But first, let me share my latest purchase – a pair of Shimano shoes to replace my Bontragers that served me faithfully for two years before finally snapping a strap. I purchased the shoes online – a dangerous practice that I hope I won’t regret. I like the way the shoes look and they feel quite nice when I first put them on. Unfortunately, I developed a very painful hot spot on my right foot. This is common for me but the intensity of the pain was not. Lets hope a slight adjustment in the cleat and more miles on the bike (and less running) will solve the problem.
So back to the ride. The weather was a little cool and there was a stiff breeze to contend with, but my pace was a crisp 16.5 mph all the same. The shoes must make me faster, or perhaps it was my new white socks. Clearly, I should have gone to white a long time ago. Then again, it was only two weeks after I switched to white handlebar tape that I wrecked my Trek 2.1. Perhaps white only works on your person, not your machine. These things are always difficult to sort out.
After 22 miles, I reached my destination, a one lane bridge over the railroad on the outskirts of Nokesville:
I’ve been over this bridge a few times. In preparation for this blog post, I did a little research on the bridge and discovered it is something of a local landmark. Built for use by locomotives in 1882 by the Keystone Bridge Company out of Pittsburgh, the wrought iron construction and wood planks are definitely unique. Within twenty years of its construction, trains had grown in size to the point where the bridge could no longer handle the load and it was converted for use as a highway bridge. In 1977, it was placed on the National Historic Register and is considered to be one of the more significant landmarks around Nokesville, which may say something about Nokesville that its residents would not appreciate.
The bridge is in serious need of repair – shockingly serious, really. Much of the metal is corroded and the deck’s wooden planks in such poor condition that the bridge was briefly closed in 2007. The Virginia Department of Transportation lists it as “structurally deficient” and gives it a grade of 47 (out of 100) for a health rating and 24.3 (out of 100) in a sufficiency rating. I don’t know much about bridge ratings, but those numbers can’t be good for the 2,200 cars which cross it every day.
Norfolk Southern Railroad owns the bridge and wants to move it to another location so larger trains can use the rails but the residents wouldn’t hear of it. The bridge was patched together and the issue kicked down the road until this year, when VDOT decided to spend $4.6 million refurbishing the bridge and building a second single lane bridge next to it. That should be an interesting project to watch unfold.