Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Cooper River Bridge: Continued

Above: The Beach at The Isle of Palms.

Labor Day, Monday, September 4th. Had to ride over the Cooper River Bridge again. Not just because it is there, but because some of the best cycling routes in the area are on the other side of the bridge.

The ride was not without incident; between North Charleston and the bridge it started to rain. I encountered some railroad tracks running at 45 degrees to the road. I swung out wide then turned to cross the tracks at a right angle; at the last second I realized I was heading for a large pothole along side the track.

I swerved to avoid it which put me at an angle to the tracks again. The wet steel tracks slicker than a couple of snakes in a bucket of snot, and down I went. Luckily my hip and my elbow broke my fall and the bike was undamaged. I always find you never bleed too long and wounds heal quickly, but scars on paint are for ever.

By the time I got to the bridge it had stopped raining and it was fairly quiet. I guess the threatening weather had kept most cyclists and runners indoors. I took the gradual climb easily this time and didn’t feel over geared like the week before.

Once over the bridge I took Coleman Blvd. to Rifle Range Road and over to the IOP Connector. For those who don’t know this area IOP stands for ‘Isle of Palms.’ To me IOP Connector always sounds like something that belongs on a computer; as in “My printer’s not working, I have to get to Radio Shack and buy a new IOP Connector.”

The connector road is nice; wide with a shoulder to ride on. The passing traffic created a back-draft that gave me a boost and I found myself flying along at a good pace, and then another little steep but short climb over a bridge crossing over to the Island. Once on the Isle of Palms I turned right to head back towards home, and the skies opened up again.

There was no shelter and I got pretty wet, but eventually I pulled under a canopy outside a motel; I waited for the rain to abate which it eventually did. I rode about a hundred yards further and the road was bone dry and the sun was shining. I crossed over to Sullivan’s Island and people fishing from the bridge were oblivious to the rain a couple of hundred yards back down the road.

Another 5 or 6 miles and I was back to the Cooper River Bridge again. By now I had quite a few miles in my legs and this time I suffered on the climb. I wanted to quit so bad but I was so near the top I just couldn’t; so just gritted my teeth and struggled on. Of course once at the top I was glad I didn’t quit.

The ride the rest of the way should have been uneventful except I took a wrong turn somewhere in North Charleston and went about six miles out of my way. Unfamiliar territory told me I was on the wrong road but streets were deserted and there was no one to ask.

I passed a little biker bar and a guy on a Harley was about to leave; I stopped and asked him the way to Rivers Avenue. He told me to turn around, ride back to a light and make a right. I rode back at least three miles, turned at the light and then knew exactly where I was; I was in the old Naval Shipyard area. From there it was back over the Ashley River and an easy shot home.

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