Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wrestling with The Slut.....

No, it's not this - get your minds out of the gutter!


Had a two hour ride scheduled this morning and decided to do what I call the "Two Bridge Ride" - starting in Nags Head, NC; riding over the Washington Baum Bridge; riding across Roanoke Island; ride over the William B. Umstead Bridge: a short distance through Mann's Harbor and then turn around and do the same route in reverse.

It was about 37 degrees and breezy when I set out, so I dressed warmly and boy was I pleased that I did!   All was fine as I crossed the causeway and the Washington Baum Bridge, but I could feel the wind really starting to pick-up.  [It should be noted that because of traffic I only ever ride this bridge off-season and during quiet travel times!]  Once I got on to Roanoke Island it really started to blow hard, and I was still relatively sheltered as I rode through Manteo and in the wooded area around the Lost Colony and Elizabethan Gardens (home of the first English Settlers in America).

Pretty soon I reached the Umstead Bridge and stopped to take these snaps.  Note that the Croatan Sound looks relatively calm at this point where it's sheltered from the wind....



After a short break I set out across the bridge - even though the wind was slightly behind me at this point, it wasn't long before I was wrestling with the slut and having to work really hard to keep her under control!  I tried to get on the aerobars to stay out of the wind, but after a couple of death wobbles I decided that discretion was the best part of valor and stayed up on the bars with my hands on the brakes!

By the time I got to the elevated section in the middle of the bridge it was absolutely ripping and I knew that coming back in the opposite direction was going to be brutal!


The Slut.   I was worried that she would blow over!

Looking down in to the Sound.  Brrrr.....
Luckily not much traffic on a Sunday morning.
Wrapped-up.
It didn't get any easier when I got off the bridge and turned right onto Mashoes Road - smack bang in to the head wind.  Rode down a couple of miles before turning for home.  Strangely there were a huge number of deer carcases on the side of the road - well picked over by the turkey vultures.  I don't know if this was the result of the local red necks popping them off or the work of the local black bear population.   This area has the highest population density of black bears outside of Alaska.  My guess is the red necks!


Pretty quiet out on Mashoes Road!

I enjoyed having the wind at my back for a while until I turned left and back on to the bridge - all I can say is...   wow!   I had to really fight with The Slut to keep control and a couple of times I thought I might actually have to stop to avoid being pitched over the edge in to the Sound. 

At the start of the bridge - usually a beautiful calm spot.


To give you an idea of how hard it was blowing, I free-wheeled down the elevated section of the bridge and didn't even hit 15 mph!  A real struggle.  Even once I was back in the relatively protected confines of Manteo it was still hard work and coming back over the Washington Baum Bridge was brutal.   Perhaps worst of all was the final stretch up the beach road in Nags Head, where the wind was roaring directly in to my face.  Even on the aerobars I could barely hold 10 mph!

Certainly one of my more interesting rides!    I checked the weather channel when I got in and it said that the winds were sustained at 25 - 30 mph out of the NNW with gusts of 40 - 50 mph!

I wrestled The Slut and lived to tell the tale!  :-)

As an extra plus, even though the wind chill was significant, I stayed pretty warm - I guess that I have the right gear!

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