Archive for the 'Sinai' Category

TABA-SHARM REVIEW (March, 2010) Over Due!

Ride Participants: Pat, Luis, Pascal, Jose, Erika, Marc, Michael, Mohamed, Daniel and Myself (am I missing anyone?)

The evening prior to the ride upon arrival into Taba began Egyptian style as per usual with the last arrival, Pascal, being stopped by the police and his license held because he mentioned that we would be commencing a bike ride the next morning down the coast. Well they said this would not be possible and told him to return later that evening to pick up his license and they would decide what could be done. Our ride almost ended before it started but El-humdulillah they gave us the go ahead with a support vehicle of officers to follow along (more to come on this).

Due to some road work on the way to Taba most of us arrived with black tar covering our vehicles and for those of us with bikes on a rack (myself) had a thick layer of tar covering my rear wheel, brake caliper and derailleur, which I had to spend the evening cleaning with gasoline.

The morning of started without a hitch and looked to be a beautiful day with a slightly ominous breeze and a tinge of warmth for that time of day and time of year. We arrived at the first police check point in Taba where we were all stopped initially but amazingly enough they were prepared for us and let us proceed without too many hassles. Now about that support vehicle, they started with us and as usual they left us within the first 20 minutes of the ride due to boredom, so much for that.

The ride from Taba to Nuweiba was fantastic and beautiful with a slight headwind but very manageable rolling hills and amazing scenery. Then we hit the Wall (18km up to just over 800m) which we typically will stop prior to commencing at the base of the climb in Nuweiba. This year there was no stop as few in the lead decided to continue and not get off their bikes which started a chain reaction and therefore very few if any actually took a break at that point. Well, as it turns out during that portion of the ride it was a boiling 38 degrees with no breeze and I personally started the climb a little dehydrated with no breaks and at one point even went blind momentarily due to excessive sweating and burning eyeballs. Riding with my eyes closed proved challenging but I pressed on and said to myself, this year I will complete this damn climb!!!!!! 5 minutes later I got my second wind and started catching on riders ahead of me, I was really moving and moving fast. Cant remember my speed but I will have to ask my driver how fast he was driving up the hill with me attached to the car. On the way to the top I saw looks of anguish and desperation, some riders pulled over and were folded over their bikes in exhaustion and others took A/C breaks in their support vehicles before continuing on until of course I reached Jose and Erika near the top who were all smiles and thumbs up the whole way!!

All in all I believe about half of us used a support vehicle at some point in the climb to complete it, I wont mention any names here. The descent from the top into Dahab was quite windy making it a challenge to descend after a grueling climb. Upon arrival into Dahab we were greeted with fresh juices at the entrance of the hotel and later that evening complimentary Heineken thanks to Marc. The next day from Dahab to Sharm began with a long 20 km climb as well which I personally bowed out of after spending the evening up all night vomiting from heat stroke and dehydration I presume. Everyone else continued as planned. At the top I couldn’t resist and got into my riding gear and hoped on the bike for the long fast descent which was fantastic! Everyone made it to Sharm one way or another for a relaxing afternoon on the beach!

A big thank you to Pat and his wonderful administrative assistant for organizing the logistics of this ride and all our hotel arrangements.

Once again a terrific weekend for all on a truly amazing ride which I am sure we all look forward to next year in which I will tell myself once again, I will complete this damn climb!!!! See you on the road



2009 Taba-Sharm chronicle‏

What a ride last weekend! Here is a small chronicle from my side, for the records. Others will be posting the pictures.

Day2: the line up for Dahab to Sharm El-Sheikh

Day2: the line up for Dahab to Sharm El-Sheikh

Only 8 took the official ride: Jose, Roberto, Michael, Yasser, Sonny, Alfredo, Walid and Luis. There was another rider called Ed (nobody is sure to have met him before) who did it by his own, only seen shortly by Michael at the top of the mountain on Friday.

We departed late the first day for the 140 km stage. We got company from the local police, honking their siren on the way to Pharao´s island, where we stopped for the official photo. We got trouble at the police station ahead, their call: “no passports no go”. Finally we managed to convince the boss to let us through if only one of us (Roberto) showed his passport. The ride to Nuweiba, always beautiful, felt much longer than last year due to a light front breeze. At the restaurant at km 65 two stepped into the car and skipped the 11.8 km climb ahead. In the middle of it further 2 stepped down. Good for them because it was hotter (30C) and steeper than last year. By that time, the breeze had turned into wind, unfortunately not tailwind this year. King of the mountain was Jose. He got in fact a certificate prepared by Walid during the evening. Sonny won the Best Team Player (or Good Samaritan) prize for assisting Alfredo at the back. Impressive was also Walid´s communication system with his coach (his sister Sarah) via radio, several spare tires and nothing left to chance.

Once at the top of the hill, Yasser and I couldn’t refill the bottles because the restaurant was closed. This was not in our plans. Fortunately, we found a beduine house on the way down, where they gave us tea and water, and later Sonny and Sherry came along with help. Rob and Jose found another house where a Sudanese gave them tea. The way down to Dahab was a big struggle against the stronger and stronger headwind, and the last 40 km were unbearably long. I heard all ended stepping into the cars at different locations this day.

Second day (101 km) started fine, but the supposedly 6 km climb from the deviation to Dahab (wrong google earth estimate) was in fact 24 km long. It has three culminations with some flats in between, but was tough enough to break legs and the peloton into 8 pieces. The wind remained frontal, but not as strong as the first day. The final 15 km straight and slightly downhill leg was a lot of fun. The pack arrived to Sharm in 4 groups of 2, within 2 hours. Compliments to Michael and Yasser who resisted until the end without giving up.

In Sharm, Alfredo bid farewell to his 25 year old bicycle and stuff, and Sonny will make somebody in need of equipment very happy with this old, but fine piece.

Hilton Dreams was OK, but lunch took as much time as last year in the Marriot.

Anyway, the ride couldn’t have taken place without the engagement of Pat, Mariam and Dave in the organization, and Sherry, Sarah, Ana Maria and Martina in the logistic, technical direction (i.e. moral support) and water. Many thanks to all of them again.

No wonder it is called Extravaganza in CCC´s calendar, definitely the highlight of the year. Count on me for the next one.


Moon Beach MTB

What a great ride! The pictures are from the ride Friday morning. We had seven from CCC and one first-time rider (Sam the dentist) who rode the first part of the wadi and then wisely turned back. Credit goes to Sam for learning how to ride on the fly and never once complaining. The ride through the wadi was beautiful. The weather cooperated by providing moderate temperatures and a breeze most of the time. The climb was everything one expects from a 500 m climb with grades exceeding 20%. All seven made it to the summit to enjoy the breath-taking view. Pat gets the award for most flats with 3 on the ascent. This it truly a wonderful trip, and so close to Cairo. It can be done as an overnight trip as Pat and I did, or at a more leisurely pace by staying Friday night to enjoy the activities at Moon Beach.

group valley

group valley

Life is good! On the heels of the 6th October holiday we have another excursion to look forward to…Moon Beach Mountain Bike Weekend is coming up!  Our resident windsurfing guru, Gene Lin has reserved 10 rooms at Moon Beach for Oct. 14 and 15.  For those of you unexposed to the wonders of mountain biking at Moon Beach, there is a major league climb followed by a spin down a lovely canyon area.  The afternoon is available for world-class wind surfing, kite surfing or just plain relaxing.  For runners, there are  some excellent “adventure runs” in the hills and wadis just east of the hotel. There is also an opportunity to drive to St. Katherine’s Monastery/Mt. Sinai on Saturday morning for a ride of biblical proportions.

The cost per night but it is quite reasonable. For a single 150 LE, double 220 LE and suite 270 LE. (All half board). These are approximate, don’t hold me to these but the bottom line…you can hardly stay home for the same costs!  They do fill up so we need to have commitments as soon as possible. If you plan to go contact either Dave or me with the number of rooms you need.Moon Beach is about a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive from Maadi. As you probably know, driving in the Sinai after dark can be extremely dangerous and is not recommended. While it is not necessary to travel to Moon Beach in a caravan, we do advise leaving no later than 3 PM to allow for plenty of daylight driving time. If you need a ride, let me or Dave know.

Hope to see you at Moon Beach,
Your humble Prez, Pat

2005 Taba to Sharm Ride

The 2005 edition of the Taba to Sharm ride was a great success. Unlike 2004, the weather this year cooperated by providing moderate temperatures and tail winds both days. We even had partial cloud cover Friday to ease the pain of the Neweiba climb. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and most participants accomplished their personal goals. A special thanks goes out to Hector Pleigo, the Executive Chef at the Renaissance Hotel for the superb lunch he prepared for us. What a great way to finish two days of hard cycling along the length of the Sinai peninsula.


The start of day 2

While we await the annual summary by “anonymous”, here are some pictures, to enjoy.


Pinarello Gran Fondo del Deserto 2005