One thing I've learned -- the "granny gear" is my friend. In past years, where I probably conditioned more for the ride, I didn't use it a lot, though I now realize that it was always there for me. This year, I like it! Though today's ride was marked by more "rolling" hills than some of the very long climbs that we did yesterday, granny let me enjoy all of it.
Also, as you bike through the north, you witness first hand the miracle that is modern Israel - in some areas, the terrain and land is not so different from what it must have looked like 100 years ago -- challenging. But, throughout the day, as we made our way back to the coast, we saw the farms, some of the industry, and development that now support a thriving (even this year!) economy and a population that has grown to over seven million! It's amazing.
Over the first two days of the ride, we also learned a lot about the JNF and their role in the development of the area. Accept for the "truck stops" or bus stops, virtually every other place that we have stopped is a JNF/KKL park or recreation area, and they are all beautiful. Beyond the infrastructure, reforestation, water projects. etc., signs of the JNF's role as the "caretaker of the land of Israel" are everywhere. As a member of Team JNF and a member of the JNF in Boston, it is really great to see. Additionally, Alon Tol, the founder of the Arava Institute is the lead environmental educator on the ride, and he has been great about drawing our attention to the many things that are being done, or can be done, to assure sustainable, environmentally sound development here. One of the big investments that is being made now, throughout the country, is the investment in bike routes (both road and off road) that will make most of the country a more "bike friendly" environment. I'm good with that!
All of my pictures from the ride are archived in a Picasa web album: http://picasaweb.google.com/DavidLEisenberg/2009IsraelRideArchiveHighResolution#