Whew!! I think both Ron and I had tough days today – no rear wheels falling off while going through tunnels, but lots of headwinds and hills!! the thighs and knees are groaning!! but the scenery is amazing – there’s nothing like seeing the desert up close. the colors are glorious.
The On-Road group started off out of Mitzpe Ramon, and came riding down the side of the Ramon crater, a very cool descent with awesome views! I took a break here in the middle, where a lot of us took photos, but it also gave me a chance to catch my breath (I get nervous going downhill too fast!!)
Once we got down into the crater, it was a lovely truly “flat” trip in a relatively windless protected area, until we climbed our way out of the crater, and got onto route 90 for awhile, along with 18-wheel trucks, buses, and speeding cars, all doing their best to drive us off the road, and along with that a mighty headwind pushing us back all the way, so that even when the grade was sloping downhill, you had to pedal hard to keep moving forward!! It was furiously hot, and there were intermittent sandstorms that kicked up along the way – they looked cool from a distance, but what a nightmare to be in the middle of one!Here’s my photo from the middle of a sand-gust!! The photo below shows my big challenge for day #4, which I was truly proud to get to the top of!! You can see a police car and some blockades at the foot – they collected us together in a group of about 20 bikes, and waited to get most of the motorized traffic from above and below to pass, then blocked all the traffic to let our group go up the climb.
I have no idea how long it was – seemed like it took forever, and I really thought I would have to give it up and walk, but, following the advice of a kind fellow-rider, Lori Motola, I kept my targets short and achievable, and by moving step-by-step up the climb, I finally reached the top. I wanted to stop and take a photo at the top, but was so excited to have made it, along with a couple of other riders, we just whooped and cheered, and swooped down the other side into the next long hot valley for another sweltering few miles to the end of the day!
We ended the day at Yahel, staying at two different Kibbutzim, this one pictured was at Yahel, and then the one I actually stayed at was Kibbutz Ketura, a lovely place, and truly felt like arriving at an oasis in the desert! You can’t believe how welcome a hot shower can be!!