Posts Tagged ‘ride’

Saved by the Yellow Jerseys of Alyn

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

31423_1387729867555_3978911_nI’ve been doing a lot of mountain biking lately. Usually, I find myself on beautiful, desolate trails and ride up into the hills as the sun sets. (Yes, it does get dark and that can lead to problems, but that’s for another post.)

Yesterday morning, for some reason unknown to me at the time, I grabbed one of my old Alyn Jerseys and threw it in my bag.

The Alyn Hospital is a children’s rehabilitation hospital. They provide all different types of treatment for kids who have survived terrible car accidents, terror attacks, and other traumatic events, as well as kids born with severe challenges. (They actually do a whole lot more, so click on the link above.)

They do great amazing work with these kids. But that costs a lot of money. So every year, people come from around the world to participate in their 5 day bike ride to raise money to help these kids. Good people get to go on a great ride and kids can get the treatment they need. It’s a win-win.

Before Stella got sick, I went on the ride 5 years in a row. I loved every minute and saw more of this country than most Israelis. We road up hills, through valleys, in the rain and the sun, and I got to know a great bunch of riders.

I also collected a lot of yellow Alyn jerseys, most of which sit in my closet. But yesterday, without thinking, I took one with me.

After work, I was eager to get right on the bike. So even though I noticed the back tyre (that’s an Australian spelling BTW) was a little low, I decided just to ignore it. Yeah, I know. Like riding after the sun goes down with sunglasses. (Again — that’s another post.)

Twelve kilometers from your car is not where you want to have any problems that make your bike unrideable. Of course, that’s where I decided to put some more air in the tire (I can’t help it, back to American spelling. I am a patriot) using an old pump that had not been used in years. BTW — the purpose of a bicycle pump is to add air into a tire.

My pump worked on a completely different principle. That pump actually took all the air out of the tire. Maybe that would have come in handy if I had found my tires had a bit too much air in them and wanted to take some out.

But that was not the case. So after using this wonderful pump, I found that I no longer had a bike that was hard to ride. I now had a bike that was impossible to ride. (And a pump that was not going to make the situation any better.)

But I tried anyway and was not making much progress when I turned the corner and to my surprise, I met up with about a dozen folks wearing the Alyn yellow jerseys. (Remember those?) A few of them were old friends I hadn’t seen since I “retired” from riding. In no time at all, we had pumped up my tire, and I joined them for a fun ride.

Even more amazing, this was a group that was made up of local riders and young people who had been treated at Alyn. One young woman I rode with had been hit by a car four years ago. She had a traumatic brain injury and needed extensive therapy. At the time, the idea of her riding a mountain bike was simply not realistic. But she, and the rest of the riders did just great.

I know what it’s like to have to dig really really deep to find strength. I have been there — in the middle of the night when your hope is sapped and you feel the darkness closing in. I know what it’s like to want to quit — more than anything else. I have been on ultra marathons when my legs felt like giving out. And I have had to face the prospect of raising my children without their mother.

You know, I really feel sorry for people who have never been placed (or placed themselves) in situations where the only thing they can rely on is that buried reserve of strength that we all have deep down.

When Max completed his three day try-out for an elite Army unit, I was very proud not just that he had accomplished the ordeal, but that he now had an experience he can fall back on whenever life seems to get hard — or even impossible.

But when someone suffers serious injuries that prevent them from walking, talking, eating, etc — that ordeal is every day — every single day. You don’t get to cross the finish line and relax when every day life gives you more fences to climb, more kilometers to pass.

So for me to see a group of people who should not have even been walking — riding mountain bikes in the Judean Hills — it was truly remarkable.

Yes, Alyn riders helped me out with a little thing like a flat tire. But what Alyn riders really do is help kids with really big problems get the care that they need.

And I would take my hat off to them, except my hat is a helmet and it’s a really bad idea to take your helmet off while mountain biking.

Yarden Frankl, Neve Daniel

Check Please!

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Yesterday we went to Shaare Zedek Hospital (where Stella will have the operation) for our pre-op tests and meetings. Throughout the morning, Stella was examined by the surgeon, anesthesiologist, surgical ward head nurse, and the hospital accountant (so we could have our bank account checked.) That’s a joke, although we did need to drop off a post-dated check equal to about 6,000 falafel in pita sandwiches.

Now let me explain something. Israel has a national health insurance system that is good. It’s not perfect ( and I don’t believe a national health insurance system CAN be perfect,) but I believe it is very, very good. It has paid for truckloads of drugs for us, scans, and examinations up the wazoo (but not of the wazoo because the cancer thankfully never spread there.) And even the surgery would have been paid for if we would be o.k. with a resident doing the operation (under supervision.)

That’s the catch. I am sure the surgical residents are very good. But with my wife’s life literally in someone’s hands, I don’t want “very good.” I want “the best.” After all, I’m the type of guy who is picky over what mechanic I let touch my bike. Shouldn’t I be at least as selective on who is going to be working on my wife?

I think so.

Read the rest of this entry »

Racing Alberto

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Dear Friends,

I started Crossing the Yarden long before cancer, and I intend to write it long after Stella has a complete recovery. So not every post will be about the Matsav. Of course, if you are wondering, Stella had a bit of a rough week from chemo but is now doing fine as we anticipate surgery on January 1.

Now then……

It had all the trappings of a classic cycling competition. Alberto Contador is the three time winner of the Tour de France, two time winner of the Tour of Italy (Giro), and one time winner of the Tour of Spain. I am the winner of a spring training race in Prospect Park, circa 1984 and five time participant in the Alyn Charity Ride (not a race — or so they have to tell me every year.) I am sure that Alberto has been nervously anticipating racing against me ever since Lance Armstrong retired.

Let me just say, I am a Chassid of Lance Armstrong and am in no way a fan of Alberto, who has dissed my hero on several occasions. But I will admit that Alberto is most likely the best cyclist in the world right now, and one of the best ever. I am extremely proud that he came to Israel with his whole team. Sure, Robert Kraft comes here a lot, but has he ever brought the entire New England Patriots team for a solid ten days of training? Nu?

Alberto rides for the Saxo Bank team, one of the top professional teams in the world. I am not exactly sure how it happened, but Saxo Bank decided to have their first training camp of the season here in Israel. While the other top teams are holding their camps in warm exotic places, Saxo Bank came to Israel and even spent time performing charity work.

When there are those in the world who shun Israel and refuse to travel here, Saxo Bank not only came but held a race through the Old City. Big props to the whole team. I am so impressed with them, that it will be very difficult for me to root against them in this year’s Tour (of course I must, because that’s what sports fans do. But still…..)

Last week I got an e-mail from Alyn saying they are looking for a group of riders to accompany Alberto, Mayor Nir Barkat, and the rest of the Saxo Bank team on a ride through the Old City Tuesday evening. As a cyclist, this was just too huge an opportunity to pass up. I figured I would ride alongside Alberto for a little while, tell him about riding in Israel, then let him eat my dust while staring at the back of my Livestrong helmet.

I drove to Talpiot, parked the car, and rode to the Jaffa Gate. My first sense that I had somehow missed something in the translation was when I saw the massive crowds behind police barricades leading up to the Old City. Then above the Jaffa Gate was a huge sign that said “Start of Bike Race.’ Hmm……

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ride of Our Lives

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

231 kilometers.

12 hours.

Over 90,000 shekels raised.

Over 1,000 people following on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Countless spirits raised.

What an awesome night.

Read the rest of this entry »

Liveblogging the Ride

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Yarden is on the road riding to raise money for families in Gush Etzion who are dealing with illnesses.

6:05PM – Rav Matanya Ben Shachar, rav of Neve Daniel, spoke briefly to inaugurate the ride. Yarden’s message to Stella was “I’ll let the riding speak for me.” He did one lap, came back to find Stella in the crowd, kissed her, and was off.

Cumulative time
Cumulative kilometers
Cumulative pledges
Last GPS Location

 

0 hr
0km
₪0

6:15PM – Yarden is off and riding.. He’s lapping the main roads in the yishuv with a few dozen kids in tow.

2 ¼ hr
44km
₪9,939

8:27PM – Yarden is leaving Neve Daniel now and heading into the Gush Eztion circuit of Alon Shevut / Rosh Tzurim / Efrat.

3 hr
64.5km
₪14,201
Efrat Darom

9:15PM – Yarden’s making a second lap into Efrat. The follow car (Josh & Avi) were pulled over by the cops for blocking traffic. They had an ishur (permit).

3 ¾hr
83km
₪18,250
Alon Shevut

9:59PM – Yarden’s heading out of Alon Shevut, listening to AC/DC.

10:12PM – the follow car cracked open the popcorn.

4 ½hr
100km
₪21,966
Gush Etzion Regional Council

10:40PM – We reached the 100km mark. Yarden’s changing his shirt and heading back up to Efrat on his fourth circuit in Gush Etzion.

11:00PM – David Bender (http://www.davebrianbender.com/) joined Yarden for the ride. Yarden is riding at a little over 22km/h. He’s wearing a black shirt (and a reflective vest, and has tons of lights on him).

11:16PM Latitude: 31° 39′ 3.58172”, Longitude: 35° 7′ 43.7543”, Speed: 9 m/s, Bearing: 172°, Altitude: 970.4 meters. Also, a course adjustment because Alon Shevut isn’t The City That Never Sleeps… they shut the gate.

5 ¼hr
118km
₪25,844
Efrat Southern Entrance

11:32PM – Yarden’s finishing up his circuits in Gush Etzion. Stay tuned for a live video update: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/longingforthedawn

5 ¾hr
125km
₪27,615
Efrat

12:00AM – Heading into Yerushalayim. Reached the halfway mark for the ride. Stay tuned for a live video update: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/longingforthedawn

12:12AM – Video technical malfunction. Our crack team of experts is on the case… even though it’s past their bedtime.

12:21AM We are meeting up with the bet shemesh crew [Yarden’s bike club from Beit Shemesh. Ed.]

12:45AM Midnight Madness!! Crazy awake Neve Daniel friends came out to greet Yarden and his biking crew on the road to Jerusalem. It’s a crystal clear night, cool and dry. Speed: 12 m/s
Bearing: 36°

6 ½hr
139km
₪31,654
Tunnel Road

12:55AM – Heading into the tunnels on 60 on the way to Jerusalem.

1:06AM – Just entered Jerusalem …should be at Kotel in 25 minutes or so.

7hr
153km
₪34,645
Old City

1:29AM – Latitude: 31° 46′ 26.7244” Longitude: 35° 13′ 59.7021” Speed: 3 m/s Bearing: 70° – In the Old City of Jerusalem.
2:12AM – Latitude: 31° 43′ 50.5409” Longitude: 35° 12′ 19.9625” Speed: 10 m/s Bearing: 199° – heading down Derech Chevron to Kever Rachel.

8hr
165km
₪37,940
Tunnel Road

2:17AM – Heading back to the Gush.

9hr
180km
₪41,739
Tunnel Road

3:10AM – Back in Efrat.

Final Amount
₪80,518