The Ruins for the Pit Stop
It was a cold, rainy morning. I have never put on that much gear to go for a bike ride. Layered and capped off with a raincoat I was as ready as I could be. We knew that the morning was going to have a long climb, followed by forests and then another long climb to the peak of a mountain for lunch.
Five minutes into the ride the leaders ordered us to stop and wait under some trees because it was raining too hard for us to keep biking. So we waited for the clouds to pass over us. With drizzle still falling on us we moved towards our first objective; Climb Number One.
At the beginning it didn’t seem like it would be that big of a deal. I hadn’t looked at the chart for the day. I reached what I thought was the peak and the road started to turn. As I made it around the corner I saw that we weren’t done yet and it was just getting steeper. YES!!!
I continued climbing, and climbing, and climbing the hill. By the time we made it to the top I was exhilarated! Not that tired, just excited to be at the top of the hill. It was an incredible view and completely worth the effort. I kept thinking about the climbs I watch during the Toure de France. This one felt really steep and I wondered what the grade of the incline was. It averaged between 14% and 19%. This is not nearly the same inclines that professionals ride, but I have to tell you, it was intense and a lot of fun!
A few kilometers later we met another part of our group that didn’t want to deal with this climb, but they wanted to tackle the highest climb of the five-day-ride. Working our way through another forest we started to go up Mount Amasa.
Working and working we finally made our way to the top of the mountain. The peak we sat on was 850 meters above Sea Level and we had climbed 500 meters of it! Again we were fighting against the winds that whip around the peak of a mountain and I was very thankful for the structure we sat in.
As we were preparing to leave, the guides explained to us that part of our descent would be incredibly technical. This meant that we needed to pay a lot of attention to the rocks that could be in our way. I was excited that we had practiced on many smaller technical descents and I was ready to roll.
The entire descent (that wasn’t only a descent) was all off-road. The path was rockier and harder to keep a grip on the ground. Until we hit the technical part.
They asked us to get off and walk our bikes over a small section of it because the wind was blowing too hard and the path was very challenging. But once we got through that, it was back on the bike. I set weight back on the saddle, gripped the handlebars and eased off my brakes.
At times I intentionally pulled up on my handlebars so I could jump over some obstacle that was in my way. There were other times that the rocks themselves tossed me into the air. The trick to getting down was to keep your weight back and your hands on the rear brake only.
You cannot really waver, you need to make a decision about the line you want to bike down and go for it. If you’re too nervous, it’s best to walk for a little while.
Safely at the bottom, I was out of breath and my calves were on fire. I spent the whole descent standing, it’s best to stand to absorb some of the shock instead of taking all of the bumps you hit. This was an amazing thrill and I was so glad I had decided to do it.
After waiting for everyone to catch up we continued towards Arad, where we would stay that night. To get there we moved through some desert towns and one of the cutest things I had even seen happened.
In one of the villages we passed through, a bunch of kids came running after us. I had a massive smile come across my face when one kid ran into his house and came out on his bicycle. He started chasing after us and it was hilarious!
Fields Before Hills
On the way towards the hotel we would stay at we were surrounded by amazing views and more rolling hills.
Finally in Arad, we got to stay overnight at a hotel and meet with some of the Israeli Rabbis that were meeting at the same hotel for a conference. What a way to wind down for the last segment of the Ride4Reform.
But if you think that was a tough day, Thursday was insane. Look for the day 5 post to come soon.