We’ve been waiting for this moment when we finish and publish the routes. We frequently use "excitement" or "proud to reveal" to describe this moment, but this time it is very emotional for us - we are excited and proud to reveal the 2021 routes! In this Galilee edition we changed the routes almost completely. This time, we tried to fulfill many fantasies and with an extraordinary cooperation from the local authorities and other friends in the area we were able to fulfil them almost entirely! Led by the Matte Asher regional council, and with the great partnership with the Akko municipality, Western Galilee Cluster, and the Galilee spirit of the Treasure of the Galilee project from Raya Strauss. Apparently the Galilee spirit gave us the strong tail wind that we so much needed.
We really want to cherish and thank our old and new partners, who stepped up beyond expectations: KKL-JNF became part of the steering crew and together we completed the routes planning. Hand in hand we opened new trails and single tracks and fixed and replanned old single tracks for the Epic. KKL-JNF you are truly awesome, we are very grateful!
The general outline of the routes stayed the same as in previous years: A prologue and 3 stages with some differences in difficulty and length between and during the days. Form a birds eye view: The prologue is a classic and flat 19 KM route. Stage 1 will be an easier and more gentle start than the years before, but not too gentle. Don't you worry, the Friday route will suck all your leftover watts in your legs which were left out of the less difficult 1st stage. Friday is the queen stage, some will say the evil queen from the fairytales, but we love it the most! Real epic stage, pure breed, which has it all. A classic Saturday with all the indulging trails the area has to offer.
Prologue Distance – 19 KM Climbing – 60 m Cut off time – 2 Hours This year the prologue underwent a facelift with several beauty salon treatments. We abandoned the orchard trails (In which we will "spend" enough time in other days) for the stunning beach strip, and the visit in the old city of Akko, inside monuments that may cause some jaw drops. With overwhelming beauty, you will ride through places that normally you would have to buy tickets for and you won't stop taking pictures. Starting from the race village, riders will head towards the costal strip towards south until the northern promenade, and from there directly inside the heart of the old city of Akko. In only few kilometers the riders will experience a pure urban experience in amazing historical sites. The "gourmet sauce" will include entering the old prison, into the cellars of the Knights' Halls, straight to the well-groomed piazza. From there to the eastern wall and the constructed moat. Try to leave enough oxygen in your brain to be able to absorbs the treasures that you will pass through. From there we head back to the promenade, the beach strip and back to the finish line in the village.
Stage 1: Distance – 71 KM Climbing – 980m Cut off time – 7.5 Hours The 1st stage will be an easy landing, an easy one compared with what’s to come. Please don't get too comfortable… A flat start from the race village will take the riders to the first single track of the day, still more or less at sea level. This part will separate the field before starting to steadily accumulate height which will come to an end at KM 35. Those 35 KM will include open 4X4 roads, a new single track which was built especially for us, an old single track which we undusted, and the highlight of the climb - a new single track and a renewed one for all of us which at 180 BPM we think is magical. It is mostly shaded which is unusual for Israel, in such a way that you don't see the sky, the floor is covered with a mosaic of yellow, brown and orange leaves, which helps you go into quiet a meditative state and get in the zone. It is also combined with a little bit of downhill and descent so we can earn some more climbing later and justify the amazing and refreshing downhill ahead. We will then enter one of the nicest nature reserve Israel has to offer. We won't reveal where and what but just say it will be "foreign land" for most in the Western Galilee.
From there, the route marking will take the riders to a very loose uphill single track, that will force everyone to stay focused on the effort. Unfortunately, and with great regret, it might happen that after the pleasure of the long downhill, the riders will have to tackle a phenomenon that some of us are familiar with, in hebrew we call it "Stopping legs/post-break legs". Open brackets ("Stopping legs is a known feeling of “concrete” legs combined with a burning sensation in the lower limbs. All of a sudden, the source of your pride, those shaped, shaved, glowing from sweat, dusty legs, like Spartacus’s forehead back from the battle, those legs, that one glance at them makes you feel what parents feel after their child is getting the Dean's list, those legs that glance at you back with a charming look that opens up your heart. Those same legs, are just hanging there like dead weight, like the a pair of socks hanging from a laundry rope, just turning into blocks! close brackets) Hopefully after the first half of the loose single track, the riders will forget the "Stopping legs" and will continue to the tough part, needing a strong grip of the handlebar. From there, choosing the right path for the last flat part through the orchards, will help the riders pass through the open farm roads, to the race village, for the finish of the 1st stage of the 2021 Western Galilee edition.
Stage 2: Distance – 120.5 KM Climbing – 1450 m Cut off time – 10.5 Hours The queen stage, the longest in our history! We packed it all into one stage. Partly fast and tactic, partly flowing through technical sections, combines drafting abilities, road skills, and diverse single tracks. This day requires the ability to handle long distances, exhaustion and technique. Creating collaboration between teams and within. In the eyes of our route planners, this might be the dream stage. It requires a successful partnership and a good team work, and is most probably between the 3 top stages of all times - the coolest, the most fun, hard, long, fast, versatile and rewarding route there ever was. In this stage we will ride the candy store of mountain biking in the Galilee area, we will open it up wide and relish it like chocolates, marzipan, candy and pastries. All this sweet may be too sweet for some to finish all the candy drawer. With smart work the 30 KM of quite simple flat wide farm roads, which won’t require too much, can be a thrilling and enjoyable experience across very fast roads. Riders must watch out for a few bottlenecks, apart from the dust, the sharp turns, and the fast pace that the leaders will dictate – This section will most likely cause the separation into small group formations that are very typical to epic trails like this. After 11 KM, a narrow crossing under a road will be an opportunity to regather the riders and give the option to get together again, but from past experience, this is also the point you can lose your partner. From there to 4X4 roads on the edge of river canals and farm roads, and after 29 KM, the riders will enter a few fabulous and flowing singles tracks. This will lead riders to where they started the round only the Garmin will show 89KM. Back in the opposite direction of where we started in the morning, riders will find that trails look completely different back to the race village, ending up in the finish line of the longest stage in Epic history.
Distance - 72 KM
Climbing 750 m
Cut off time - 6.5 Hours
Dessert! Icing on the cake! Last but not least! We kept the good to the end! All the clichés are right for this last stage.
We decided to call it the Princess Stage, beautiful, spoiled smart and sassy filling the heart with energy, happiness and joy.
A flat start northward between avocado and banana plantations will take the riders to one of the most beautiful coastal strips existed, and from there, with a short climb to a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea.
A happy farewell from the asphalt will lead the riders to gravel roads and to the entrance of a magnificent and luxurious single tracks sequence genius built with steep slopes that will test what is left in the riders' legs.
Low roller coaster tracks will compensate for any sore muscle, all of which will be the main course of the last stage of Bara Epic Israel.
Exciting, historical and hysterical, the hair is rising.
Good luck to all of us, safe and effective training!
At your service is the Bara Epic Israel team.