. Bother. And then we are told...No Losemen for 80km. Bother. But there is a restaurant, and truck stop, and you can sleep there for free....follow me. Gotta love Sumatra.