Chris Froome: “Finishing down here, quite close to the Dead Sea behind us, is a pretty once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s a very special place, with a lot of history and a lot of stories to tell.”
Today, some of the riders from Israel Start-Up Nation experienced the new and spectacular section of the Israel Bike Trail connecting Arad to Masada, broke (as expected) the trail’s record – and rejoiced every moment.
“It’s a simply breathtaking route not to mention the history behind it,” exclaimed Chris Froome, who, like his friends, was stunned by the landscapes and quality of the trail that had been laboriously built over the past two years, with the help of many volunteers and amateur cyclists.
The 40-kilometer (mostly single-track) trail between Arad and Masada was inaugurated just two weeks ago and the Ministry of Tourism views the trail (which, when completed, will be a continuous 600 km route crossing the country from Mt. Hermon in the north to Eilat in the south) as a world-class attraction for millions of bicycle enthusiasts from around the world.
Chris and his colleagues volunteered to help the Ministry of Tourism, one of the team’s sponsors, during their visit to Israel to try it out themselves. Although their main specialty is road riding, they happily stormed the desert trail. “I do not know many riders who would resist the temptation to ride such a crazy track, especially when you find yourself riding on routes that go back thousands of years,” said Austrian Matthias Brändle of ISN.
This excursion was veteran ISN rider and current Canadian champion Guillaume Boivin’s first time mountain biking in Israel. He said about the trip, “We’ve been here for four or five days now, and we’ve done a bunch of cool stuff, but you could tell today that we’re bike racers and we’re happiest on the bikes. So, today, was the best combination of visiting and discovering some new parts of Israel.”
For Chris Froome, who is on his first touring visit to Israel, the ride was an experience to remember. “It was almost like being kids again on mountain bikes, just getting into cycling. Getting out there, just riding the trails. It was pretty much just single-track, not too technical but a few sketchy bits, but it was a lot of fun. And finishing down here, quite close to the Dead Sea behind us, is a pretty once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s a very special place, with a lot of history and a lot of stories to tell. I’d love to bring my kids here, especially when they’re old enough to ride – come and do the same thing with them.”