Friday’s ride

bike

Today, Susan and I did the bike event in Jerusalem. In our case, the 40 km ride round the city and surrounding hills. And that’s part of the event that lingers longest: the hills. There were same great runs down, and some tough hill climbs.

The other parts that linger include the fun of riding with Shosh and Elaine (thanks!) and the views. Early on there was fog or mist in the valley. Later on it was clear and we had the green, green grass of, er, Jerusalem.

We are now safely home, tired, but happy, and getting ready for Shabbat.

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Rush

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I don’t know why, but one of the Israeli experiences I enjoy is getting stopped at a railway level crossing and seeing the train go by. And, lucky me, it happens that there is a level crossing in Herzliya on the road we took back on our last bike ride.

And, even luckier, the barriers came down ahead of us, and a train sped through. Cue a rush for my iPhone. (Too fast and dark for a decent picture, but the snap gives you a reasonable impression of the rush of the train going past.)

That was the highlight. The lowlights were the puncture I had, and the two punctures one of the other riders picked up. Maybe we need to slow down?

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Tales from the trip – mountain biking

Here be cyclists...

Here be cyclists…

On our trip back to Scotland, Susan and I were lucky enough to squeeze in two days of cycling at Glentress.

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On the first outing, we were even luckier and had David Sinclair (of Five Star Fitness) to accompany us on the red run. The weather was dry, though occasionally overcast, with fog (!) and mist on some of the higher areas.

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The temperature was fine for me, though whatever cold Susan felt soon dissipated with the exertion of the climb.

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We had a great day out; we climbed up the hill, and we soared down the hill. Trouble free. At the end of the day’s biking we recharged our energy stores at the restaurant before David drove us home for a wee nap. (I cheated and had my nap in the car. This proves how good a driver David is.)

The three mountaineers!

The three mountaineers!

The second outing was just Susan and me. It had been a while since we were out for such intensive rides in close succession, so we were a little apprehensive. However, once we had shaken off the initial stiffness, we got in to our stride.

The weather this time around was sunnier – glorious blue skies – with a nasty surprise of a bitingly cold wind at the top.

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At the top – on the Spooky Wood run – I took some pictures of a cyclist doing the first couple of jumps. Amazingly, we bumped into him (no, not literally…) at the end of the day and got his email details so I could send him the files.

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The bike hire facilities are excellent, courtesy of Alpine bikes. Susan hired a Yeti (full suspension) for both rides. I also hired a full suspension bike – a Santa Cruz for the first day, and a Yeti for the second. My own Trek is a good bike, but these were noticeably better. However, my own bike is long overdue a service, so a direct comparison may be unfair.

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Glorious exercise in a glorious, green setting. We love our trips to Glentress. One year we may plan a trip that keeps us in the Borders so we can do other rides of the 7 Stanes.

For more pictures, see this earlier post.

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Around Jerusalem

As previously posted, last week I did a 40 km ride around Jerusalem.  The event started at the newly refurbished railway station, partly to advertise its opening as a social, cultural, events and meeting venue. And very nice it is too.

Registration was to start at 6.15 am, but of course I arrived before then. The place was already alive.

Watch this space disappear

Watch this space disappear

But it got busier.

A sea of cyclists

A sea of cyclists

After I had picked up my event number, and joined up with Shosh and her crew, there was a wait until the start time of 7.00 am. Which became 7.15 am. I think the Jerusalem mayor was involved, but it was hard to hear much above the crowd. Besides, he was speaking this funny language…

It took a full ten minutes for us to get from our position in the venue, to the starting line. After that, on to the bike, and off we went on our ride.

The initial stages were on the roads, and the traffic was stopped to let us have a free and less dangerous passage. But after maybe 15 minutes, we were off road and climbing.

Jerusalem is hilly. Around Jerusalem it is hilly. So we went down and up, but mostly up. And after that, we went up some more. Thank goodness for the water stations.

"What do you mean, you have no bananas?"

“What do you mean, you have no bananas?”

It was hot, and I used up my backpack water all too quickly. I would have liked some fruit, but you had to be at the front of the event to stand a chance of getting a banana. The rest did not look too appetizing, so I stuck to water.

No escape...

No escape…

Everything went well until we got back into Jerusalem.

(Here, “well” is a relative term. I was hot, thirsty, tired, sore, and hot. But that was not the worst of it.)

Shosh, who had kindly kept me company for most of the time, was being held back by my pace, so I encouraged her to go ahead. But somewhere after passing the Teddy Kollek stadium in Jerusalem, I looked around and realized there was nobody ahead of me. The pack of riders had gone. Worse, there was nobody behind me. Worse, there were no signs, and no stewards. Yes, I was lost.

I cycled on a bit. No riders. (I was looking for any sign of the green color of the free t-shirt they gave each rider. Most wore theirs for the ride.)

A passing motorist told me to get lost keep going. But I was still lost. What did I do? I put on Waze (the Israeli GPS social network app about to be snapped up by Facebook, allegedly) and let it direct me. I reckon I did at least an extra couple of km with that off route detour. Anyway, eventually, I made it back. At the venue, there was a massage tent with masseurs offering treatment to relieve the pain, but all I wanted to do was get home. My bike bore the signs of the ride and I know it wanted a clean up.

Play dusty for me

Play dusty for me

All in all, a good ride. Pity about the poor stewarding and route marking at the end. I am comforted in knowing I was not the only lost rider.

Thanks to Shosh for the tip and the company. And thanks to Jerusalem for being such a cracking backdrop. I was too busy biking to take too many pictures, so you will have to take my word for it this time. It was lovely. (It was also hot, and uphill.)

I hope there will be another one next year and I will be able to ride it again. Next time, I am aiming to get a banana.

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Return to Glentress


No trip to Glasgow would be complete without a visit to Glentress and some of the best mountain biking in the world. It was pouring. We were wet. We were muddy. We were tired. We were very, very happy. I miss this so much..

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Inspiration on two wheels

This video is (in internet terms) old news, but it’s also good news, and deserves the widest circulation possible. And although mountain biking is at the centre of the presentation, that’s not what the point of it all is. This is a story about Continue reading

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