This is my final end to end Blog - Mission Accomplished ! The Israel Bike Trail has been ridden and conquered.
At 15.30,1st March 2009, I dipped my wheels in the gently lapping waters of The Gulf of Aqaba. It is 16 riding days, 982 kms, and innumerable revolutions, since they were dipped in the snow of Mount Hermon.
I actually completed the trek one day ahead of schedule as the planned route over the Eilat Mountains from Shacharut had to be changed due to the severe weather conditions and the possibility of flash flooding.The length of the revised route,meant Eilat was attainable in one riding day.
We had spent an uncomfortable cold night in the Shacharut Khan tent.The rain pounding, the flapping of the awnings, and the local cats howling under our common shelter. We set off in full winter gear, the wind factor reducing temperatures to near zero.
Ariye and I descended Ma'ale Shacharut , steep but mostly rideable,with an amazing view of the Arava under a threatening blanket of black clouds. Thankfully though, the weather held out, and actually improved, with little wind, but occasional spots of rain. I thought, what were the chances of rain at the start and finish of the end to end !
The Grand Finale, was following the IBT into the Eilat Mountains,trails that climb and wind around rocks of yellow, red, purple. The designers of the trail ensured that it will fittingly lead straight to the sea along the dried river bed of Nahal Netifim, although the Eilat Municipality has to clean it up before it is open to the general public.
Ariye had mysteriously found a large Israel flag in one of the drainage tunnels, was it by chance or had it been planted? I will never know, but it made it , the last few metres, to the sea shore as well.
The Israel Bike Trail can be and will be ridden in the future by countless cyclists and all, like myself, will find it a challenge, a unique way to absorb all the physical elements of the country, and a life affirming experience.
Thanks to all who helped me fulfil my ambition to ride the end to end,those who rode with me, your companionship was deeply appreciated; my daughters, their partners, other friends, for all their support, those who gave me shelter from the storm, and of course Yvonne, who was compliant to my dream beyond the call of marital duty, and who faithfully uploaded my postings sent from my trusty Ipod.
Oh yes, all prohibitions against the p-word, are now lifted.
Final Total 982 kms
Duration 7 hours
Agg Climbs 496 metres
Max gradient 39% (elevator in Eilat hotel?)
Max Rideable Descent -14% (Ma'ale Shacharut)
Temp Range 9C - 22C
Overall Enjoyment Factor : 982 k's
Written on an Egged Bus from Eilat to Haifa , 2nd March 2009.
Long. Live. Long. Rides !
Sent from my iPod