A few years ago, someone told me about a mountain bike trail that was supposed to be extremely challenging. The Asgad Ascent is off in the middle of the Judean Desert. I had seen the meandering path listed on my maps, and one day I decided to tackle it. I had been riding that morning with friends by the Dead Sea, and I figured I still had about six hours of daylight left, so why not?
My friends gave me skeptical looks when I announced that I would not be returning to Neve Daniel with them but would instead ride another 80 kilometers in the desert. But I am rather stubborn, so I took as much water as would fit in my backpack and set off alone with the map as my guide.
After a couple hours, I reached the ascent. It looked extremely difficult and the rapidly rising temperature was not going to make it easier. But, I have little common sense in these situations and (after checking in with friends on the cell) up I went.
The trail lived up to its billing. Soon I was marking the journey meter by meter. With so much sand and loose stone, I often slipped backwards and had to “give back” distance. But the whole time I could see the top of the mountain ahead of me. And as the time went by, it no longer looked so far away.
Finally I came up to the summit. I was exhausted but feeling a rush of adrenaline at the thought of conquoring this trail. I put down a foot and spent a few minutes admiring the incredible view, seeing just how far I had been able to ride.
Then I noticed that the trail curved off to my right, out of sight. I prepared myself for a thrilling downhill ride and went around the corner.
Which is when I saw that rather than a descent, the climb simply continued around the corner. I was only halfway up the famed “Asgad Ascent.” I had been fooled by a “false peak.”
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