Sunday, 22 February 2009

Day 8: Meitar to Arad

Well, there had to be a day like this! A day when perhaps it would have been better to stay indoors, in the comfort of my friends' home, with a hot mug of coffee, watching the National Geographic channel. Instead I was up a mountain with my head in the clouds.

Against everybody's better judgement,including my own, I set out, alone, on the wettest and stormiest day of the year, to complete this stage and to maintain the continuity of the trek. If I'd known ahead that my route, in the prevailimg conditions, would generate the greatest figure for climbing to the highest elevation so far, I'd have definitely opted for the evening bus to Arad.

My first attempt to leave Meitar was A Disaster, I immediately got bogged down in the quick-sands surrounding the place. I managed to extricate myself to the local gas station, hose down the bike, and tried the roads instead. I was fortunate to locate the KKL scenic route ( marked blue on the maps) which was well surfaced, and took me up to the Yatir Forest. It had that vicious 22% gradient, at one point, but mercifully, it was on asphalt and I was able to maintain traction.In the sheeting rain,at the highest point, I was stopped by a soldier from the nearby camp, who quite understandably could not fathom the sudden appearance in the mists, of a helmeted, balaclava'd figure on a bicycle. I think I was more of a security risk to myself than to the Yatir Army Base!

By the way, how long should it take to dry out sodden shoes stuffing them with toilet paper ??

Ride Stats:Distance 65kms
Total Distance 571km
Duration 6.5 hours
Agg climbs 1254 metres (biggest so far)
Max Height 857 metres
Max Gradient 22% (I remember that one!)
Av temp 10C, lowest 6C, rain and hail.0 punctures
2 very wet shoes

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