Sunday 8 Jan, 2017. Manggelewa to Sumbawa Besar. 19th cycling day. 10 hours 4 minutes. 172 km. Average 17.2 km/h. 1260 metres up, 1325 meters down.
Did you read that? 172 km. Today was a big one. I have decided I didn’t plan Sumbawa very well. It’s an oddly shaped island and the (only) two tourist spots, surfing at Lakey Pesk and the volcano, Mt Tambora were off to the side and not on my radar, given my time was limited. I wasn’t expecting to be able to cover 170 kilometres, effectively two days in one. Perhaps I could have changed plans and detoured to one but by this stage it was too late, and to be honest, all thoughts are on Lombok and Bali.
I got away before 7am and it was cloudy so I made hay while the sun was hiding. On the only serious hill climb of the day I ran into two runners, the only people I’ve seen exercising in Indonesia since, well they are the only people I’ve seen exercising.
I slowed and cycled with them, talking as we went, to to the top where we took a photo. I can’t remember their stories.
It was heads down for the remainder of the day. I don’t think I gave out one sticker. I can’t remember too many opportunities. Far fewer people by the side of the road than Flores.
By early afternoon the sun was shining bright and I was singing what I’ve tended to think of when someone calls out “foreigner!”
Bule ole, bule ole, feeling hot hot hot.
I wanted to be a buffalo doing this
By mid afternoon it was pouring with rain and I was enjoying not wearing my very expensive ultralight raincoat and eating rambutan as I rode.
By late afternoon I was tired. I skulled a litre of creaming soda and scoffed a chocolate bar to top up me sugar levels.
By early evening I had made it to Sumbawa Besar and I headed to the planned hotel. I was greeted by the manager. Oh mister. So strong. Where have you come from today? Oh wow. Where are you going tomorrow? Oh great. Where did you start? Oh really? Where are you from? Good mister, very good. How can I help?
Um, I’d like a room please.
So sorry mister. Fully booked tonight.
It wasn’t the fact that for the first time this trip, and after a 170k day no less, a hotel had no vacancy that annoyed me. It was the fact that he made me answer questions knowing I couldn’t stay.
Happy to report though that a backup wasn’t far away, a kilometre back the way I had come, and the room was nice and quiet with air con.
I showered and put on some clean clothes and went looking for food. I ordered two helpings of nasi goreng and two ice teas. I then went to the nearby supermarket. I wanted a beer. Possible, kind of. On a supermarket shelf that would excite Harry there were three varieties of Bintang for sale, and all three had zero percent alcohol. I bought two chocolate milks and an ice cream instead.