BVA Day Four

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Long day today.

Had an excellent dinner at a place Jim, as a Richmond native, knows from long ago: the Tavern at Triangle. It’s near the U of Richmond, and is a very “neighborhood” type of place. I had an enormous steak and Jim had soft shelled crabs, while Jack had a seafood trio over risotto with spinach. They also had Stella Artois on draft, and of course, I enjoyed one mightily. We watched the kickoff and beginning few minutes of the US v. Portugal World Cup Soccer game before we felt we had to leave for the hour drive back to Pocahontas.

For some reason, tent city was extraordinarily loud nearly all night. I not only had trouble falling asleep but staying asleep. Then it got cold.

Smart us, we knew it was going to be in the 90s and higher, so we brought only sheets to sleep under and not one blanket or throw. I froze much of the night, until I made the effort to fetch my rain coat and hood, housed outside the tent in my pannier.

Awoke groggy and we began to break camp. Somehow, I was certain I had grabbed my iPhone and put it in my pannier but once we were ready to head off to breakfast, I couldn’t find it anywhere. We’d already delivered the bags to the pickup area, but they had not yet been loaded onto the truck so I went through all our stuff and finally found it, packed up with the tent. Go figger. I would have bet you money that I’d put it in the pannier.

So we didn’t leave for our 59 mile ride until close to 8:30. Many — actually, most — of the campers and riders were well gone and tent city looked nothing like it had when we shut our eyes anticipating the sleep that never came last night.

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Everyone was riding the same route down to just outside Williamsburg. Most everyone registered for Bike Virginia made it there we’ll before I did. But I really had a very fine trip with the notable exception of the last 12-ish miles, in similar fashion and for similar reasons that I felt the same on Friday during the final throes of the first nonstop 60 miles in the saddle I’d endured since last September.

It was still cool, and just lovely for our ride to Petersburg. We rode through Virginia State University, with a beautiful campus. Then it got rather urban, and the traffic picked up, about 10AM, as we approached the first rest stop, only 18 miles into the ride. We rode through a neighborhood on the upswing, as you could clearly see a line of demarcation between the refurbished, rejuvenated homes and those either being worked on or still needing some TLC. Then we got into old town Petersburg, which the residents and businesses are working hard to revitalize. It was an absolutely splendid rest stop with an excellent band, right next door to the (closed) arts center. It was very charming, and a surprise for someone unfamiliar with Petersburg. The organizers had a big canvas on the stage that they asked us all to sign and say where we were from. It was fun.

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Seems all the continuations after rest stops today headed straight uphill out of the park or wherever. That’s always a difficult way to re-start a ride. But on and uphill to Hopewell. I did have an interesting event en route: a fellow rider, with skinny tires and ropey calves rode past me and said, “I’ve got to tell you, you look so comfortable riding today.” Made my day.

Getting out of Petersburg was very difficult with all the urban traffic and lights and left turns across impatient drivers. And, it was beginning to get really hot, and it stayed sunny all day. But we made it and had a nice dolly through the flatlands until we reached the outskirts of Hopewell, where we found, of all things, a bike lane!

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Hopewell also was full of Monday morning traffic, and the “prime” rest stop was in downtown Hopewell, at Crystal Lake Park. We again enjoyed tomato sandwiches that we made ourselves (I refrained from the excellent garlic sauce, because last time it shadowed me far too long). They also served ice cream floats, with either root beer over vanilla or orange soda over orange sherbet, but I had only vanilla ice cream. Yum!

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On the road again for 20 miles to the courthouse in Charles City County for a quick, Gatorade and banana rest stop. Straight out of Hopewell, we went from route 10 to route 5, and up, up, up over the Hopewell Bridge. I seem to have gotten the day of our ferry ride wrong when I reported yesterday about crossing the James, as we crossed via the Hopewell bridge today, and our ferry ride to cross the river is scheduled for tomorrow.

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There is a bike path under construction that is intended to link Richmond to Williamsburg that they’re calling the Capital Bikeway. It is supposed to run the length of “Historic Route Five.” It did, indeed, keep us off Narrow Rt 5 for a time. But not long enough to keep the heavy trucks and impatient sedan-drivers from trying to kill us all. Those last 12 miles after the short stop at Charles City County Courthouse were really bad. There would be sections of the Bikeway that would appear completed and ride-ready, but then a bridge or a paved surface or a right of way would simply be gone and you’d have to re-join Rt 5, which increased your chances of being run over.

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Finally the Bikeway resolved just on the west side of the Chickahominy River bridge, and included a separate pathway the entire way over and across for just us. Happily, the camp ground was just at the end of the bridge.

Not only was I out of juice, but my iPhone was as well, so I couldn’t even take a photo of the bridge or the view from on top of it. I hope I can get that shot on Wednesday, when we head back up Rt 5 to head back to the cars. Yay for more endurance trials along Rt 5.

Put my feet up and my head down at the tent site (Jack made it earlier than either Jim or I so he was gentlemanly enough to set up the tent without my help), charged up some devices and had a pretty good meal with some really good live music to top off the day. A shower made a new woman out of me, and now I have to upload this if I can. G’night, y’all.
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