It’s a roster waking us up with his extended “chicchiricchi” in the early morning. I’ve slept on the floor on a muslim carpet in the restaurant house of a kindly Indonesian family who offered us a shelter. I wake up stiff but rested, I wash my face in the water tank in the yard which is filled when it rains, I wear my dirty sweaty bike clothes of yesterday, it seem to be another brave day! We escape the hot chilly breakfast for some biscuits and coffee, we say goodbye to our generous magnates and we’re in the saddle.
After three days of hills and swamp, today are the mountains waiting us , it’s the real climb.
We’re biking through Sumatra from the east to the west coast and after 10.000 kilometers already pedaled we’re ready for this new mountain pass at high altitude.
A woman with a veil is washing her clothes in a stream next to her house, a young Indian loads the heavy bunches of fruit from the palm tree which is then made into oil palm, tens of men sculpt the rock roadside with hammer and pickaxe reminding me of the forced laborers. I feel privileged in my free choice of traveling around the world.
Ten, twenty, thirty kilometers and the road goes up, goes up merciless, goes up without respite, goes up irregular, goes up wet, it just goes up.
I sweat, I fight, devour any type of food, then I stand up on the pedals, sometimes cursing. I motivate myself depending on hairpin bend or of thought going through my mind. I turn back, looking Marco in the eyes , he’s tired as me, dangling, clinging to the handlebars as to the fate , behind the curve maybe the downhill. The heart is a crazy piston, the calves are stone ready to crack , the breath is a gale unable to find oxygen.
Bicycle and mountain, simply mountain and bicycle. My feelings are a mixture of effort and triumph, challenge and motivation, lost in the eternal question of stay or leave. Today the limit is the imaginary line of the equator, the zero parallel. Today and always the limit is my mind, the finish line that we put in our goals.
Today exhausted, I decided to do a last pedaling, to overcome my limit , to overstep the equator, to arrive a little bit further, because it’s curious , it’s always my heart that let me go over my mind.
And beyond my lonely soul.