יום שבת, 4 במאי 2013

151. Ride Report Brevet 1000 Israel 2013


Ride report of Brevet 1000 in Israel in 2013. (Hebrew)

The first time a Brevet 1000 was in Israel was in 2011.
The route went as far south as Shizafon.
The 2013 route is different as it only goes as south as Shdema, but it "visits" the Dead Sea.
It is the first time (i.e. the only time) a Brevet reaches the Dead Sea.

When the participants list formed, I asked them whether they have any special requests about the route.

Dave asked for the Dead Sea, and at least one of the Craters. Evgeni asked for Eilat.
Because of objective reasons, Eilat ruled out (you cannot have an out-and-back route to Eilat because of the opening times of the restaurant in Shizafon.)
I told Dave that the Dead Sea would be hard, but I was intrigued by the idea (a brevet reaching the lowest point on earth,) and didn't rule it out.

To me, the only relevant ascent from the Dead Sea is through Zohar and Hatrurim.
You cannot go through Jerusalem as you can't have a brevet through such a busy and hard to navigate city, and Dimona is too congested with traffic and less safe for cyclists.
Since the ascent from the Dead Sea is so hard, it was determined that the control at the top of the climb will have no closing time.

The route that was formed was based on the Israeli brevet 600, with extensions to the Steel Division Monument, Dead Sea, Shdema, and Nizzana.
So the route touches on all the country's border points in the south (except Eilat.)
Rough course: Petah Tikva (Metula St.), Shilat, Nes Harim, Steel Division Monument, Nizzana, Zohar (Dead Sea,) Large Crater, Shdema (Ramon Crater,) Dimona, Nizzana, Western Negev, HaEla, Nachshon, Shilat, Petah Tikva.
The route sheet also indicated where you should fill up on water, e.g. between Zohar and Yeruham there's only one place where you can fill water, near Zafit Junction.

Dave asked for sleeping arrangements in the first two nights ("We'll ride through the 3rd night without sleep.")
In the first night I got a room in Nizzana, at 300 km.
For the 2nd night I got a room in Sde Boker, at 646km (also at 528km.)
All riders agreed to participate in the sleeping arrangement.
So the brevet was divided into 3 parts:
Day 1: 300km, relatively easy, with only one climb, Nes Harim (one of the most known climbs in Israel, if not the most known.)
Day 2: 346km, very hard, including most of the climbs.
Day 3: 361km, easy.

The brevet had 5 starters:
Judith and Dave, who participated in the second Brevet 200 in 2011
Charles, a friend of Judith and Dave's, rode with them together in Europe.
Evgeni, a rider from Ukraine.

Judith and Dave are close friends, and are highly rated in this sport.
Judith is one of the top female riders, considering experience and distance (close to 100,000 km in brevets alone, at the time of writing...)
Both have many successful finishes in long distance brevets around the world.
They came with their 20" Moulton bikes.

Charles is retired, about 65 years old. He rides brevets for several years already.
He entered the world of randonneuring in 2011, when he did a series and PBP 2011.
Originally he's from Ireland, but now lives in Luxemburg, and he also has a home in Greece near the mountains where he practices climbs.
He likes it when it's warm, and hates the cold.
Instead of bringing his own bike, he rented a Pinarello from a local shop. The bike had Campagnolo while he's used to Shimano. He even didn't bring his saddle.
Before the brevet he rode a little on the Tel Aviv beach promenade, but you can safely say that the brevet was the first time he rode this bike!!!

Evgeni is a relatively young rider, about 26 years old, who successfully finished 3 long brevets, including PBP 2011 which he finished in about 67 hours.

Judith and Evgeni used a GPS with a route I gave them.
Dave had the route sheet in front of him, and Charles with the route sheet in his pocket,
and I rode "from memory."

Menashe Shaul and Evgeni Kahan (Israeli club members) came to the start, and we left at around 09:05.
The weather forecast was "warmer than usual for this season."

Charles has a Polar computer which includes incline and temperature readings.
He's especially interested in inclines. His only training is climbing. He does practice intervals, or anything else.
In every ascent he would read the incline out loud.

Until the beginning of the Nes Harim ascent we all rode together, and each climbed it in their own pace.
Evgeni, who immediately appeared to be the strongest rider climbed first.
Charles was seconds, in eye sight ahead of me, and towards the Challenger Spaceship Memorial I yelled to him that I'm going to wait for Judith and Dave, who were behind me.

In the first serpentines I could still see Judith, with Dave behind her.
But when I reached the long straight - I couldn't see them anymore.
At the end of the straight I looked back, and saw one of them in the distance. They both wore similar jerseys, so I couldn't tell which it was.
After about 15 minutes at the Challenger Memorial Judith arrived, and said that Dave is far behind, also stopping from time to time.
After another 30 minutes(!!!) Dave haven't arrived yet, and I suggested that instead of waiting in the sun (42 C degrees in the sun, 37 C in the shade,) I suggested we ride to the cafe ahead, and have lemonade there.
After another 20 minutes Dave haven't arrived yet, and we left the cafe, saying we'll wait for him at the control.
Dave arrived while we took pictures at the control, and Evgeni arrived as well (he waited in the shade.)
In total we waited about an hour for Dave. He said it was very hot for him, and he stopped from time to time.

We descended Zur Hadassa quickly, and regrouped at Etziona Junction.
In the long flat section to HaEla Junction we split. Judith and Dave couldn't keep up with the pace set by Evgeni in the lead, and Charles and me could keep up behind him.
We arrived together to the next control.
Judith arrived about 20 minutes after us, without Dave.
After another 20 minutes we decided to leave without Dave. When we left we saw him coming, and told him we'll ride slowly until he'll catch up with us.
Dave reached us after about 20km, and we were 5 again.
In one of the hills Evgeni was too fast, and left us.

Dave struggled in the hills, and we lost him in one of them.
I waited for him at the next junction, and he arrived after 5 minutes.

There were carrots on the shoulder (fell from a truck,) and Charles, who was leading at the time, ran over some of the carrots.
One time he shooked his handlebar wildly. Dave was behind him and was scared.
I accelerated and got to their side, doing "Tsu Tsu Tsu" sounds.
Charles said "my handlebar is loose", or this is what we think he said, as we all got about 50 meters away from him before he finished the sentence.
We yelled him to stop, and only after he was standing with both feet on the ground - we had the courage to approach him.
His stem was loose around the steerer, and the handlebar moved freely from right to left. We tightened the stem bolts and continued.

A little afterwards, one of Charles' bottle cages (made from carbon fiber...) broke, and he duct taped the bottle, with no way of getting to the bottle while riding.

In Mashabim all 4 riders asked me to show them on the map where they can see camels (they saw the road signs warning about camels...)
I said that the best bet is between Yeroham and Dimona.

It took us about 10 minutes to find the room in Nizzana.
Some of us (me included) had a shower before bed, and the rest went to sleep right away.
We slept for about 2:30 hours.

Evgeni was fast and disappeared in the distance in the section from Nizzana to Mashabim.
In Dimona we stopped at the fuel station and continued together.
I've never ridden between Zafit and Hatrurim (drove there with a car many times, but it's a little different...)
When we reached Zohar (Dead Sea) we saw Evgeni starting the climb back, with the jersey off, exposed to the sun.
Charles' thermometer read 47 degrees(!!!)
In Zohar we took our time, scared by the ascend ahead of us.
I told Dave that next time the Dead Sea won't be included, and he said he thought it would be "gentle" (his word...) from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.
I said that that route might be gentle, but the neighbors won't be gentle...

Dave said he plans to stop at every viewpoint and every 100 meters sign. I said I wanted to climb with no stops, and Judith said she'll stay with Dave.
I bought a 500ml bottle, drank it, and filled it with water.
Charles left first, and Judith, Dave and me left about 10 minutes behind him.
The start of the climb is a little steeper than the rest.
When I reached the first viewpoint I looked back and saw Judith standing on the shoulder, about 100 meters behind me. I stopped and waved her to come, and she did.
She said she had an asthma attack, and needs to wait 2 hours before she could take another Ventolin.
After about 15 minutes I walked back to the road and saw Dave standing under the shadow of some rocks. I waved him to come and he did.
We concluded that Dave will stay with Judith, and I would continue with Charles, as he needs a "responsible adult"...

I called Diki, who was in charge of proofing this Brevet, and we agreed that because of the extreme heat, control times wouldn't count, but we need to finish in under 75 hours.

When I reached Hatrurim I get a text from Judith, saying they started riding.
Halfway between Hatrurim and Zafit Charles called me saying he couldn't find the tap. I explained him, and he found it.
It's a cold water tap at the gate of a mineral processing factory.

We were there, enjoying a nice breeze in the shade.
In the Big Crater, there was, as always, headwind, but it wasn't too strong.
Charles said he enjoys the ride, and the scenery is stunning, and he wants to climb quickly out of the Big Crater.
I walked because I wanted to reserve some energy for the next and last climb later that day.

Night fell, and I suggested we go into the room on the way out as well.
We were there for about 30 minutes. I had a shower and Charles slept.
I texted Judith suggesting they also use the room on their way out.

In Mizpe Ramon the seller said that our friend (Evgeni) was there about an hour ago.
When we were leaving, Evgeni arrived. He said that the round trip to Shdema and back took him 3:30 hours.
I thought that we'll meet Judish and Dave on our out and back to Shdema, but we didn't, also when we were back in Mizpe Ramon, after 4 hours.
The time was already 05:00 and the temperature was 21 C, not cold at all.

While we were there I asked a bus driver whether he saw 2 riders, but he said he didn't. I was a little worried about their times, but thought they might have stopped at the other place in Mizpe Ramon.
When we rode back I looked at the other place, but couldn't see their bikes.
We met them about 6 km from Mizpe Ramon. They slept in Sde Boker, and we were heading to sleep there.
Dave said they plan to meet the 75 hours time limit.

When we reached Sde Boker we met Evgeni who just woke up. He was red because of climbing without a jersey.
It was already daylight and we said we'll sleep there for 2:30 hours.
I had a shower before bed.
Charles woke up before the alarm and had a shower.
When I woke Charles said he saw Evgeni leaving, meaning he was there for another 2:30 hours.

Around Ashalim there were bugs on the road, walking and/or flying/gliding.
When Charles asked I told him that I think they were ant queens, but then remembered that the ant queens are in June and not May.
I stopped, and realized these were locusts.
There were so many of them, the road was yellow.
We said it's in biblical terms...

On the way from Mashabim to Nizzana we kept wondering when we'll meet Evgeni on his way back.
But we didn't see him till Nizzana. I asked the guard there whether he saw him, but he said he didn't.
I called "our" Evgeni Kahan, who told me that Evgeni the rider DNF'd because his knees hurt, and he's already in Beer Sheva.

We met Judith and Dave about 13km from Mashabim, which is about 54km behind us.
Dave said the gap is smaller and I said no... (we had a sleep and they didn't...)

In Komemiut Charles was very cold, and he dressed like in winter.
He said that in one of the river crossings the temperature was 14 C degrees, the coldest we had, and that he's freezing.

We reached HaEla at 06:00, and the store was closed, open at 07:00, and they can't sell us coffee through the window.
We rode to Nachshon, where Charles slept for 30 minutes on the floor.

In the last section, between Modiim and Einat, Charles kept asking "how many km to go?"
Near one of the forts I asked him whether he remembers it, and he said no (I explained him about it twice before, and pointed it out when we started.)
I immediately stopped and asked him when was the last time he drank. He said in Nachshon(!!!)
I had him drink 1 liter, and we slowly kept going till the finish.
We ended at 10:56, more than an hour before the deadline.
At the finish he already felt better, but took a taxi to his hotel, and I rode home.
On my way home I got a text from Judith that they finished at 11:54, 6 minutes before the deadline.


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