Header widget area left
Header widget area right

Welcome to the “HLC”

The first self-supported mountain bike race from the north to the south of Israel across the historical landscapes of the Holy Land.

Bring your bike and gear and ride, self-supported, as fast as you can to the Red Sea.

2018 April 26th, 7:00am. Ride on!

(Photos Credit – Nicholas Carman)

The Route

We didn’t choose the shortest route nor the quickest from Mt. Hermon in the North to Eilat, the southernmost point in Israel, but we did choose the route that will take you through the historical places and landscapes that make our country so beautiful and special.

It will be a long ride  from Mt. Hermon, the highest mountain in Israel to Eilat riding through the Golan Hights, Sea of Galilee, Galilee mountains, the evergreen Mt. Carmel, Coastal Plain leading to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Negev and Arava deserts, and finally the Eilat mountains, ending at the shores of the Red Sea.

With total of 1,461km and elevation gain of over 20,000m it is not going to be an easy ride. The route passes along gravel roads, single tracks and ancient roman roads. This route is like no other; rough, painful and challenging but also rewarding and FUN.

In planning the route we tried to cover all the different landscapes and panoramas of Israel. Riding the Holy Land Challenge is a great way to connect to this beautiful country.

By the time you reach Eilat…you will have experienced the myriad sights, sounds, smells, tastes and vision of this incredibly historic and ultramodern country – Israel.

Starting with 2016, the HLC challenge will be available in two options;
1. HLC1400 – Full length ending in Eilat
2. HLC700 – Half length ending in Jerusalem

HLC Holyland MTB Challenge

The Spirit

The self-supported spirit is the key and fundamental code the HLC strives to root as part of its DNA. It is this code among riders that will make this event special in the future along with the magical route.

We feel we want to stress the message that even though the HLC is a bikepacking race, the racing element of it is the theme that keeps the rider pushing him/her self to the limit.

The most important element of the event is the JOURNEY – the epic experience one will go through while riding the HLC. The journey starts by meeting the underlined below code of conduct;
1. Riding the entire route; no shortcuts or variation of the route
2. Self supported; no angel intervention, family or bystanders
3. Trying to keep external intervention to a minimum; minimum facebook or other social media
4. Demonstrate brotherhood to fellow riders in need; remember its not only about the race
5. Respect Nature and Parks Authority rules; don’t ride at night where it’s prohibited

The HLC team does not want to monitor or police the codes but will do so when necessary to maintain the spirit of the event.

There is nothing to win or lose in this event just personal experience and the sense of achievement from completing such a challenging ride. Take it as a break from day to day life, go out to the wilderness and experience the feeling of being free from it all.

Ride in your style, enjoy and embrace every simple moment and leave all behind. To keep the event a truly bikepacking experience, the HLC requires each rider to bivy at least 50% of the nights in the wild and out of urban and civilized areas.

In order to keep the event in a “racing” spirit and not “sightseeing” touring like style; beginning with HLC 2015 a cut-off period of 11 days will be implemented. All riders wishing to become “finishers” of the HLC must do so within 11 days after which the trackleaders HLC tracking system will go offline.

Registration for the HLC

There is no entry fee and absolutely no support – you are on your own!

The HLC challenge is is not an organized event, it’s simply a group of riders riding the same route at the same time – it is based on our love of riding and sharing experiences.

We kindly ask you to fill out the form to help us predict how many riders are going to attend. In addition, we will send email updates from time to time to all those who sent us LOI.

The Files

GPS Data

The below links include the following files in 2 popular formats:

1. Complete track file referred to as “FULL”

2. Breakdown of the track into 4 files listed 1-4, limited to 8,000 point each

3. POI file named “HLC-POI” containing the entire POI sheet as waypoints

Download links per Device type

Garmin  – GPX format

TWONav – TRK format

Services along the trail – POI

In the the following link you will find a spreadsheet including all the POI along the route marked with available resources: water, food, bike service shops and possible sleeping spots. Do note that most of these locations have certain opening hours, so they may be open when you actually get to them!

POI file download

Maps

A deck of maps was created including the entire route and the POI along the route. The purpose of these maps is to provide additional high level orientation and it should be used for planning purposes only. Please note – it is not for navigation purposes.

Map deck download

Information

Have a question? Not sure about anything? Do you need additional information?
Please feel free to send us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Our emails is  holylandmtbchallenge@gmail.com.

Facebook group of the event here , if you have any question, comment or you want to share with us your thoughts, feel free to visit us.
Don’t be afraid if you see “Hebrew” we will be glad to respond in English…

The local MTB community welcomes overseas riders and is looking forward to helping with accommodations, planning the stay, and things to do before and after the challenge. Keep the dialogue open at the FB group!

Getting to Majdal Shams

Assuming you are arriving by air (not that you have any other option…) you will be landing at Ben-Gurion airport which is not far from Tel Aviv. You are heading to the starting line located at Majdal Shams. A lovely Druze town where you can relax and enjoy the lovely scenery and the great local cuisine. It is a long ride that covers quite a long journey, relax and take your time as you will pass along some sections of the route of the HLC.
From the airport the best way to get to Migdal Shams (note – in some cases spelled “Majdal Shams” on the schedules) is the following:
1. From “Ben Gurion Airport” take a bus to “Tel Aviv Central bus station” – estimated travel time 30 min
2. From “Tel Aviv Central bus station” take a bus “Eged 845” to “Kiryat Shmona” – estimated travel time 3:30 hours
3. From “Kiryat Shmona” you will need to change bus, take “Line Route 58 Golan” to Migdal Shams – estimated travel time 30 min

Check here for schedule
Note – does not include transfer time between busses

Returning from Eilat to Tel Aviv

Once you have arrived to Eilat relax and start planning the way out to the airport or to whatever your destination might be. You may want to consider staying couple of days in Eilat or just spend the time in Tel Aviv.
You have two options to return to Tel Aviv:
1. Flight – scheduled daily flights leave Eilat towards “Tel Aviv Sde Dov” located within Tel Aviv city, you went by it when riding this section or “Tel Aviv Ben Gurion” if you have a connection flight to catch. Check here for schedule for Arkia Airlines or schedule for Israir Airlines
2. Bus – you have many daily busses leaving Eilat towards Eilat, check here for schedule
While there are no additional charges taking your bike on the bus, you may have to pay additional charges if you choose to fly.

Public Transportation

Getting to Majdal Shams

Assuming you are arriving by air (not that you have any other option…) you will be landing at Ben-Gurion airport which is not far from Tel Aviv. You are heading to the starting line located at Majdal Shams. A lovely Druze town where you can relax and enjoy the lovely scenery and the great local cuisine. It is a long ride that covers quite a long journey, relax and take your time as you will pass along some sections of the route of the HLC.
From the airport the best way to get to Migdal Shams (note – in some cases spelled “Majdal Shams” on the schedules) is the following:
1. From “Ben Gurion Airport” take a bus to “Tel Aviv Central bus station” – estimated travel time 30 min
2. From “Tel Aviv Central bus station” take a bus “Eged 845” to “Kiryat Shmona” – estimated travel time 3:30 hours
3. From “Kiryat Shmona” you will need to change bus, take “Line Route 58 Golan” to Migdal Shams – estimated travel time 30 min

Check here for schedule
Note – does not include transfer time between busses

Returning from Eilat to Tel Aviv

Once you have arrived to Eilat relax and start planning the way out to the airport or to whatever your destination might be. You may want to consider staying couple of days in Eilat or just spend the time in Tel Aviv.
You have two options to return to Tel Aviv:
1. Flight – scheduled daily flights leave Eilat towards “Tel Aviv Sde Dov” located within Tel Aviv city, you went by it when riding this section or “Tel Aviv Ben Gurion” if you have a connection flight to catch. Check here for schedule for Arkia Airlines or schedule for Israir Airlines
2. Bus – you have many daily busses leaving Eilat towards Eilat, check here for schedule
While there are no additional charges taking your bike on the bus, you may have to pay additional charges if you choose to fly.

Majdal Shams

2018 LOI List

HLC Experience

Max Morris (Arizona, US)

Tracking

Thank you Nicholas Carman for the lovely pictures and Meir Bookai for our unique and special HLC Logo.