Planning the Carmel 2020
So the first bikepacking trip for the Twenty Peaks Challenge in the works. Short and sweet as they like to say but may not end up being as sweet as you would like to think. Throw a piece of spaghetti on a map, add some tough climbs and you're well on your way to getting a route setup for the Twenty Peaks. This challenge was not intended to be done as a bikepacking event but then again convention has rarely been my way of life. The Carmel creates a border between the Galilee and the Central pleins of Israel forming a ridge of wilderness once you get out of Haifa and into the hills, of which there are plenty. Haifa is one of the largest cities in Israel and comes into play in the northern tip of the route. Let's hope we can find a few shops open to spoil ourselves during the ride. I know that if I make it that far I'll have earned it.
The route is just over 200km so I am planning on two days of riding and includes 8 climbs towards the 20 required to complete the challenge. It's not going to be easy as the climbs are generally tough. Being either long or with silly gradients thrown in somewhere along the way. I'll be covering both mountain bike climbs as well as road climbs which will make the route interesting. I reckon the road climbs done in a small gear and just ticking along might prove easier than the loose off road battles. Then again I learnt my lesson last year that trying to climb fast just ruins any longer more enjoyable riding. A case of the tortoise and the hare, this time though it's not about getting anywhere and rather enjoying the rides.
Having been out in the afternoon and a few mornings the weather has definitely turned to fall. There is a nippiness in the air in the morning and that wonderful afternoon light that just makes everything glow. I'll be taking a jacket for the evenings and sure we might sneak something into the old flask to keep warm. It'll be a fine balance between comfort and weight as the climbs will remind you often of any extra and deal out heavy penalties. This summer though I have managed to get my kit down to something really lightweight and adding a jacket should not put me into the sin bin to quickly.
There's a total of 5500m of climbing to be dealt with over the 200km so that makes for quite a bit. Having done two back to back rides where I did 1500m of climbing in 70km adding that extra climbing over not much more distance reminds me that this will be an interesting challenge. I love climbing, the rythm you can get into and just tick away. You look back after 10 minutes and stare down from where you came, realising that you're not doing too badly. So in two weeks time I'll kick this one off and report back on any cool things or maybe changes I would make.