The forecasts have been for rain all along the East Coast through next Monday. I don’t mind it too much if it isn’t cold and if it isn’t so heavy that it impairs vision. The bigger issue is with roads that have no shoulders or disappearing shoulders and drivers who don’t want to move over, of which there are some. While most have been considerate, and some extremely so, some I would like to throw something at.
July 22, Sunday (Alexandria, V to Fredericksburg):
Just a very few miles in I had problems with Google Maps’ bicycle route. When it had me retrace a portion of the route for the third time I ended it and went to the car route, “no highways.” I had to text Alejandra to figure out how to find the no highways option but, as usual, she came through for me.
While Google might consider the route it gave me to have no highways, there was one stretch that felt very much like one of our freeways. Actually, freeways usually aren’t too bad because they have wide, typically maintained shoulders. The problem comes with the on and off ramps. Sometimes I came to a complete stop in the triangle between the lane and the ramp to let cars pass me before I would move over. I was glad to take the first available exit even though I wasn’t thrilled by a 20+ mile stretch of road that had traffic but no dependable shoulder (meaning that the lane’s surface might be so broken up in places that a road bike has to avoid it – i.e., pull out into the lane – or the shoulder just goes away which also means that I have to move over into the lane, a scary proposition if cars are coming. Occasionally I would stop then, too, to wait for a break in traffic so that I could get started and then move over and claim the far right lane for myself. I have found that on a 4 lane road cars don’t come as close if I ride in the middle of the right lane than when I ride at the right edge of the lane. Actually, I learned that from riding a motorcycle but it also holds true for a bike.
There was a stretch of some pretty good rain. Since I didn’t have the rain shoe covers on – because they were still wet from the day before and because it wasn’t raining when I started in the morning – I stopped to devise some temporary covers because wet shoes are difficult to dry out. I have posted a photo that shows my solution.
None of the riding was rural, though there was still green, and as mentioned above, some of the riding made me uncomfortable because of the proximity of some of the passing cars.
The ride was 61 miles and about 3,600 feet of climb. I say “about” because my computer was off for about 15 miles and I assumed that I climbed as much per mile for that time as I did for the rest of the ride though actually the “lost” 15 miles had more ups and downs than the ride generally (what I am saying is that I think 3,600′ is an under estimation).
We ate at Cowboy Jack’s. I had a Ruben and a bowl of terrific chili and beans – terrific for me because of the top layer of melted, crusted cheese with sour cream on top – and Ale had that double deck burger. No, she didn’t eat all of it for dinner, ½ went for today’s lunch.
At night, while discussing the next day’s anticipated rain, we heard as loud a thunder clap as I have heard. It was actually kind of scary.
I started this ride with my shoe covers but no rain jacket. No jacket primarily because it gets too hot and the rain isn’t cold. It turned out that despite the forecast, there wasn’t really any rain today. However, I ended up as drenched as if there had been. As if there had been A LOT of rain. But it was all due to the 75%+ humidity. When I stopped, streams of drops would fall from my helmet’s head band. And when I was finished, my jersey was soaked.
The main feature of today’s ride that I remember is the constant traffic. And my second flat of this ride. Although it certainly wasn’t rural’ there was a lot of green on our approach to Richmond.
Today was 60 miles and 2,329 feet of climbing. It is getting flatter. According to Google, my climbing will be basically finished by the time we reach Clinton, North Carolina, which is about 265 miles from here. Then it gets really flat.
Tonight’s dinner was BBQ. I got beef ribs and Ale got a beef sandwich. Between the food and going to see the current movie version of Mamma Mia, I think I enjoyed the evening more than Ale did.
Despite saying that the rain isn’t too bad, I hope that tomorrow’s rain forecast turns out like today’s. Especially because there are also flood warnings.
Good night, all,