Make a Fixed Time for Study

עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

I survived three days of riding

Posted by rabbiart on November 14, 2008

In this week’s parshah there are many stories, including the story of Akedat Yitzhak, the near sacrifice of Isaac. As the story goes, after being told of what he is to do, he gets up early, saddles up, and takes Isaac on a walk. The walk a long time.  Imagine that Isaac had never been on a walk of any length before because, after all, he did not make the trek from Haran, nor did he go down to Egypt; he was born when his family was more or less settled.  He walks the first day, he walks again on the second day.  Why is the trip three days long?. is it to prepare Isaac for what was about to come down upon him. (warning, story shift coming). I don’t know about Isaac, but on the morning of the third day of this incredible bike ride, I was hurting. When told about the climb we would make to make it into Mitzpe Ramon, and feeling the hurt in my quads, my neck and my “where the body meets the seat”, all I could think was “kill me now, at least then I won’t hurt any more”.

On the first day of the ride, once we got to Ashkelon and the hotel, all I wanted to do was sleep… and sleep… and sleep more.  On the second day of the ride, once we got to Kibbutz Mashabim, I wasn’t feeling that bad, but after dinner all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep.

Today started out hard and hurting. After we left Kibbutz  Sde Boker, I started feeling better.  At the rest stop before we were to start the long hard climb, I got smarter.  Took off my camelback with its (don’t know how many pounds of) water, and put it in the lead truck.  I felt lighter, and the climb was much easier.  I had permission from our lead rider and my new friend Gonen and lead rider (graduate of the Arava Institute, as are all the ride staff – there will be an interview with him, hopefully Sunday) to attack the hill ahead of himand the pack. (It’s easier if you attack; either you attack the hill, or the hill attacks you).  So I got off to a great start, and eventually went through all the gears and was going about six miles per hour.  I could see in my mirror that there was some distance between me and Gonen and the people behind him. (I’m not trying to brag, keep reading, you’ll see the point of all this.)  As I was laboring up the hill, and thinking I was about a quarter of the way up (they had warned us that we would keep thinking we were almost done, but would come to a turn and find out there was more to climb), Gonen came up right behind me and said “you’re doing great Art, you’re seventy per cent done”).  Wow, what a relief.  A minute later I looked behind me, and Gonen was back a ways behind me.  He chased me up the hill just to give me some encouragement!! I’ll have to find out how to say “what a sweetheart’ in Hebrew.

The entire experience has been like this; people looking out for each other, wonderful conversations with your newest old friends, incredible scenery and history.  I’m already hoping to organize a Bay Area (maybe California) team, get some sponsors, and come back in May 2010.

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