Journal 7 from Israel

Here’s the third one. Of the three, this is my favorite. It’s lite on the culture side and has more stuff for you gossip-hounds. It has more stuff about me.

I hope you enjoy it. As always, feedback is welcome.

Miles

Until this past weekend, I was planning on doing the cross Israel ride. This ride spans 3 days and goes from the northernmost point (Methula) down to the southernmost (Elat) covering about 100 miles each day. In preparation, a bunch of people from Intel have been riding twice a week after work. We ride 45min in one direction then turn around and come back. It’s an interesting change from the mountain biking that I’m used to because I can maintain a constant level of exertion for the entire time instead of cranking out a hill and then relaxing on the downhill. I guess this is why pro mountain bikers spend most of their training time on a road bike. I’m much more able to climb than I was before. I may even be able to keep up with Jamie and Dale.

Anyway, because of the time change and the shorter days, we needed to switch the rides to the early morning. We met at ~6am did our ride and then showered in the gym downstairs just in time for work at 8. So some of you out there know that I have a thing for security women. In Santa Clara there were a couple that we tried to mack on. Well things are only better here. (Though I don’t do much mackin now) There’s one of them who is quite attractive but always has her hair up in a french braid down the back. Recently, she wore it down and she looks really good this way. So here I am. Sweaty. Smelly. In my cute little biker shorts. Coming into the building at a quarter to eight. She’s checking badges as people are coming in though not really quite awake. As I walk by I tell her, “you should keep your hair down. It looks good that way.” It took her a moment to understand but then a big smile appeared on her face. I guess I made her day.

A couple days later, I was standing in someone’s cube talking about something technical when she appeared on the other side of the room. (the cubes are low enough and I’m tall enough that I can see a LONG way.) She was doing one of the regular security walk throughs that they do here. (Intel Israel unlike Intel Santa Clara takes security seriously) When she noticed me, she smiled and continued on her way. No I do NOT think she wants me now. But really, I guess a nice comment can go a long way. She must not realize just how attractive she is.

As it turns out, I can’t do the ride, because it conflicts with the trip to Italy I’ve been planning. I’m in pretty good shape now though. If it did do the ride, yes, it would hurt, but getting enough calories into my system would probably be a larger concern. If anyone out there is wondering, I sometimes have trouble eating enough and I suffer from a lack of energy.

So this past weekend was Rosh HaShannah. That’s the Jewish New Year. For the occasion, we got 2.5 days off so I had a 5 days weekend. What to do? Michal (remember the girl that patched me up when I fell) was going to the US so my biggest time sink was gone. Well, I decided to go to Sinai in Egypt. Since I didn’t want to go by myself, I put up a sign on the notice board here at Intel asking if anyone else wanted to go. I got a couple responses. An Argentinean couple asked me if I had a problem with small children but we decided that it would be too hot and the facilities where I wanted to go were not conducive to kids. A guy from South America called but didn’t really seem interested. Then I got a call from a local Intel woman. This was what I was looking for. The local part that is. I didn’t really know where to go in Sinai and needed a little bit of a guide. This was something that foreigners (like me) would not have been able to provide. We agree that we would go together and meet to talk about it the next day.

So the next afternoon, this woman comes into my cube. “Hi, I’m Zohar.” “Oh. You’re the one I’m going to Sinai with tomorrow.” Since I’ve checked out all of Intel Israel’s women (Israel is much more tolerant of this than in the US) I recognized her. She sticks out. She’s got this great fire red hair and I’d often noticed her in the cafeteria. So here I am. I know I’m taking my girlfriend to the airport that evening and I find out who I’m going to Sinai with. In the back of my head, I’m thinking, “God….. You’re kidding right?”

As it turns out. We had a good time in Sinai. We talked in the car on the way down to keep awake and alert (we drove through the night) and found that we got along pretty well. Over the next couple days we often did our own thing but also hung out together at times. I spent most of my time there either reading (I finished Alive, read all of Surely you’re joking, Feinman, and half of Airframe), working on Hebrew, or just working on my tan. There were no hotels, just bamboo huts. Very relaxing to know that I don’t really have to DO anything. I’m not sure if we would have clicked as much in a less relaxing environment, but I think my circle of friends here have increased by one.

For those wondering, nothing questionable happened though on the way home she told me that one of the guys we were talking to that day mentioned to her that he thought I had beautiful eyes.

Oh, as another sidenote. Michal and I broke up two weeks after the trip though not because of my trip to Sinai. Perhaps a friend of mine in the US was right went she commented, “you should be less concerned about cheating and more about the desire to do so.”

This past weekend, I went on another of our Intel mountain bike club trips. It was a regular ride but I mention it because I’ve noticed alot about fads in the group. when I first got here almost 6 months ago (yes, it’s been that long) I was one of the fancier riders. Only one or two others had clipless pedals. No camelbaks. The only gadgets you’ll find are the computers and not many had that either. I’ve mentioned this before.

There are about 20 people who regularly ride in the intermediate/advanced group. Today, at least half the group had shoes and pedals. Camelbaks of various brands are common. The most recent fad is heart rate monitors. It started with one of the riders, Meir, who has the superduper polar model. This thing will record your rate at various intervals and then allow you to download it onto a computer (with Intel inside, of course) He paid $300 or $400 for it, I think. He got his through a special deal through the distributor which also became available to the rest of the group. He tells me that at least 7 others bought one. In addition to this someone else got one when he was in the states and I had my brother buy me one to bring when he came here. That’s 10 people with monitors. Does it help? Not really on the dirt rides but it is quite useful on flat road rides. Through the regular rides, I know that I can maintain a heartrate of 160 for 1.5 hours. On one morning, I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated. I always ride to a specific point and turn around when I get there. On this morning I broke my slowness record for the outbound portion. All the while, I’m looking at the readout and see a rate of 135. I can do better than that. Until then, whenever I pushed a little harder, my legs would complain, “hey dude. You’re gonna get tired and you have a ways to go.” Shortly after turning around, I decided, “to hell with this. I can maintain 160 and that’s what I’m gonna do.” So I picked up the speed and again my legs complained but this time I ignored them and just watched the readout. It worked! Though my legs were tired I maintained 160 all the way back. My roundtrip went from all time slowest to a personal best (without wheelsucking that is; drafting) I wouldn’t have done that on my own; I’m too much of a weenie.

So another guy on the dirt trip decided that the next fad would be a device that measures how often you piss and what the salt contents is and your rate of sweating to tell you when you need to drink more water……. Because just obeying your thirst isn’t scientific enough.

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