Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nov-05: In NC During Summer, Expect Bridge Re-destruction

Okay, so November 5th isn't Summer.
But newbie DaveG and I encountered two bridges undergoing re-destruction.

The title of this post is rather an homage to another North Carolinian's blog post from a few years ago.
If you don't know the author of the above linked blog post, let me just note this:
He writes quite well; I once noted that one of his posts looks like prose, but read like poetry.
(The third paragraph in the post linked-to above was prescient regarding this 210k perm ride.) 

Bridges being out on the "Egypt Mtn" 210k perm route is nothing new.
The first ever transit of EM, March-2012, went quite well.
But the second transit, April 29, 2012, revealed a major bridge outage situation.

In 2013, there was a set of two or three little creek bridges that were replaced;
Those were/are only a couple miles after the Sims Bridge over the Tar River,
But, apparently, I never blogged about those bridges.
Nor did I ever make a RWGPS map of the route used to go around those outages.

In 2014, third year of the existence of the "Egypt Mtn" perm, third year with bridge re-destruction

2015, no bridges on the EM route underwent re-destruction.
Seems rather odd.  LOL.

Prior to this early November ride, there had been no bridge outages on EM this year.
Actually, no bridge outages on any of my Raleigh perms and/or perm-pops. 
(Oops, make that until late in the year.)
The "Road to Hicksboro" had an important bridge-out in its first year.
The "Denny's Store Sortie" has had at least one bridge-out during its existence.
The "Bahama Beach" and my "Oxford" routes have a bridge out as I type this.  (Same bridge.)

The Lawrence Rd bridge affecting BB and "Oxford" was a planned replacement.
The MAIN bridge-out encountered on the Nov-05 EM ride seems to be
The result of too much rain resulting from the passage of Hurricane Matthew.
[I've heard of some additional bridges near Raleigh that were put out because of Matthew; 
I hadn't realized that we had had enough rain near Raleigh from Matthew to cause problems. 
And however one might look at the issue, it is the folks that live in or near 
Lumberton that are living, every day, perhaps every minute of every day, 
The difficult results of Matthew.]  


Well, that certainly is a long introduction / background essay.
Especially as I don't have that much to write type regarding the actual ride.

DaveG, RUSA #11611, contacted me out of the blue to ride my "Egypt Mtn" route,
On a Saturday that I had off from work, so
We arranged to ride together.

Dave lives on the southeast side of Raleigh,
And most cyclists from down there tend to ride further south and east,
In order to get to flatter and flatter terrain.

I inquired of Dave's cycling history.
He had taken up cycling in early 2015,
And had ridden five (5) centuries.
One on the Outer Banks, i.e., FLAT (but possibly with headwinds for half the ride).
Two had been back-to-back MS-150 centuries centered on New Bern, NC;
I.e., FLAT.
One had been the Heritage Century that starts/ends in Hillsborough, NC.
That one might have been hillier than "Egypt Mtn."

Based on Dave's reported avg pace while in-motion on those centuries,
I was confident he was faster than me,
And that he'd have no difficulties doing Egypt Mtn. 

We met at the start, exchanged some paperwork, and started (perhaps a few minutes late).

The ride was rather non-descript for the first 45 or so miles.
I don't even recall passing the "Llama House."
I usually count the number of visible llamas / alpacas.
And I almost certainly point the out to anyone new to the course.
But I think I may well have neglected that route-owner "duty" on this ride. 
I was faster on declines; Dave was faster on inclines.

The owner-clerk was not on duty at the Epsom control.
The bench outside was not occupied.
But the inside had several locals, most of whom seemed wary of us cyclists.
I rather concluded that they were regulars, but not regulars used to seeing us cyclists.
There are regulars at Epsom that greet us, and
At least one that inquires about Lynn every time he sees us.
But these guys did not fit that category of Epsom regulars.
I decided to act as if they did recognize and welcome us,
Engaging in some conversation, well, chatting would be a better description.
I'm not sure if they came around to thinking of us as regular people,
That are distinguished only by riding our bicycles on overly long rides,
Or not.
The did urge us to be careful as we left.
It is my opinion, and I'll be sticking to it, that "be careful" is the first step
Toward general acceptance.
Ambassador duty fulfilled.

Anyway, the first 45 or so miles were otherwise non-descript.
Then, at the turn at Middleburg,
Road Closed
Bridge Out
It's only half or three-quarters of a flat mile to the bridge,
Let's go see if it is really OUT, or only out for cars.
If it is OUT, we'll have to use US-1 / 158 until we can cut over on another road.
[I wasn't sure how far we'd have to ride on US-1 / 158, 
I don't use a GPS unit, nor do I have a smart-dumb-phone. 
Dave had a smart phone; 
But I wouldn't have bothered to look at it.

I would have had us go north on US-1 / 158. 
Map investigation subsequent to the ride revealed that going south is a better detour.]  

The work on the bridge over I-85 appeared to be nearly complete.
Needing only the smooth finish layers of the surface.
We walked our bikes and ourselves across, and continued on course.

It must have been an overcast day,
As I do not recall mentioning to Dave that my favorite part of the course
Is the ten miles from Drewry to Warrenton.

I do recall some conversation regarding the color of the house for the Info Control.
Maybe that distracted me from mentioning "my favorite section."

Lunch at the Subway in Warrenton was nothing special.
I prefer eating at the Subway to eating at the Hardee's,
But the reaction from the Hardee's customers is preferable.
Someone or ones are sure to be amazed at our goal for the day,
Not so much at the Subway.

Returning to the course from the Subway, we were greeted with
Road Closed 
Bridge Out 
Well, it has to be the bridge over the creek,
The bridge between the long decline and long incline.
It's only a couple miles
The bridge will likely be okay for us.

It wasn't.
Not so much "Bridge Closed" as BRIDGE GONE !!  [Thanks to Dave for this photo.  The two I snapped with my flip-phone did not come out nearly as well.]
Well, says I, we have to go all the way back up to Warrenton,
Then take US-401 S until we get to Tower Road,
Where we'll be back on course.

This seems a good place to insert the link to the RWGPS map for the intended course.
The link to the RWGPS map for the course we actually rode.
And, most interestingly, the link to Dave's Strava, with a Google-Earth-like presentation.
[I hope that last link works.]

A couple comments regarding Dave's Strava and info contained thereon:

After we got back on course, nothing much special happened.
Dave may have different thoughts on that,
After all it was his first rando ride.

[As previously noted on FB, Dave would have finished much earlier if not for me.]