I’ve been reviewing where my navigation skills let me down during last weekend’s ride. As a retired Army Officer, land navigation is a point of honor for me (Not for the guys today, however. They just use their GPS systems. Where’s the glory in that? Pffft!) and I was bothered that I completely misread my map on Tenerife Road. After completing a thorough analysis, I am pleased to report that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my ability to read maps. However the same cannot be said of mapmyride.com’s ability to create them.
When planning my rides, I often use a website called www.mapmyrun.com. It’s really user-friendly and allows you to plot a course on a street map. Like other map sites such as Mapblast and Mapquest, mapmyrun allows you to zoom in/out and see satellite imagery in addition to traditional maps. You can get elevation data and all sorts of good info for your prospective route. Sadly, all this means little if the information it gives you is flat-out wrong.
Check out the mapmyrun depiction of Tenerife Road. See how nice and unbroken it is? Please pay particular attention to the portion of the road circled in red.
Now here is a depiction of the route taken from MapQuest. Again, I draw your attention to the red circle. See any difference?
Not cool, man. Not cool. It seems that some time after the Founding Fathers of Catlett, VA, built Tenerife Road somebody decided that it was no longer needed and they destroyed it. How often does something like that happen? Part of the road is now a local farmer’s driveway (which I rode on) and part of it was simply torn up. You can see faint remnants of the road in this satellite imagery, provided by MapQuest:
Crazy stuff. I am now forced to confront the possibility that every new route I create on mapmyrun contains fundamentally flawed data which could result in miles of wasted riding time, being chased by ravenous animals for no good reason, or both. The site is so good I will probably keep using it, but an occasional spot check of the back roads is probably in order!