Great news for Tar Heel 200 Permanent riders who last year amassed over 8,500 miles on their bikes between Benson and Tar Heel, NC. Anyone who has ridden the route knows that by far the most uneven pavement is located on River Road in Bladen County.
In mid-winter, there had been hints that River Road might be getting resurfaced. Those of us who regularly ride the route hoped it was true and not just wishful thinking.
Andy was the first to notice the possibility in the middle of February, when he noticed blacktop shoulders had been added. In a hilarious spoof, he referred to them as "bike lanes." He also pondered whether it was a harbinger of a badly needed resurfacing project. A spoof is one thing, but don't tease us, Andy!
A week later, I noticed a short stretch of road which was completely resurfaced as well as a slew of paving vehicles lined up alongside the road. Could it be true? We certainly hoped so.
Well, yesterday I got a first-hand view of the progress. Maria had floated an inquiry in my direction to ride Saturday. It turns out we had different but mutually compatible goals. Maria was hoping to test her fleche bicycle, while I was hoping for a riding buddy with whom to get in some more pre-fleche practice miles. As we approached the Bladen County line, I couldn't believe my eyes. Was it a mirage? Had the road been widened and resurfaced?
Later on down the road, we approached the crew in the middle of resurfacing even though it was a Saturday.
The sleek new pavement has got to be good for an additional 2-3 mph with the noticeably reduced rolling resistance.
It appears that the new layer of asphalt is about three inches thick. With ever the eye of the artist, Maria commented that the only thing that would be missed would be the tar snakes.
The possiblity of doing a night-ride this summer (mentioned by Andy) has greatly increased, since cyclists need not be concerned about rough pavement.
I borrowed the lead-in picture from the River City Cycling Club of Elizabeth City, NC.
Thanks for the entertaining company, Maria. I probably would not have ridden yesterday alone.