Mountain Biking in Israel in Timna National Park

>> Monday, January 27, 2014

The day after the Israman half iron distance triathlon, we hit the road for a half hour ride north of Eilat, Israel to Timna Valley National Park.

Passing groves of date trees in the desert. They are supposedly
really tasty because they are irrigated with salty sea water.

Through the bus window on the way to Timna.

An awesomely cheesy 15 minute video in a mini-theatre on the edge
of Timna park gave us a lot of the history.

Timna Valley was most likely the worlds FIRST copper mine about 5-6,000 years ago. The Egyptians found copper in the valley and started mining it for their use. (Egypt is less than 10 miles away.) The Jewish National Fund helped develop it as an Israeli National Park, and JNF does a lot to develop bike and hiking trails, forests, water reservoirs, etc.

Why do I do these things? Really, I'm asking. Someone tell me. Because I don't know.

Our gang in our Jewish National Fund hats (with Talia from JNF on the left).

Noa (our photographer) said JUMP, so I did.

At many of our stops in Israel, Kinetis lined up people to talk with us about things we may be interested in. Here at Timna, we met with 2 guys from Navad GPS. Their units can be pre-programed with routes so they will beep at you as you're nearing a turn - then you can just look down and see that it's showing you that you need to veer right 30 meters ahead. It's super easy to use: you turn it on, it sees where you're at, and you can just go. Here we are getting hooked up with a Navad GPS device for our upcoming ride:

Tim, Nick, and I looking over our GPSs.

Mounted on my bike.

It has a live map showing where you are along with every path around you. It tracks your workout info, but the mapping part of this device make it different than others and good for specific uses. It's REALLY accurate too - it bounces its signal off American AND Russian satellites. Pretty cool device.

Enough about that... it's time to ride!

We started on a gravel road.

Peace, Nick!

Nearing "Solomon's Pillars."

At Solomon's Pillars.

"Solomon's Pillars" are a gigantic rock formation created by erosion over centuries. The date of the copper mines don't line up with King Solomon's reign, but someone named them that many years ago, and the name stuck.

I sprinted up and back into that dark crevice to the left-center of the image above.

Looking up through 100 feet of sandstone to a crack of sky.

Looking back down to the rest of the gang and across the Timna Valley.

Tim ran up with me too.

Tim and I were in awe. We were just looking around and touching the rock formations. Then, breaking the silence, Tim spoke (in his dignified British accent): "Wow.... it looks like a giant vagina." Top notch, Tim. Top notch.

Riding off towards a little single-track.

We didn't have time to ride much single-track, but they had MILES of it.

This is what was great about this park: one minute, you'd be riding through giant rocks...

... and (quite literally) the next minute, you'd be riding across sandy flats.

On the paved road running through the park.

Behind Ben, one of the Navad GPS guys, and Nick.

The atmospheric perspective was amazing!

Riding next to Nick.

I rode 100 feet off road to get a shot of Adi riding past... and then
nearly biffed it on some rocks riding back to the road.

Riding the little stone path across this spring-fed pond.

We got back to the visitor's center and ditched the bikes. We hoped back in the bus to head off to explore the area around the copper mines.

Near the ancient copper mines at the base of the mountains.

Ben and I had to run up this tiny peak.

At the 5-6,000 year old mines!

I followed Tim down, and here we're getting directions on how to get back out!

Tim's butt crawling through history.

Me in the mines!

Tim after he made it just past the TIGHT area on the way out. I had to tuck my
camera away to fit through this. And I STILL managed to scrape my elbow up!

Adi (our fearless leader from Kinetis) crawling up behind me.
(If you've never witnessed childbirth, it's kinda like this... but with less sand.)

Nick horsing around.

The remnants of another great meal at the Timna visitors center.

Ready to leave Timna after a great day!

We drove back to Eilat to catch our flight back to Tel Aviv.

Off our flight in Tel Aviv, aboard the bus to take us to the terminal.

ANOTHER GREAT MEAL in Tel Aviv to end an amazing day.
(You can still see Ben's and my race tattoos from the race the day before.)

Thanks for the great adventure Kinetis, Navad GPS, and Jewish National Fund! What a great day!


Life After Swimming 6:52 AM, January 27, 2014  

I've been following your adventure and must admit that it looks beyond awesome. I've never wanted to go to Israel more than this. So jealous!

Carolina John 12:15 PM, January 27, 2014  

You are totally charging up into a giant vagina there. Good call Tim.

And great pics from such a fun trip!

STEVIE DEE 3:40 PM, January 27, 2014  

HOLY CRAP. Take me with you next time, mmmkay? Awesome photos man.

Abby Leviss 2:17 PM, February 05, 2014  

Steve - I've also been following your adventure! The tour through Timna Park looks amazing. In addition to cycling, it is a beautiful place to hike, jeep, cave (as you found) and birdwatch! Lots of people like to visit as a day trip while vacationing in Eilat. Timna is only one of so many awesome places to cycle in Israel. Israel has incredible trails throughout the country and cycling is quickly becoming the sport of choice for so many Israelis! A great resource for those interest in touring Israel from the seat of their bike can search here for trails!

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