Saturday, August 23, 2014
Tappahanock, VA to Newport News VA. ( July 1st)
67.72 miles in 5:53.....After 119 miles yesterday, I had an easy, shorter, day planned, and it turned out that way, but not without some complications. My legs actually started out feeling pretty good. Ice is a wonderful thing. The ride out of Tappahanock quickly became mind numbingly boring. I have done it before, so there were few surprises, just pounding out the miles with little to look at that I was interested in. US17 continued to alternate sections of nice shoulder, with sections of no shoulder, seemingly in random fashion. As traffic picked up near Gloucester (pronounced Glowster) Court House, there were no shoulders when I needed them most. Towns of Gloucester and Gloucester Point all ran together with Gloucester Court House, beginning the Newport News Metro Area, and mind numbing boredom quickly turned to death defying bike riding. There really were no problems, but I really rode on heightened alertness through the entire area.
I crossed the York River, which was pretty big, into Yorktown, right past the historical Victory Center, and the GPS then got me off of the main road, but it was still busy in places. I ended up on US 60 somehow, and I came upon a cheap motel before I really intended to, and decided to park it for the day. A headwind and some serious heat and humidity was taking its toll on tired legs. Thank goodness I did. I had intended to head right into downtown Newport News, and cross the massive James River on US 17, just like I did previously. As I rested at the motel, I checked the course with my google maps, and it told me that bikes were NOT ALLOWED on the James River Bridge, and there was only one way for a biker to get across, and it involved much extra mileage, and backtracking for a few miles. If I would have gone into Newport News to get a room, it would have been more expensive, and I would have had to backtrack every additional mile that I would have ridden. It occurred to me as I thought about it, that when I rode the James River Bridge last time, it was on a Sunday afternoon, so traffic was mild as I went through town and across the bridge. The bridge was difficult because it was a mile or so of metal grate, with big grate openings. As I was riding across, I now remember a guy pulling along side me and offering me a ride, because I wasn't allowed to ride across. Of course I didn't take the ride, and continued across the bridge. Ignorance was bliss that time, and it saved me a lot of miles. My other option would have been to catch a bus across the James River Bridge, but that would have required battling weekday traffic, so I decided to follow GPS directions, fully knowing that a real adventure might ensue.
I spent the evening relaxing at the pool, icing my quads, walking to a Chinese take out for supper, and watching forecasts of a potential hurricane on the Outer Banks, on the day I'm probably going to arrive, so plans are WAY up in the air right now. We shall see how far I get tomorrow with this little GPS reroute, then see how the hurricane is forecasting, and make some decisions.