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

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Alyn 2008: Day One, Last But Not Least? No, But At Least Not Last

This is the first in a series of accounts of my most recent Alyn Hospital Bike Ride

Today was a very difficult but great day of riding.

It did not start so well. As predicted, jet lagged, I woke up very early, at 2:15 a.m. and could not get back to sleep.

After a short, tedious ceremony (really, how many years can your hear the same shtick?) the ride was launched from the Azrieli Malcha mall and after a steep decline into the valley, we climbed right back up, in the hardest ascent of the day, 12 kilometers to Nes Harim.

We then descended from the Judean hills into the Ellah Valley (the site if the battle between David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:1). Some of my friends reached 47 miles per hour on this descent (not me; I am much more cautious after reaching 48 mph last year on a hill where a rider took a dangerous tumble).

The rest of the day featured a series of rolling hills until the 60 mile mark where we climbed another 1000 feet before descending to Be'er Sheva, our overnight location. In all, 85 miles (5 more than advertised).

The difficulty today was not so much the climbing as the combination of the challenging terrain, the hot weather (around 85 degrees) and the blistering pace of the challenge riders. It was all I could do to hold on to the back of the pack.

The good news is that I finished the day safely, I did not get picked up by the SAG van, and I wasn't even last. I actually did very well on the first climb (in retrospect, perhaps too well). I started battling cramping in my legs a bit before lunch but managed to hold them off (lunch could not have come soon enough).

I struggled on the last climb, lost my chain three times, was dropped by the group, but managed to stay out of the sag van. I was, in fact, the last rider up that hill save for the three riders who were scooped up.

The only thing that put a damper on the day was that, after the ride, we stopped at a mall in Be'er Sheva for over an hour in some photo op for the mayor before going to our hotel. What a waste of time (and the last thing you want to do after 85 miles). Not the end of the world but annoying.

After the ride, I got to finally meet Gila over beers (or at least my beer; she drank a diet Sprite) whose account is here.

My hammies are unbelievably sore and I've been trying to stretch them all night. Thankfully, tomorrow's ride is only 71 miles with very little intense climbing. Even better, our start time is 8 a.m., a luxury for this ride.



  • At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I must tell you- Gila- from the little I read on her blog, thru your link- is remarkable


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