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Tips from a veteran Israel Rider

By Carl Jacobs

I am very happy to see that other people are contributing here; I look forward to reading their contributions. Please note: The comments in these postings are solely my own, not necessarily the position of the IsraelRide Organization and you should take all my comments and suggestions as just that and make decisions based on your own review and research.

Carl JacobsI would like to continue with some of the things I started with and add to the training/preparation ideas I started with.

Since the ride is FULLY supported don’t bother bringing your kick-stand or handle bar basket (yes, I have been asked to put both back on bikes I have helped assemble here). They weigh too much and are totally unnecessary as is that 3 pound security cable/lock you haul around. Leave it at home. Bikes are stored in a secured room or vehicle at night. Bring your GPS or MapMyRide App; you will want to prove to all the people you know at home how much you actually did ride. Just lower the satellite sample rate to save on battery life.

Other things to leave “at home” aero bars… unless you are really experienced rider they are pretty much unnecessary for general group riding; leave your weight loss diet at home to…. Food on the trip is plentiful, excellent and you need the calories!

Aside from the distances the heat can really deplete your energy; bring energy bars and gels (if you are used to consuming them) energy drink powders have been available during breaks on the ride in the past. Fresh dates from the Ketura Date Farm are a natural energy bar and you may just want to power up with them…. As a treat, too much of a good thing can really be bad for you. From my experience riding regularly will keep your weight down, I lost about 30 pounds when I first started riding and have kept it off; my doctor is very pleased….

Hydration is also critical; too little water and you will get wasted and if you don’t bonk you will still feel awful. Figure at least 1 liter per hour. There are enough breaks during the day to replenish your bottles or camel back type water pack. You also have to be aware that you can also over hydrate and get equally as sick. The best thing to do it check how much your weight changes after a typical training ride; if you are losing more than 2% (4 lbs for a 200 lb male and 2 lbs for a 100 lb female) of your body weight you are de-hydrating and need to increase the water you consume. The above is a general rule of thumb that I use, I am certain there are more experienced riders and a few physicians in the group who may have differing opinions and I hope they will comment. Hydration, Nutrition and diet are all possible topics for future blogs, if someone has good on line sources please comment and post.

There will be a team of mechanics to assist you in setting up your ride if you have shipped one from home. There are also a few riders who will be working along with them. Make sure you have your ride checked up and repaired as necessary one or two weeks before you leave and make sure you leave enough time to ride post check-up, not just around the block. Do some hills and push the equipment. Better to discover a malfunctioning derailleur at home then in Jerusalem the day of the ride. You want to make sure that everything is properly adjusted and working before you get here.

There are several very good bike shops here in Jerusalem that are easily accessible from the hotel where we start so if something is forgotten or lost it can be replaced here. I would recommend for those of you with wheels sets that have carbon (or other exotic) spokes that you bring one or two extra (tape then to the horizontal top tube) you will not find them here conveniently on the road if you break one. For those of you that have CO2 cartridge pumps, the gas bottles are available here (around $4 each). I am not sure how TSA treats the gas bottles if you packed them with the bike or in your luggage/carry-on. The mechanics can change a tire faster than you can realize it needs to be done, but you may feel more comfortable with your own pump; only if you are comfortable using it and know how to change a tire. Knowing how to change a tire is a skill you should learn, it comes in handy where-ever you ride.

Bring one or two new inner tubes with you just in case. Make sure the bike shop tune-up checks your tires for nicks and cuts. I have used Kevlar based tires and found them to be fine, they may be a bit heavy but do seem to protect against flats.

Bring sun screen and use it. See above about fully supported… there will be sunscreen available at all breaks; don’t forget the lines where jerseys and shorts end … you don’t want to get a ring burn around your arm or leg.
Speaking of sunburn; get a full head sweat (“doo-rag”). Sweat bands are great for keeping your face dry but don’t forget your scalp. Getting a stripped cranial sun burn is just plan nasty and uncomfortable. Women should also get a doo-rag… part lines also can be burned. The same goes for the back of your neck…..

One more thing to remember to bring is butt-cream. This is a skin care product you use ‘on-your butt’ to prevent chafing. You can get it in most bike shops and someone will always be able to tell you to apply it. If Steve Drysdale is asked we can get a rendition of “Ode to my Ass” on the final evening; a truly memorable performance.