The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Ride - Prologue

I landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday morning, November 4th. I collected my bike and luggage and hopped in a car (with my favorite driver, Avi Levy) and went straight to Alyn Hospital. I dropped off the bike for the mechanics to assemble and went straight to my sister's house. I did some shopping for Shabbos in Geulah and then took a nap.

In (what would have been) the middle of my nap I got a desperate call from the head of publicity for the hospital. Could I write an article for about my reasons for doing the ride and what the hospital means to me. I said, "sure, when do they want it?". She said, "now". I quickly thumbed out an article on my blackberry and shot it over. They actually did publish the article last week.

On Friday night I froze while davening at the Kotel with Chaim Dovid and Shlomo Katz. I wasn't feeling well and was very concerned that I was coming down with something. Just what I needed a day before the ride.

Dinner at CD's house was delightful and a good night's sleep followed. I was too lazy and sick to return to the Kotel in the morning so I davened at the shul in Yemin Moshe. I ate 'lunch' and went back to sleep at 11:30. When I woke up three hours later I felt much better.

The bus to Ramot, our launching point for the ride, left Yerushalayim at 7:30 and arrived at 10:15. Ramot is on the eastern end of the Kinneret and has a very nice guest house. It was nice to meet my acquaintances from last year's ride again. The riders hung out in the lobby, prepared their stuff for the next day's ride and went to sleep. I slept fitfully (as did, apparently, everyone else I spoke to).
Up at 5, minyan at 5:30, breakfast at 6. Breakfast was a total balagan. The dining room was not equipped to handle 400 people (325 riders, mechanics and volunteers) at the same time. I scrambled to get enough to eat and did not really succeed. This would have very negative implications later in the day.

After breakfast we checked out our bikes and made final preparations. The big question was what to wear. It was sunny and warm but we would be climbing over 4000 feet during the course of the day. Did one put on layers or simply dress for the warm weather. This decision, too, would have major implications for many of the riders through the course of the day.

At 7:30, after a mercifully short ceremony, we were on the road again.


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