I am pleased to announce that I am riding in the 2016 Israel Ride.
Over 175 cyclists will be riding from Jerusalem to Eilat, between 150 and 350 miles, exploring Israel and learning about the work two great organizations, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Hazon.
I have committed to raising at least $3000 towards this cause, and your contribution is greatly appreciated. Would you consider making a donation at whatever level you are able? All contributions are greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your support!
Days 4 & 5:
We had a relaxing and soulful Shabbat, with Dan and 3 of the boys joining me at Mizpe Ramon. I was honored to read the 5th aliyah of the Parsha (Lech Lecha), which was Avraham's bar mitzvah parsha, in which G-d commands Avraham (then 'Avram') to 'Go forth, to the Land that I will show you." It seemed an apt parsha for our journey through so many areas referenced in the Tanach (bible). We held our Havdalah ceremony (ending Shabbat and ushering in the new week), at the edge of the Machtesh. It was stunning to be there with the sun setting, and the machtesh below us. We also enjoyed the up-close contact with the ibex around the machtesh and in Mizpe Ramon (pics on my FB page facebook.com/estiallina.
Sunday, well-fed, and well-rested from Shabbat, we were eager to get back on the seats of our bikes. Yesterday's ride took us 62 miles south from Mitzpe Ramon, across the desert, to the Arava Valley. We began and ended the day with 3 tremendous and stunning descents; the first into Maktesh Ramon and the third in the Valley. There was also a very steep, but short, climb out of Wadi Faran. I made it up! Lunch was served atop a desert peak at an ashram and we made a pit stop at an organic desert café in the afternoon. Overall the day was very challenging with lots of climbing and somewhat harrowing descents. By lunch we had ridden 70 km, with 30 more to go after lunch. Those post-lunch kilometers are the hardest and seem to take the longest. The desert can be both spectactular and monotonous. The monotony making the ride that much harder for me.
Most of the group stayed at Kibbutz Ketura, the home of the Arava Institute. I stayed at a nearby kibbutz, Lotan. After yesterday’s programs where we learned more about the work of both the Arava Institute and Hazon, it was incredible to get to meet the current Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and international students studying and living together at the Arava Institute in the pursuit of a more peaceful and sustainable future for the Middle East and the world. We left the kibbutz this morning and began our ride. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete today's ride due to exhaustion and asthma. I had hoped to join the ride later in the day, but I was not well enough to do so. I am very proud and pleased with the full 3 days of riding I did do. I know I rode to my limit, both physically and mentally.I am currently writing to you from my lovely hotel room in Eilat. I look forward to getting home tomorrow, and being with my family.
Days 1, 2, and 3:
Wednesday, November 9th, Day 1:57 miles down, 229 to go! Today’s ride took me from Jerusalem to Ashkelon and included 2,100 feet of climbing.The day started off with lots of literal ups and downs through the Jerusalem hills. We then headed west through the Jerusalem forest, rolling past modern farms, Roman ruins, and Biblical landscapes, with opportunities to learn about the history of the land. Following a delicious lunch, we enjoyed a gradual descent into the Mediterranean coast city of Ashkelon, one of the oldest seaports in the region.Overall, I’m feeling sore, but happy after an incredible first day of riding! Now ready to take on Day 2…
Thursday, November 10th, Day 2: Today we left behind the sandy beaches of Ashkelon for the sandy desert of the Norther Negev. With a 6:30 AM start time and 69 miles of riding, it’s amazing to watch the tangible progress we are already making towards Eilat.Our route led us southbound around the Gaza Strip, where we stopped at a park overlooking Gaza City. A slow and steady climb marked the second half of the day, as we ascended towards the interior of the country. Tonight I’m staying at the Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh, in the northern fringe of the desert and will close out our second riding day with song and a bonfire.
Friday, November 11th Day 3: I awoke with a migraine and vertigo, which I hoped would dissipate enough to begin riding sometime later in the morning, or by lunch, but I wasn't able to ride at all, unfortunately. It's disappointing, but it happens. We spent Shabbat Mitzpe Ramon, and Dan and the boys joined me, which was wonderful.
Training Videos Posted! And, I actually did record - unbeknownst to me - part of the ride through the moshavim on October 30th! What a nice surprise. Here's the link to the playlist of training rides. Not too exciting, but you can see what I see when I ride. And listen to me breathe! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLySE_ECgcoWL66EkQmTyBCpug10Xcg3g1
(Sorry! This platform doesn't allow me to create a hyperlink.)
Training notes, and random thoughts along the way!
Minimum fundraising goal reached! I hope to make it to my personal goal of $5000! Thanks to all my donors for making it happen! <3
November 2, 2016 - The ride begins in one week! I'm so excited!
In the last week I've done rides of 50 - 65 km through beautiful moshavim in the Sharon area. Moshavim, for those who don't know, are agricultural settlements. I rode through Haniel to Burgata, to Tnuvot, to G'eulim, to Tsoran to Bnei Dror and home through either Even Yehuda or Bet Yehoshua. Riding through the moshavim is great because it's so scenic and there is so little traffic. I also enjoy seeing other cyclists on the route. I am in much better shape than I was last year at this time, and my asthma hasn't been an issue at all in weeks. I'm feeling really ready for the ride next week, in terms of both my physical and mental readiness. I've also been experimenting with my GoPro. I am not loving having it on my head, but I didn't buy a handlebar mount, so I'll be wearing it on my head. Check out the videos I've posted. Some might be a bit like watching paint dry, admittedly, but you get to see a bit of my route as if you're riding along with me. Or sitting on my head. ;-)
August 28, 2016 - My summer training rides while visiting in Delaware consisted of 15, 20, and a 32 mile ride. Delaware provides great opportunity for hill-climbing. In the beginning I approached the hills with a bit of dread and uncertainty. I once was a very strong cyclist, but have to admit that I'm not 30 anymore. Or even 40. I'll be 52 the week after the Israel Ride is completed. But so what? So, like the little engine that could, I just keep telling myself: 'Yes, you can!" And I climbed. A concern I have about being able to climb is keeping my asthma at bay. For the first time in my life I have an inhaler - well, 2 different kinds, actually. On last year's ride I had a couple of serious attacks that took me off the road for the rest of that day. My goal this year is to ride every mile of the ride, so I'm training to increase my stamina and find the right pace for me. Last Sunday's (Aug. 21) 32-mile ride was a great test for me physically and mentally. The ride included several long (4-9 mile climbs), and I was able to pace myself, keep a good breathing rhythm, and not need the inhaler during the ride. But once I got home, that was another story! I cooled down, stretched, and THEN found myself out of breath. I think my best course of action is to use the inhaler before I begin a long, strenous ride, and as needed. The other challenge is to cope with butt fatigue, which I did begin to experience after my 3 hours on the rode. I hope that I have a better seat in Israel, than on my training bike in the US, will help. No doubt getting more hours in the saddle is a necessity too. Getting back to the hills: 1) attack the hill with as much momentum as possible; 2) get into the proper gear quickly, but not prematurely; and 3) BE ONE WITH THE HILL. ;-)
Oh, and one more thing - I bought a GoPro so I can take pics and vids of my rides to spice up this page, and be able to share my Israel Ride experience with you!
May 5, 2016 - I'm kicking off the fundraising with my own $250 donation.
I've been riding almost every day - some days just a quick spin around the neighborhood for 5-10km and other days riding at least 20 km, and looking for some hills to get friendly with.
Israel Ride rider's mantra: "The hill is my friend... the hill is my friend...". ;-)
Also shopping for a women's hybrid bike. The bike I have now, a Trek mountain bike, is a great bike, but a bit heavy and built for a man. Riding it in last year's ride was like taking a knife to a gun fight.Due to wet roads, we were not allowed by the Israel Police to ride down the hill from Jerusalem toward Bet Shemesh, but were bussed down the hill, and then started our ride with a climb. I was very quickly at the back of the 'Chalutzim' group (the fastest, hardest riders I had no business trying to ride with!), and fell back to the 'Tsofim' group - these guys are no slackers, either. And each person who rode by me quipped, "It's going to be hard for you on that." I really wanted to smack the 10th person who said that to me! By the next day, the magician, uh, I mean the mechanic, Ilan, had found a set of hybrid tires and had switched out my mountain biking tires. What a difference it made. Still, I hear 'On your left!' so much it's still ringing in my ears, and I unofficially changed my name to 'Anya Lepht', which I penned on my CamelBak!
I am already feeling stronger and more psyched for this ride, and so looking forward to seeing who comes back this year and meeting the new riders.
May 10th - Been sick in bed for 2 days. This is putting my training off, but I'm sure I'll be back on my feet by the end of the week.
Planned - Friday, May 6th - Off on a ride, goal is 40km. Will update here after. I'm considering a ride to Hadera, and to ride around Hadera Park and then home, or a nice loop starting out toward the sea, then east through Tzoran, out to Route 4, then north toward Hadera, and then back through Mishma Hasharon and the moshavim, and home. We'll see which way the wind blows. Stay tuned...
Friday turned out to be a great ride! I rode 35 km through Bet Yitzhak, Mishmar Hasharon, and out to Road 4 to Hadera. I turned around at Hadera, and back through the moshavim.
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