Sunday, 1 March 2009

Day 15: Paran to Shacharut

I am writing this from the Beduin tent in Shacharut. On arrival, I guess from
my ashen pallor, I was immediately offered a sweet cup of tea which revived me somewhat. It had been a tough day in the saddle.

It was a ride divided between trail and road, but with a common factor afflicting both, gale strength winds. If we had sails we could have done the ride in a couple of hours ! Unfortunately, it was Blowing in from the direction we were heading, Idiot Wind, no matter which way we turned (apologies to Bob Dylan).

I was reduced to counting the kilometres to each waypoint, no matter if it was in the great empty expanse of Nahal Paran (25km of unending gravel) or the ribbon of highway heading south, I could not muster, on average, more than 10kph.

Frustration reigned ! On eventually emerging on to the Mitspe Ramon road from Nahal Zichor, we collapsed next to a signpost to take on some energy supplies. Afer a few minutes I caught sight from my prone position the unmistakable sight of a peloton of racing cyclists, who passed us with a whish and a wave. How I wished I was on one of their light bikes with the wind on my back.

As a postscript, the next day we met by chance an organizer of the Eilat Ironman competition, who told us that many of the competitors had been blown off their bikes and injured in the strong wind. Lucky your Ironman Blogger was on his heavy mountain bike.

Ride Stats:
Distance 74kms
Total Distance 919kms
Duration 8.5 hours
Agg Climbs 668 metres
Max Gradient 22%
Av Temp 20C (wind chill factor 14C ?)
0 punctures
1 bent dérailleur (Ariye)

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