At day break we started out on our infrequently travelled Scorpion Ascent ride. It's a 60 miler which starts out in the city of Dimona, down to the Dead sea, south to En Hazeva and right up to the Ascent finally back to Dimona.
[I had purchased new wheels a few weeks ago and decided to install a 12-23 cassette with 53/39 chainwheels. While making that decision I planned to build another wheel appropriate for climbs with a 12-27 cassette, but have not got around to it.]
Well back to the ascent - I started out with a nice kick going up the hill but the 13% grade took its toll and I was pedalling just fast enough to keep from falling off the bike. In a couple of places my front wheel came up off the ground. Just before the peak, my legs locked up. My thigh muscles were stuck in a contracted position and with some difficulty was able to dismount and loosen up. I walked the remaining 50 meters. On the remaining 20 miles back to start I kept my legs spinning and as loose as possible, there were only a few minor inclines and with the help of another partner whom I shared drafting we slowly made it back. Can't wait to get better gearing - I even consider getting a compact crankset.