Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Back in the land of the living

Last night Bruce and I (but really only Bruce since I took care of the tip and he paid for the rest of the meal) took out Peretz, Miriam, Adin, his girlfriend Gila, and Jessica to dinner at a Sushi place on Rechov Emek Refaim.  We came home late and Bruce left for to the airport on route to Morroco at 1am.

Now to continue my saga. I really paid attention to the road, the fellow riders and cars, and my body so scenery went by that escaped my attention.  Apparently we passed an ostrich farm.  I learned later from my room mate that some people stopped to take a picture of the birds in the distance and one the birds saw those bikers they walked right up to the fence.  He showed me his pictures he took.  I am not terrible upset that I didn't see more stuff on the road because I am in one piece and alive to tell the story.  This year's ride had more accidents than all the previous 7 combined.  One woman broke her arm and wrist in a collision with another rider who broke her wrist as well.  Another rider had a miscommunication and  bumped into the lead rider and needed 7 stitches. While sleeping at a rest stop a metal pole holding up the tent fell on a kid and he needed 5 stitches.  On the way down the last, longest (5 miles long!), steepest, and most dangerous hill was hitting speeds of 45 mph or more and something happened that he went flying up into the air 8 to 10 feet and hit the street really hard.  They airlifted him to a TLV hospital. So I don't feel bad missing out on stuff since I am coming home in one piece.

By Thursday night I had good news and bad news.  The bad news was my butt was really sore.  I had never ridden so long in my entire life.  First of all 71 miles that I rode on Thursday was a new one day record for me surpassing my previous record of 67 miles.  I was much stronger this time around.  At the North Fork metric century I limped to the finished line.  Today I rode strong.  Add the 53 miles I rode on Tuesday, you get a lot of chaffing.  It really hurt to sit down even on a regular chair with  padding.  The good news was I knew exactly where to put the Butt and Chamois creme.

Friday was a short day of riding since we had to get to our hotels before Shabbat and we had to finish the steep climb to Mitzpe Ramon.  It was almost all uphill all the time.  We stopped at Ein Avdat for a rest stop and learned all about the Nabateans.  They are the people who built Petra.  They had a monopoly on the spice route from Saudi Arabia west.  Only they new the route where all the water was. They were a tough band of people.  According to their way of life nobody was allowed to build and live in a house on pain of death.  They were tough warriors.  Ein Avadat is a fortress near the end of their route because if people were going to attack them they weren't going to attack them in the beginning of the desert but closer to the end.  There was a 9 mile off road bike ride to a cold desert spring that takes an hour to get there and an hour to get back with time to jump into the spring.  I decided not to go on for two reasons.  One my butt hurt enough that I didn't need to ride over large stones and two I still had more verses of the Torah reading I promised to prepare for the morrow.  So I rode directly to the hotel in Mitzpeh Ramon, ate lunch, jumped into the pool, and then studied my Torah portion, Akeidat Yitzhak, until my room was ready.

Friday night services were nice.  Steve Wernick led the davening and Amy Katz acted as the rabbi.  They tried to reach everybody with the prayers all in Hebrew with prayer explanations and permission to do what ever you do on Shabbat... and they did.  Dinner was nice.  I sat with Amy, Howard Hausman, and Sharon, my newest Longmeadow friend and had a nice shamooze.

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