יום שבת, 3 בנובמבר 2018

228. Organizer's View of the Israeli 1200 km Brevet of 2018


This post will give the organizer's view of the Israeli 1200 km brevet of 2018.

This is the 2nd time a 1200 km brevet is held in Israel.
The first edition was in 2014 (see here for comparison.)

Most of the same preliminary words apply this time as well:

I believe that randonneuring should be accessible to all.
It should not be an expensive sport, and it can be done using cheap equipment, and there's really no need for bling.

This is one of the reasons that our registration and medal costs are low.
This brevet involved several additional costs:
a) Hostel
b) Car to carry drop-bags, and give water and food in the desert sections
c) Food and water

After the 1st edition, this one was smooth, and preparations went well.
This time there was no sponsorship, so costs (to cover the hostel, car, and food and water) were a little higher.

Some riders requested a ride jersey, which I didn't want to do at first, but I asked the registered riders, and most of them requested one, so I did.
This time we chose a Portuguese manufacturer, after a recommendation from Randonneurs Portugal.
I won't bore you with horror stories, and only say that it was an ordeal.
After all the trouble (I cna't thank Pedro from Randonneurs Portugal enough) the jerseys arrived one day before the start.
"Next Time" we won't make any ride jerseys (please don't hold me to these words...)

The electronic brevet cards didn't prove to help much, so we used Good Old paper cards.

The ride attracted some of the biggest names in randonneuring.
I wasn't aware of it at the time, but you might find some familiar names on the roster.

Side Note:
A change from the first edition:
There were no rider numbers, and the rooms were not pre-assigned, but were given on First Comes First Served basis.

Lev Broitman (the first Isreali to ride PBP, in 1999) said he'd join me in the support car, and I thanked him.

There were quite a few cancellations in the weeks leading to the brevet, and I emailed some riders I haven't heard from in a while.
Some said "Sorry," and others said "Of course I'm coming."

At the pre-ride dinner I performed the bike check and distributed the brevet cards and collected money for the hostel.
No help was needed, as riders were very cooperative.

One rider didn't show, and as we all were about to leave to the start , a woman came and said she's that rider's wife, and he's coming, after suffering a flat.
He arrived, and all was well - 100% of the registered riders were on the start line.

We all went together to the start, and riders put their drop bags in the car.
Some friends and family were there to cheer them up.
Bjoern Lenhard (DE) was riding tubeless tires, and his front exploded on the start line.
Shuki (IL) (one of the Israeli riders who rode it 2 weeks ago) rode to my home and brought a clincher tire.
But Matt (US) offered Bjoern his own spare tire from his drop bag, and Bjoern replaced his tire to a clincher.

They all departed at 22:00:00 after we all counted down together, from 10 to 1.
I used the same orange traffic wands from 4 years ago.
They were led out of the park by Shuki and Udy (IL) who rode it 2 weeks ago.

Menashe (IL) (one of the first randonneurs in Israel) and me got into our cars, and went to escort the riders out of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, where traffic is "tricky".
Then I went home, and since I knew there were some strong riders in the field, I left for the first Control at Caesarea after only a short rest at home.

We arrived a few minutes before the first group.
The old wall of Caesarea was lit, and it was nice.
Manuel's (DE) family members were there, and they helped with water.
I only had a small amount of water in the car, as I didn't realize the riders would need some (they rode without stopping.)

Side Note
This time the car had practically no mileage limit (it was twice then what I anticipated) so I had no trouble driving to wherever needed.

After all the riders passed through the control - Lev and me went home to sleep a little, and in the morning went to hunt some riders.

The control at Caesarea gave me an idea about the front group's speed, and I went straight to the control at Urim.
On the way there I saw Shai (US) (on a fixed gear bike) who said that the leaders are "more than an hour away."
Then I saw Udo (DE) who said the front riders are well ahead.
The shopkeeper at Urim told me that some riders were there more than 15 minutes ago,
I went into the car, hoping to catch them before Zeelim Ford.
I caught them on the climb out of it. It was dry, so no missed photo opportunity.
They were 4 riders at the front, going at a good pace.

The gap to Udo was too big, so I stayed around the front group, to prepare their room in Sde Boker.
I took some more pics, and went to Sde Boker to get their key.
I was in a rush, and the rooms weren't even ready (the riders were fast!) but I managed to get one room for now.
The riders separated on the hills leading to Sde Boker, so I had time to pay attention to each rider.

Side Note
This time our rooms were not changed (I had to make several phone calls to Sde Boker in the days leading to the ride, to make sure we're in the same area as planned.)
And we stayed in the area where no stairs were needed to get into the rooms.
Riders could ride their bike to their room's door.

After I attended to the first 4 riders (Bjoern, Igor (UA), Manuel (DE) and Nick (GR), (2)) I went into the office, and got the rest of the room keys.
5 riders (the original group of 4, and Udo) left Sde Boker not long after arrival, to the 2nd leg to the Dead Sea and Massada,
Shai left shortly after them, after a short rest.
All the other riders (Garry (CA), Jeff (CA), Robert (CA), David (US), Mark (US), Boris (DE), Guy (BE), Odd (NO), Gerald (US), Dan (US), Alexei Konstantin and Vadim (RU). Hermann (DE) and Volker (DE) and Spencer (US) (2, 3), Martin (CA) and Matt (US) and Stefan (AT), Mohan (IN), Vincent (US)) rested a little in their rooms. It was a hot day, and some riders weren't used to this kind of weather.

The gap between the first 6 riders and the rest of the field was so large, that I couldn't leave Sde Boker and give them water on their way back from the Dead Sea.
(This was communicated in advance. If you're out of the bulge - You're on your own.)
Bjoern (2) was back in Sde Boker as the last riders arrived.

Side Note
Next time stash some water on the way back from the Dead Sea, just to be on the safe side.

As I was getting ready to leave Sde Boker, I got a call from Shai, who said he was running low on water.
I left Lev in Sde Boker, and went to the Dead Sea area.
On my way to Shai, I met Manuel who was resting in the Big Crater on the side of the road. He said he had a few flats and ran out of inner tubes. I gave him one.
Then I met Udo who wasn't too far behind.
I met Shai close to a tap with cold water. Nevertheless, I filled his bottles.

I rode along the course, to get a feel on the gap to the next riders.
There was enough time for me to buy some ice (it was still dark, but temperatures in the Dead Sea are always high.)
I saw Stefan (AT) with a large gap behind all the other riders, who told me that he had flats on the way out of Sde Boker.

I had a few minutes, so I slept in the car.
Mark was first. He knocked on the car's window and woke me.
I gave him water, and he looked tired.
It was morning, and some head wind was developing.
He rested a little, and continued.

The riders (Garry, Jeff, Robert and David, Odd, Dan, Spencer, Gerald, and Alexei, Mohan (2), Matt, Boris, Hermann and Martin) kept coming, and I gave them water and ice.
Some looked very tired, after yesterday's heat, and today's head wind, which became stronger and stronger.
Vincent (US) texted me that his core temperature is too high, and he was getting a room at the Massada hostel.

Mark texted me that he's stopping and DNF, and going downhill to meet me, and need a ride.
Spencer (US) on a fixed gear bike also DNF'd there, and so did Gerald (US)
Even though there were cancellations, I kept the larger car, which proved to be lucky, as I had room for all 3 riders and their bikes.

I was missing 2 riders: Vincent and Stefan.
I drove along the road, looking for them.
I saw Vincent as he left Massada after a few hours.
The head wind was fierce - Almost ripped the car's door when I opened it, and I had a hard time closing the door as I reentered the car.
I put ice in his water bottles, and told him where I'll stash water for him.
I didn't see Stefan, and was worried.
On the way back I met him. He looked good, after resting and eating at a nearby McDonald's.

After the climb out of the dead sea the strong head wind continued.
At some places there were sand storms. The conditions were not hospitable!
Riders were in bad shape, and I gave ice and water to anyone I met.
Dan (US) was worried. He looked in good shape, and I told him that I understand him (I really did!) and it's his call whether he'd like to continue riding in these conditions or not. He kept going.
Then I drove to Sde Boker (Garry and Jeff, Robert, David, Vincent, Hermann), stopping in Yeroham, to get food for the desert, and unloaded the 3 DNF'd riders.

I got a call from Dan, saying he's DNF'ing, and I went out with the car to get him.
I asked him if he could get to Dimona (the large town on the main road,) and he said he'll try.
Nevertheless, I rode backwards along the route, to see how the riders are doing.
I met Volker (DE) at the side of the road, smoking a cigarette.
He said he felt strong, but the conditions are inhospitable, and he'd like to DNF.
Then I met Mohan (IN) who walked by his bike, and he DNF'd as well.
Dan texted me that he reached Dimona (he paid a big sum of money to someone to take him the short distance there,) so I went there.
Again the car had 3 DNF'd riders, and I unloaded them at Sde Boker.

Except the 6 riders at the front (Shai, Igor), all the other riders battled with head wind and sand for 120 km.
Some riders at Sde Boker said they'd DNF there, but I was waiting to see how they'd feel after a rest.
Martin (CA) called me and said he's DNF'ing. He wasn't far from Sde Boker, but said he has no energy left to get there.
Assaf (IL) one of the riders who rode this 2 weeks before said he'd like to volunteer that night.
I asked him to pick up Martin on his way to the desert, while I rest a little.

Any rider who wanted to continue - left in the evening (Garry and Jeff).
Many riders DNF'd there. A total of 16, out of the 27 starters.
Most of them prepared to leave to Tel Aviv the next day.
It was too late to cancel their rooms, so there was no refund, and we practically had a room per rider now.
Vincent was the last rider to reach Sde Boker, and he left within an hour, being the last on the road again.

At the front, Bjoern said he wants to minimize his nighttime riding, as he loved the views, so he slept for 8 hours in Sde Boker.
Igor (UA) didn't stay for too long, and went on to Eilat.

As Assaf was making his way to give water and food to the front group of riders, I got a call from Shai, expecting me at Shizafon (that's where I was last time.)
I told him to keep riding, and Assaf will catch him, which both did.

Assaf settled himself at Zihor Junction (Garry and Jeff, Vincent, David and Robert, Nikos (2), Bjoern, Shai), which is about 90-100 km from Eilat (depending if you're going or coming,) and gave riders water, snacks, coffee, and homemade soup.
I gave him one of the car signs with the ride's name, so he would be recognized by the riders, but some didn't know he was part of the ride.
He called them several times and they didn't stop, shouting words like "Brevet," etc.
I was on the phone with him, and told him to shout my name, which he did, and only then the riders stopped. :-)
I was making my way to him, and we stayed together until all the last riders passed us on their way to Eilat, and first group of riders passed us on their way back (Udo (2)).
On my way south, the roads were wet from the rain, and I saw Igor very close to Sde Boker, on his way back from Eilat.
The last rider on the road now was Manuel (2), who reported he stayed in Mitzpe Ramon, as he didn't want to ride in the cross wind.
He rested there for quite some time, and was feeling good and strong. He was moving fast.

Robert (CA) notified me that he DNF'd in Eilat. We were down to 10 riders on the road (out of 27 starters.)
Assaf and me went to the restaurant in Shizafon and had some breakfast,
then we went down to Yotvata, waiting to give water to the riders there.
They didn't come, and luckily one of the riders had a SPOT working, which said they were more than 10 km away.
We drove there and gave them water. Vincent wasn't too far behind, and we gave him water as well. He was suffering from the heat, and I promised him ice when he gets to Yotvata.
We drove to Yotvata and stayed on the road, waiting for the riders.
They were on the time limit, and didn't have time to go inside.
After attending to all the riders, we drove back to Shizafon, and waited for the riders there.
Assaf left, and I thanked him for volunteering.

The restaurant at Shizafon was already closed, and I gave ice, water, and food to the riders (Jeff, David, and Garry (2, 3)).
Manuel has passed Vincent (2) on the climb to Shizafon.
Vincent looked very tired, and I assured him that he only has 2 more climbs. He told me he sings to himself "Aint No Mountain High Enough."
When I passed him with the car, I rolled down the windows, and blasted that song to him, sung by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. We both shouted it from the top of our lungs.
Then I went to the top of Paran Ascent, and waited until all riders had passed, and gave them water for the last time in the desert.
Then I went to Sde Boker, trying  to sleep for a few hours (for the first time in a few days...)

Nikolaos (GR) texted me with the following: "I'm at Sderot and something like bombs are flying over me, and people are running into shelters"
I texted him to go to shelter, and continue riding after 5 minutes (it takes seconds there...)

Manuel's relatives kept calling me through my sleep, saying that they're uneasy.
Then Manuel came by and said he was leaving (he was still safe in Sde Boker, some 100 km away from the shootings...)
I told his relatives that he's safe, but they made me promise I'll change the route for him. I agreed, and tried to get another hour of sleep.
(He told me "I was in the army, and I know!" For those who don't know Israel, everybody (and their brother, and even grandmother) were in the army, and EVERYBODY "knows"...)
I couldn't sleep anymore, as this kind of intervention disturbed me greatly, so I woke up, and Lev and me carried all the drop bags into the car, and we drove off.

Manuel was near Zeelim, more than 30 km away from the hot area, and I kept going, trying to catch the 4 North American riders before they get there.
I called them, and asked them to turn around.
They did, adding 22 km to their route.
All were in Urim, and I gave them the new route, to the east, away from all the shootings (which were already finished, for this round...)
In the end, the 4 north American riders added about 17 km to their route, and Manuel added about 1 km to his route.

The riders had no tailwind this time, but the way back to Tel Aviv is pretty flat, and all arrived with more than an hour to spare.

I had less than an hour to be home before the Post-Ride BBQ, which I felt the riders enjoyed.

The next edition of the Israeli 1200 km brevet is expected to start on Tuesday 25/Oct/2022 at 22:00 from Tel Aviv.

Official Results:

Jekel Manuel (DE), Passed
Konstantopoulos Nikolaos (GR), Passed
Lenhard Björn (DE), Passed
Mudrakoff Jeff (CA), Passed
Muoneke Vincent (US), Passed
Shprung Shai (US), Passed
Shvak Igor (UA), Passed
Sparks Gary (CA), Passed
Thompson David (US), Passed
Waldenmaier Udo (DE), Passed

Christensen Gerald (US), DNF
Cooper Martin (CA), DNF
Diehn Dan (US), DNF
Jordheim Odd (NO), DNF
Kassel Robert (CA), DNF
Klaassen Spencer (US), DNF
Lachinger Stefan (AT), DNF
Levy Matthew (US), DNF
Mailach Volker (DE), DNF
Makarov Konstantin (RU), DNF
Malakhovskiy Vadim (RU), DNF
Odenthal Hermann (DE), DNF
Roefs Guy (BE), DNF
Steinberg Boris (DE), DNF
Subramanyam Mohan (IN), DNF
Thomas Mark (US), DNF
Zakharov Aleksei (RU), DNF

* video by Guy Roefs (BE)
* blog post by Dan Diehn (US)


תגובה 1:

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