Each year for the last 10 years we have honored Itamar Illiyah, a son of Arad who died in military duty, by holding a mountain bike race in his name. For the last several years I, with the help of others designed courses for the Elite, Sport, and Young racers. There were also two family courses that were NOT races, just a way for family members of various levels of ability to enjoy the day. The Elite course was a very technical 7.5 kilometer course with downhills, singletrek, jumps and a few short but vicious uphills...and one spectacular downhill, but at the bottom you have to turn 90 degrees, what a surprise THAT is...
The Sport course is 22 kilometers and takes you into the hills on the northern edge of Arad, if you happen to bother to look there is also a few fantastic views...a few of the racers came up to me and told me that it was "NOT FAIR", not fair to put such views on a race course, it put them off their stride.
The youngster course is designed for racers who have not reached their 12th birthday and cannot compete in the Elite or Sport catagories, but who do desire to compete. This course is a smaller, easier design to get them started.
At this point there were not too many cars passing, the top speed attained on the skatebikes was 65 kph, on this same stretch I have managed over 100 kph on my mountain bike, but it is MUCH easier to control..these skatebikes have a disc brake on the back wheel which is controlled by leaning your leg against an upright paddle that compresses the brake..
On this section of steep and winding road there were two main dangers, first and worst danger were from passing cars...if you decided just at THAT MOMENT to fall off your skatebike, no not a good idea at all. So we were all watchfull when cars were passing. Most of them gave us the thumbs up and honked...
These guys in the picture own and operate a bike store here In Arad...I guess they decided that mountain biking the rugged hills and valleys with their steep walls and dropoffs were not "exciting" enough, so they imported these "skatebikes". Here they are getting ready to test ride them.
Tal just got her new mountain bike with front fork suspension. We will see how she does and then start taking her for longer rides in the desert surrounding Arad. There are literally dozens of trails around here, from the easy 4 wheel drive tracks to goat tracks and single trek. From the easy to the dangerous, take your pick. If you have been to Moab, Utah, USA, they tell me it is similar in its diversity.
Here you can see that even though they are crazy to do this they are not dumb...we had cars in front and in back to give protection from motorists who might not have seen the riders.