Monday, September 26, 2005


Dress Rehearsal

With about six weeks to go, I have been doing very little actual riding, relying almost entirely on my spin bike training. Things just haven't worked out and I haven't been able to do a long, organized ride since June. So it was good fortune that I was able to hop over to Israel for the weekend and finally do some serious on-road riding.

I stopped in Jerusalem on my way home from a business trip in Europe (believe it or not, the ticket was substantially cheaper than had I gone back to New York directly. I don't understand it either).

I made arrangements with one of the riders from last year's ride to rent a road bike. I landed on Friday at 4 a.m., rented a car and drove to his house in Hashmonaim. We davened, grabbed a quick bite and drove to a place called Nais Harim, not far from Ein Kerem. We were met by a couple who are riding in this year's ride.

The ride started with a mile or so of rolling hills and then went into a very steep decent for what seemed like many miles. I was going more than 40 mph and it was scary. There was traffic and no shoulders to speak of. Really scary, to be honest.

We then went through the Beit Shemesh industrial area until we came to a climb the likes of which I don't think I've ever done. It was harder than last year's climb to Jerusalem and harder than Metzukai Dragot. In fact, my friend told me that it was the equivalent average grade of a category one climb in the Tour de France (just not nearly as long). There was one section that had a grade of 17%!

It was a struggle and I had to get out of my seat a couple of times but I made it to the top. We then went through a number of other serious climbs and some rolling hills, but nothing as tough as the first climb. Then, after 45 kilometers, we came to a very difficult 5.5 kilometer(about 3.5 miles) climb which took us to the start point. All in all, 50 kilometers of very intense riding.

I was really tired but felt good because now I know I'm ready for the ride.

On Sunday I did another 28 kilometers in the same place but avoided the most difficult climb. I had a lot to do and I didn't want to wipe myself out for the rest of the day. Still, there were some major climbs, including the 5.5 kilometer climb that ended Friday's ride.

I will use the next few weeks to work on simulated long climbs and strengthening my abs and lower back. The climbing this weekend reminded me how much pressure my lower back gets.

I am pretty satisfied with where I am holding and I'm very psyched for the ride.

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