In a rare moment of clarity and maturity, I decided to bug out of the Alyn challenge ride and do the standard ride. I came to this conclusion after riding for three days in the hills of Yerushalayim.
I rode in an area called Nais Harim, between Ein Kerem and Bet Shemesh. Very nasty hills for many miles. Although I had no problem climbing the hills, I found myself fried by the heat and very tired at the end of each day. I was reminded about how unbelieveably hot it gets in the Negev, even in late October.
It then occurred to me that I would not enjoy the total experience of the Alyn ride nearly as much if I did the challenge ride, about 80 miles a day, rather than the standard ride, about 60 miles a day. The truth is that I really don't enjoy riding more than 60 or 70 miles a day and I don't really have anything to prove in terms of my ability to ride hard. Indeed, the past three days of riding had parts that were as hard as anything I would face during the challenge ride.
When I contacted the organizers of the ride, they were shocked. I have gained a reputation among the Alyn chevra as somewhat of an intense lunatic (me, intense?) so when I told them I wouldn't be doing the challenge, they had a hard time believing it.
Coincidentally, later that day, the organizers sent around an email saying that, because the demand for the challenge ride was so great, they would be expanding the number of riders from 50 to about 70. But in order to do that, they had to move around the accomodations. Instead of staying at a guest house on the second night, the challenge riders would be sleeping outside on mats at the Mamshit Bedouin tent.
Been there, done that, in 2004. As I said at the time, Mamshit was a once in a lifetime experience that I've already done once so, no thank you. I felt even better about my decision having heard about that.
The other good news is that, with the exception of Psycle Steve and a rider from Chicago, virtually everyone else I know on the ride is doing the regular ride.
This takes all the pressure off. I am actually ready for the Alyn ride now. I have four months to step up my training and get my abs and lower back stronger but the riding part will be relatively easy. Relatively being the key word. It's still not for the feint of heart but considerably easier than the challenge ride.
Labels: Random Thoughts