Monday, May 24, 2010

Photoblog Ride Tel-Aviv (תל-אביב) to Tsova (צובה)

Since I really haven't been racing, and this is a bike log I felt like I needed to start appeasing my readership in other ways aside from my thrilling pedantic race reports. And so it came to pass that I decided to start photoblogging like Dante. I have done this before on two occasions, last summer in Maine and the preceding winter in Schenectady. So, now that I've fully introduced the subject, I'll continue on to the meaty parts.

When: The ride occurred last Saturday or שבת as it is called 'round this parts.
Who: I rolled out of town with Ian, and Idan of BU Cycling and another American, Brian.

How it went down: We started bright and early in Tel Aviv to hopefully beat the heat at 8am with plans to head toward the Nachshon interchange. We left town fairly uneventfully and it was fairly boring getting through the urban sprawl and other nonsense you have to deal with all the way to Lod. But when I took out the camera on Rt. 44, about 50min into the ride things finally calmed down as we left the highway for smaller roads.

We reached the Nachshon interchange soon after and decided to split up as Brian had to head back to TLV for whatever reason. From there Ian, Idan and I rolled on eastward towards Tsova, where there were cyclists galore, enough so that the government had sought it fit to put up these signs every 10km or so:

After we followed Rt. 44 from the Nachshon interchange for a while we took a left onto Rt. 30 for a few km north towards Eshta'ol Junction.
After Eshta'ol junction we made a right and start the climb up to Tsova, where we were greeted by some dude with his goats.Now, after that the climb got steep, Ian said it's about a 14% average for 5km. But from my experience, it was wicked steep and with the sun frying me like an egg, it was a less than pleasant experience.
But, after 12 minutes or so of pure agony, I reached the top of the steep portion of the climb and hung out in the shade for a minute or two to cool off. Next was a short descent, where we rolled deeper into the mountains and were treated to some of the most beautiful riding I've ever experienced.

Then after a few km the road opened up again and the trees disappeared and we emerged towards the top of the climb.
Here's Ian, near the top looking back to the west where we came from, in the distance you can just barely make out the Mediterranean Sea.We could have continued climbing, but it was getting late and getting really hot and we were concerned with heat exhaustion. So we turned back rolled through the trees again, I grabbed a few more pictures of the hills from the other direction.
After we descended Tsova, we went back to Rt. 30, back up Rt. 44 and I snapped this shot of the hills we had just left.
After that we stopped again at the Nachshon junction rest stop, topped off our bottles and hoped not to die in the last 1.5 hrs we needed to ride back to Tel Aviv as the temperatures were starting to soar.

After taking 44 back to Rt. 40 and going through Lod, around Ben Gurion airport, basically back-tracking the whole way we stopped once again at a quick-stop after 1:15, as we had all finished off our bottles and needed a break from the midday sun. After checking Idan's iPhone we learned that it it was about 90 degrees F with 50% humidity and blazing sun. The three of us shared a 1.5L bottle of Coke to stave off dehydration and rolled back into Tel Aviv.

In the end, it was a great ride, I was so happy to not have died as the heat was torture, and we learned that we can't leave past 7am for the rest of the summer, because heat stroke/exhaustion and dehydration are becoming real threats after 11am.

Ride Stats: 120.65km (~75miles), 4:15, 775m of climbing. See map below.

Bike route 637551 - powered by Bikemap 

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