21.09.2008 38 °C
From Kibbutz HaON to Megiddo
I woke up uncertain of whether I would have the opportunity to ride. Edov was committed to ride with a disabled rider who had come the previous evening from Jerusalem specifically to participate in the ride. And there were no additional tandems or captains for the tandems available. Arris had spent the previous evening trying to find some way that would allow me to ride for at least part of the day. Luckily a compromise solution was reached to everyone’s satisfaction. Edov was going to ride with the disabled rider for the first part of the ride and I was going to ride the rest of the ride including the climb up Mount Gilboa.
I had a different perspective of the ride from the back seat of the lead cari I was impressed by the speed the riders rode during the initial 30 km. They seemed to be flying up the hills at speeds between 30 – 50 km./hr. I was enjoying watching them but feeling anxious to get back on the bike.
[Rick] The ride from the start was very quick. Even though we were going uphill, there must have been a significant breeze on our backs, because we were able to keep the speed over 30 km/hr
After the stop at 30 km., the disabled rider agreed that I could begin my ride to enable me to get warmed up for the big climb up Mount Gilboa. I was so pleased to be riding with Edov again. I felt that I was partnered up with a teacher, mentor and a friend. Although the climb up Gilboa was steep, long and difficult and the temperature was soaring to over 40 degrees, Edov was optimistic that together we would succeed in completing the climb. He made sure that if there was an opportunity to stop and get sprayed with water to cool down our body temperatures, we stopped. He watched his heart rate carefully and when it began to climb too high, he slowed down the pace. His continuing commentary about the biblical significance of Mount Gilboa and the political realities of the area distracted me from the difficulty of the climb. He told me that commentary in the bible said that King Saul was losing a battle on Mount Gilboa and eventually killed himself by falling on his sword. Apparently as a result there was a curse on the mountain. I wondered if the curse was on cyclist trying to make this climb. But obviously the curse did not work because we made it!
The view as we climbed up Mount Gilboa of the Beit sh’an Valley was spectacular and got even better at the top. The road at the top took us through the Gilboa Reserve, another forest and then we began the descent. The descent was very steep with many switchbacks and even though Edov was cautious and kept the speeds down I still felt anxious during the downhill. But we came down without incident. Edov and I felt a real sense of accomplishment as we rode into our lunch spot.
[Rick] I made it down very quickly, actually, I'm starting to get the feel of the switchbacks, and only braked a little into most of them. There were some sharp ones though that I still almost came to a stop before entering .
Once at the bottom, with the stiff headwind and a flat road on a busy highway to look forward to, I decided that, that was the end of my day, and boarded the bus to the end of the ride.
The last part of the ride was relatively flat with a strong headwind. Rick probably made the right choice to forego this portion of the ride and rest in the bus. But since Edov felt that we should complete what we started so we finished the ride.
We then all boarded the bus at Megiddo in order to avoid the traffic into Tel Aviv.
When we arrived in Tel Aviv we found out we were staying at the Dan Tel Aviv, a beautiful hotel on the beach. Our room was absolutely beautiful complete with a painting on the ceiling and our own personal robes in the closest. We might have enjoyed spending some time in this lovely surroundings but the beach was calling to me. After swimming and sunning we had a great fish dinner at a restaurant on the beach. The planned evening activity was a performance to celebrate Israel’s 60th birthday in support of Beit Halochem. I felt obligated to go but Rick chose not to. Unfortunately I found the performance less than satisfactory and wished ir would end quickly – which it didn’t. But I still felt that it was important to attend to show support.
[Rick] In the evening, I decided to work on the blog - the day 2 entry. I was doing ok, until the lights went out and I couldn't see what I was doing, so I ended the entry for thaqt day. (Though as soon as I turned off the computer, the power went back on) I figured this was going to be my last day in Tel Aviv for a long time, so I walked over to Diesengoff St, to get a last look at the nightlife there.