17.09.2008 33 °C
Day 2 – Loop from Kibbutz Hagoshrim
After the difficulty of the previous day I was looking for something a little less challenging. There were two choices for the days right – either climb to the top of Mt. Hermon, the highest mountain in Israel and then over to the Golan Heights or climb directly to the Golan Heights. Both Rick and I were content to do the one climb up the Golan Heights. We rode with 3 other Canadians and some of the vets who rode on tandems. Although our climb was long with some challenging grades, it was doable. At the top we arrived at a Druz village called Masade and had the treat of eating at a Druz restaurant. The food was outstanding from hummus, falafel balls, a wonderful goat cheese called labash, olives and bakclava. It was truly a feast!
[Rick] On day 1 I hadn't had enough to drink, so I didn't feel I could handle Mt. Hermon (or even the Golan climb), but I did the Golan climb anyway. It was hard and long, but the views and the meal at the top made it worthwhile.
From there we began to make our way down the Golan Heights. At first it was a pleasant downhill but then it became very steep with many switchbacks. After a while I began loosing my nerve and decided to get off my bike for a while. Unfortunately I decided to this on a curve and ended up falling off my bike. I was pretty unscathed but did injure my baby finger on my left hand. As a result I was taken to the hospital in Sfat to make sure it wasn’t broken. The bicycle tour company was amazing. A member drove me to the hospital, made sure I was looked after and even paid for the visit and the exray. Even though I was not pleased about the accident I had the opportunity to see Sfat, a beautiful town way up in the mountains and I spent 3 hours talking to a phenomial man called Edon.
[Rick] I got down without incident, though at points I had to slow down from 60 km/hr to almost a stop for the sharper switchbacks. Once at the bottom, the group that made it down sat and rested for a while until the remainder of the group joined us. Arlene came in with her fingers bandaged up, and had to go to the hospital - and missed a massage she had lined up.
The doctor did not think the finger was broken but decided to put a splint on it and wrap it with my other finger. As a result it would be impossible to manipulate the brakes with my left hand. So I talked to the organizers about allowing me to ride on the back of one of the tandems the next day so I didn’t have to use the brakes.
I didn’t realize when I began this trip that I would be sharing a very similar experience with the vets. But in my case the injury is only temporary.