Holyland MTB Challenge

Yaron picked me up at the airport in Tel Aviv, and let me stay at his house before, during and after the Holyland Challenge. It's located in Modiin, between Tel Aviv & Jerusalem.

Beginning of April '17, I left Brussels Airport with only 4 degrees and arrived in the Israeli microwave with +30° ...

Santos Cross Lite bike
With me, the bike I used for the Race to the Rock, a Santos Crosslite with Rohloff, Gebla shifting box and Gates Carbondrive belt. Front suspension would have been a good idea...

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On the 2nd day I went for a spin in the neighborhood, way toooo hot for me these temperatures, it will take me a couple of days to get used to it ...

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HLC - The Route
We didn’t choose the shortest route nor the quickest from Mt. Hermon in the North to Eilat, the southernmost point in Israel, but we did choose the route that will take you through the historical places and landscapes that make our country so beautiful and special.

It will be a long ride from Mt. Hermon, the highest mountain in Israel to Eilat riding through the Golan Hights, Sea of Galilee, Galilee mountains, the evergreen Mt. Carmel, Coastal Plain leading to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Negev and Arava deserts, and finally the Eilat mountains, ending at the shores of the Red Sea.

With total of 1,461km and elevation gain of over 20,000m it is not going to be an easy ride. The route passes along gravel roads, single tracks and ancient roman roads. This route is like no other; rough, painful and challenging but also rewarding and FUN.

In planning the route we tried to cover all the different landscapes and panoramas of Israel. Riding the Holy Land Challenge is a great way to connect to this beautiful country.

By the time you reach Eilat…you will have experienced the myriad sights, sounds, smells, tastes and vision of this incredibly historic and ultramodern country – Israel.

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Start village
One day before the race we all took a bus to the start village, very close to the border with Lebanon. Lot's of good and healthy food were served that night, great atmosphere, sharing experiences.

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At the end of the 1st day I decided to quit the race, although I was in a leading position. I left Belgium 3 days ago when it was almost freezing, 4° it was at the airport. Today it was +30° degrees, I was losing too much salt and I know from experience that I need more time to acclimatize. That evening I got severe cramps, I mean severe ... everybody on that camping probably heard me yelling ...

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I didn't want to go home immediately, so I went back to Yaron's place, took a good rest and decided to explore Israel on my own.

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After 1 day of rest, Yaron and I took the bike and got back on the Holyland trail, on our way to Jerusalem, from there I continued my journey on the trail, into the night ... The next day I decided to quit the trail and move on my own route to Eilat, the most Southern point of Israel, and sandwiched between Egypt and Jordan.

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Makhtesh Ramon (Hebrew: מכתש רמון‬; lit. Ramon Crater/Makhtesh ; Arabic: وادي الرمان‎) is a geological feature of Israel's Negevdesert. Located at the peak of Mount Negev, some 85 km south of the city of Beersheba, the landform is not actually an impact craterfrom a meteor nor a volcanic crater formed by a volcanic eruption, but rather is the world's largest makhtesh. The crater is 40 km long, 2–10 km wide and 500 meters deep, and is shaped like an elongated heart. The only settlement in the area is the small town of Mitzpe Ramon (מצפה רמון, "Ramon Lookout") located on the northern edge of the crater. Today the crater and surrounding area forms Israel's largest national park, the Ramon Nature Reserve.

 



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