28 Sep No turning back…Epic Israel
It’s the night before the big Epic Israel race. The hardest thing I have ever done physically, and with it, all the mental challenges and doubts that brings! So, I’m trying to pump myself up.
I’m also trying to ignore the other riders here — like the guy I met on the bus who is riding for South Africa. Or, the other men with those silly compression socks. Or, the ones with gear so spiffy and new that it makes you feel like you’re riding in shorts and a cotton T-shirt. For shame! I’ve decided to ignore everyone but my race partner. Karen and I.
Here is a reminder of what we signed up for: three days; desert conditions; over 16,000 feet of climbing over the three days. Oh, and thorny technical patches. And, on top of that, 262 kms.
Here’s a few phrases running through my head so I won’t freak out:
“This is just a long bike ride.”
“You are stronger than you think.”
“Do the best you can.”
“Listen to your body.”
Finally: “Hum, silly songs if you start to freak out.”
Songs such as ‘Some Kind of Wonderful,’ which I happen to know all the lyrics, or Frank Sinatra’s ‘Witchcraft.’ Don’t ask, but for some reason, those two songs make me incredibly happy when I sing them. It’s like lyrical valium.
And, the atmosphere here is wickedly cool and calm. The rooms of The Galilion Hotel in Yiftah walk out into a courtyard and pool, with outdoor lounge sofas and giant pillows. Tonight everyone is watching a huge screen and hanging out; The Revenant is playing. A few are drinking a beer. A warm breeze sweeps over us. It’s like any other night.
The hotel is tucked into the Golan Heights. I can look outside my patio and see those famous red-soiled hills. Surrounding the hotel are fields of orange groves and olive trees.
And, the food. Oh, wow, the food. I piled a plate, buffet style, with grilled eggplant and zucchini, and beef sautéed in peppers, and salmon, and a chicken leg, and sweet potato, and hummus so creamy, it was unreal.
Back to the room, and I had a shower. Not sure if I will sleep, but I got some tea to help. And my final parting thought: I’m travelling through one of the most ancient and sacred places on the planet. I’m riding my bike with a great friend. And, I’m meeting a slew of amazing people. Just keep moving and when all else fails, sing:
I don’t need a whole lot of money/I don’t need a big fine car/I got everything that a (man) could want/I got more, than I could ask for.
I got me a sweet, a sweet loving woman (man) and he knows just how to treat me right.
Oh my baby, he’s alright. Oh my baby, he’s clean outta sight. He’s some kind of wonderful….