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Bikepacking Israel

Nati Cohen,
Full Discover winner

I arrived at midnight to my family, slept well, and had breakfast (and not just a gas station sandwich 😉), but above all, a feeling of happiness hovered over me.
This happiness emerged about two years ago when I was introduced to the community. I followed the HLC challenges and Discover, and last year when Discover ended, I told myself that was where I wanted to be, so I reached April 4, 2024, standing at the starting line. I embarked on this journey, which for me is more a journey than a competition. During this journey, I used all the "tools" I had acquired over the years, and with their help, I reached the finish line. The course, even if it needs improvements, was excellent, passing through various regions in our country and discovering small, new places within these regions and magnificent landscapes.
The experience is immense, thanks to the fantastic community here,
Thank you to everyone who encouraged and supported me, to those who came and met me along the way; you gave me the energy to continue.
Being part of such a group is enjoyable and fulfilling, and we'll continue to do so.

Jonathan Steindel,
Discover Israel finisher

I'm sharing my experience from the Discover Israel event, a challenging bikepacking race that kicked off on Thursday, 4/4, at 7:00 AM. Alongside about 40 participants, we embarked on an adventure that promised to test our endurance and connect us with nature.

Day 1: We rode 160 km, starting our journey navigating through the desert's challenging terrain from Yotvata to Neot Smadar Inn, and then onward to Kibbutz Yotvata. The day was marked by the immense heat and breathtaking landscapes, with our only stops being at gas stations for essential supplies.

Day 2: We continued before dawn, tackling a demanding climb through Nachal Nekarot to Mitzpe Ramon as temperatures soared. The highlight of the day was an unexpected visit from my brother, who offered much-needed encouragement.

Day 3: The day involved navigating more complex routes and overcoming physical and navigational challenges to reach Har HaAmsha. The tough trails tested our limits, but the camaraderie among riders and the stunning views kept our spirits high.

Day 4: The final stretch to Modi'in was the most strenuous, featuring a steep 7 km ascent that culminated in a total of 200 km covered that day. We concluded the race with a collective 640 km ridden and 10,000 meters climbed over three days.

This event was more than a race; it was a journey through some of Israel’s most remote and beautiful terrains, pushing us to our limits and beyond, fostering a deep connection with the land and our fellow riders.

Zeevi Perl,
Discover Israel Participent

My first attempt was two years ago.

I signed up for the half HLC and aimed to finish three days. I found myself crossing the finish line second in the race. This experience made me change many habits in my life. Being conscious of nutrition and a sports routine got me back to the weight I was in the army and to a cycling fitness that left all my friends behind. I wanted to do the full HLC mainly to tackle the desert. It's a significant and physically daunting challenge. I trained seriously and felt ready. A week before setting out, I caught COVID. I was definitely bummed. Then I discovered there was another competition. Discover a race that aims to be less stubborn and more participant-friendly. So last March, I set out, and on the first day, with excessive confidence, I burned through the climb to dawn and my Achilles tendons.

From there, I continued with my father as my primary support for most of the way. I met a dear person and benefited. I struggled with terrible pain, mainly pedaling and standing up. The atmosphere was uplifting, and instead of continuing north, I cut to the Knesset in Jerusalem. After the initiation, I understood that the competitive event was the cherry on top of the preparation. The preparation is a significant and gratifying part. I went on long weekend rides. I learned that it's fun to ride in the rain and cold. (I gave up snowboarding) I rode in the crazy heat. And the goal was to do the full HLC this year. Well, I don't need to explain, but I went to Discover. Honestly, not in the shape I was in last October. Because who thought about riding? I was thrilled to meet the community forming around the event again. (She'll kill me for the nickname). I had a work plan this year, and I'm satisfied that I stuck to it.


Please don't overdo it and burn out at the start.

Don't get injured

Don't arrive at night to Mitzpe Ramon and Har HaMasa.

I averaged over 120 per day, so from this perspective, I met all the goals. I arrived in Jerusalem without strength. My face was swollen, and my pulse didn't rise to a level that allowed fast riding. I immediately understood that the next challenge was mud. I don't race against mud, and I also don't take to the road. So, I did what a mature and considered person would do. I pushed my bike onto a bus that took me home to the Golan Heights. 


Next time, there will be more international participants, more women who already had a respectable representation this year, and even more participants.

Ah, Discover is not much less grueling than the HLC.

Ori Sofer,
Discover Israel Finisher

"It was a tough event. Crazy heat, amazing scenery, a good atmosphere, and warm and encouraging people. I preferred to spend the hottest hours resting and pushing 'dead' distances at night. So, when we arrived in Yotvata on the first day, I settled on a bench from one to three o'clock.


At three, during the peak heat, I set off knowing I would reach the top a little after the peak heat so the worst would be behind me. I arrived in Yehel around nine and went to sleep.
At midnight, I set off again to finish the administrative road to Paran while it was still dark. That's when I startled the border trail readiness team 😂 They stopped me in Paran... At about seven, I met Elad, Keren, Shahar, and a few other stars in Tzukim, but I took the time to rest and recharge. I arrived in Nekarot around noon and battled the heat and fatigue. Once I was out, I grabbed a big tree and fell asleep for an hour. From there, I went to Khan Be'erot, refilled ice and batteries, had a short meeting with other riders, and then went to the lookout.
After that came a long riding day with a collapsing saddle, navigation mistakes, unnecessary up and down (but fun, and even met a group of Ibex) at Ma'ale Abraham, low flying in the singles of the lookout and also in Yeroham's single, which were very satisfying, and then an Arava sleep at Yeroham Lake. I left early from Yeroham to make it to lunch and rest in Arad. Quickly reached Har Amasa and froze from the cold on its descents 😁. Yatir Forest was an experience with a crazy view of the country and abroad. I reached the forest before Metar around seven-thirty to sleep and head out again at midnight.

At midnight, I rode the Lehav single in the dark again, a fantastic experience!!! (I come from downhill, and it was my first time there 🤩🤩🤩) My shouts of joy must have been heard by Be'er Sheva... I flew by the railroad and arrived in Lachish at six-thirty in the morning to hunt some food in the grocery store and continue. Terrific views on the way to Beit Guvrin, the climbs of Park Britannia, and the flying in the descents. A short nap at Yad Razi'el near Netiv Halamed-He and up to the bar in the mountain.

At the bar in the mountain, I met Zevi, who looked shattered and tired. We talked a bit, and he found his bag and went on his way, and I left shortly after him. On the way, I met Yaron, and together, we rode to Tzova to sleep the night in a shelter from the rain. In the morning, we left, and I was pleased because we saw all the fantastic scenery from Tzova to Canada Park. Low flying on the trails along the way, a short dip in Ein Kfirah (I hid the bike and went down), rewarding climbs on Mount Ozerer, curses in Canada Single that always comes at the end of the track and then low flying again on the bike path to the finish point.
It was challenging and rewarding; I found in myself strengths I could not have imagined. Next year, aiming to complete 🙏"

Eyal Halperin,
Discover Israel Finisher

A bit about the event from my perspective... 😇
For me, a competitive bikepacking event inherently contains a contradiction in its very definition. For me, bikepacking is the ultimate field that elevates the hobby of riding into the realms of adventure and the ultimate connection with the terrain and nature. It's the farthest thing from competition and competitiveness.
However, they labeled the competition as a "tough and rewarding challenge"—a definition that gives me cold sweats and shakes my chakras. So, I said, "Let's do this," and found myself alongside a group of slender riders in tight tights, puffed-up bags on their bikes, a savvy look at the GPS, and a knife between their teeth on a Thursday morning.
My goals were to finish up to Modi'in and enjoy the journey—and by enjoying the journey, I don't mean riding at a "dead grandma pace" and arriving at Modi'in about when they're setting up for Discover 2025. Instead, I stepped out of my comfort zone, pushed myself, and tackled the challenge as best as possible, correctly balancing the dosages of pleasure and suffering and maintaining maximum optimism.
I planned to ride alone, at my own pace and zone—I even bought a simple Chinese radio from AliExpress, but two hours from the start, I found myself chatting with Avi (Kagan), and believe it or not, the conversation ended a little over five and a half days later in Modi'in—I swear I didn't even take the radio out of the bag once. 🤞
We rode at a fun pace day and night, laughing at every silliness, collecting experiences and friends, and we tried to encourage and cheer everyone we met (well, maybe except for the farmer to whom we left two "surprises" of fragrant and potent nature in his carob orchard 😬).
And optimism pays off. After a little more than five and a half days of riding and walking ("I am walking..."), we found ourselves last night at the finish line in Modi'in with a supportive group of good friends who came to cheer and celebrate.🥰
In summary, it was a bomb challenge that took the body and especially the soul to the backyard of the State of Israel, to the most beautiful and remote places that exist. There were challenging moments, but many more moments of pleasure, fun, and spiritual orgasm.
I want to thank my partner (well-known in public), Avi Kagan, who put up with me for almost six days and remained sane. Brother, a lot of our success in this crazy challenge is due to you.
To Aryeh and Gilad from the southern brigade, who managed to keep up with our pace (thanks to their long beer breaks😁), we met often along the journey and had a good time together.
To my bike – a custom build I assembled myself (fully handjob), it stood up to the journey with huge honor and delivered an incredible performance with zero issues! Not even a flat tire.
To every rider we met along the way (and there were few, as most were ahead of us 😂) – it was enjoyable to meet.

Na'ama Doron,
Discover Israel Finisher

How can one summarize the Discover experience?


I discovered so many things! About myself—about the marvelous things the body can do when the mind is in the right place, and the importance of listening to the body, the gut, and the feelings... calmly and peacefully.


And how satisfying it is to feel the crazy sensation of seeing the land flying by under your feet... a morning in Ramon Crater and the next day at the same hour in the Big Crater, Arad, and then Lachish? How did we manage so much?? There were endless challenging

moments and small moments of happiness and true wonder in the face of nature's forces.


About the other riders :) I discovered a fantastic group! Energetic, adventurous, wonderful, courageous, kind-hearted people who are always ready to lend a hand.


Thanks for the endless advice and encouragement. You are lovely, and I look forward to seeing you at the following events.

Avi Kagan,
Discover Israel Finisher

I finished with a big smile on my face and a taste for more, which in itself says it all...


I joined the ride to have fun and indeed, I did enjoy it. I can't say It wasn't hard, however, it's the kind of hard that people like us love. I have many moments etched in my mind of the connection to nature.

The last one is the rapid descent towards Netef with two gazelles running ahead of me, and I was actually closing the gap on them until I stopped because I didn't want to startle them... or another moment watching the desert in the last light of sunset from the Peak of the 'Katzra citadel.

I have many segments of fantastic riding in my mind, like in the Nahal Nekarot single track (yes, I know not everyone loved it). I have many moments of digging deep into myself within and transcending, like that moment in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere when I wake up all dew-soaked yet somehow manage to get ready for a new day as if nothing happened.

I have moments of pride in technical troubleshooting, as the two worms that cornered a snakebite in the front tire that was created during a fast descent after Ein Kobi or the repair and continued ride after the rear wheel spoke broke near Lachish.


I have many moments and a ton of appreciation for a friend, Eyal Halperin, who, although we weren't officially a pair, were definitely 'known in public,' maintaining high morale and enjoying the entire experience. Eyal, it was a great pleasure to ride alongside you.

I mainly came to take part in a fantastic community event with people who love what I love, and indeed, there were many joyful encounters with other riders, both those we only saw in Eilat at the restaurant or in the morning at the joint departure and of course with all 'the cool ones at 'the back of the bus' that I met during the ride. It's a pleasure to be part of this fantastic community indeed!


This is an opportunity to thank everyone who has played their part over the years in building this wonderful thing called Discover Israel, and of course, special thanks to Keren, who knows how to contain and balance her own, ( and ours ) owl. So after the thanks, with full intention to everyone.

Special thanks to the man behind this excellent community enterprise called Bikerz, whose pinnacle is the Discor event. The man who is a man of extremes loves nature and people and is a community entrepreneur by nature, signed on the motto of Bikerz, 100% support and 0% jealousy.

The man who always has time and attention for any question, big or small, the man who took it upon himself to promote and expand the bikepacking branch in every possible way. Thank you so much, Elad our owl. We are greatly enriched as a community by having you. This week, we also witnessed firsthand (what was, of course, self-evident) that, above all and foremost, you are an amazing father to your daughters.

And the moment you knew your daughter needed a dad on the scene, without thinking twice, you left everything and ran to her without hesitation.

There's no one like you, Elad, love you friend.

And in conclusion, only one question remains

Discover Israel 2025!

When does registration begin?

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