The trail from Zova took us in and out of two major valleys (Sorek and Refaim), along some demanding single track involving carrying the bikes, and a near vertical push up from Mata. My partners provided the balance of a sensible pace with more breaks than I would have allowed myself riding solo. This made the experience more enjoyable and less of an energy sapping slog (rhymes with dog....)
Dogs ! Ariye has a mystical way with them. We were attacked out of the blue by a pair on the road near Tsur Haddasah. Whereas I have the dubious strategy of screaming obscenities at them (presuming they understand Old English) and try to accelerate away from the bared canines, Ariye stands his ground, stares them out, and they duly melt back into the foliage. Mind you, I forgot to mention in an earlier posting, that this skill does not extend to bovines when, in the Jordan Park, he was nearly trampelled by a charging jealous cow, after venturing too close to its calf.
When we eventually dropped down from the Jerusalem Hills, to Emek Ha'Elah, it was on a wonderful trail in Nahal Tsadsar which I suppose was a reward for all the effort in getting up there. That long descent with its twists and turns, ever changing vistas, and the technical challenge of the rock strewn path, was a joy, and intensified by the fact that it could be shared and remembered along with my companions.
Duration 8.5 hrs,
Agg Climbs 936 metres,
Max Height 750 metres
Max Gradient 16%
Av temp 20C