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Monday, December 23, 2013

19 Feet and Rising

12/23/2012 37m 32F
Started at Oh-Dark-Thirty in hopes of the hourly forecast being reality-based. It wasn't, and S and I rode in the rain anyway.

As we came around the corner by the Science Center and the Langely Observatory sculpture, descending to the Heinz Field entrance and the area where the ferry boats dock and Duck Boats launch and recover, the trail was blocked by the river which had swollen due to recent rainfall and flooded the banks.

Imagine if it had flooded and frozen, that would have been a great descent. According to WPXI, the river crested at 21.9 feet on Monday. The downtown Mon Wharf parking area begins to flood when the river reaches about 18 feet, while the North Shore Riverwalk starts to flood at 19 feet.

Rode to the SouthSide and BigDogCoffee, in pursuit of the Oatmeal and Toppings that has been eluding us. We were not disappointed; I had oatmeal with cherries, craisins, and raisins. Most excellent.

Back out into the rain and out along the SouthSide trail, past Sandcastle, and past the Phantom's Revenge. Rode through Duquesne and onto the Riverton Bridge between Duquesne and McKeesport. We pretty much had the trail to ourselves, but when we did see people I tried to share the Christmas spirit by jangling my Christmas bells at them.

Reversed course into a strong headwind. Coming back, we stopped at the Waterfront Starbucks for a bite then got back on the trails. The wind was pretty significant. Took the Hot Metal Bridge across the Monongahela, which provided a vantage point for us to see that the new Riverfront Park was flooded.

I'm very impressed at the engineering that goes into building structures that tolerate flooding, and I'm not at all put off by the frequent closures. I'd much rather have an accessible river with occasional closures (acknowledging the forces of nature) that be in a city built behind tall, concrete floodwalls like I've seen elsewhere.

I was surprised to see how much the river had already receded when we got to the Point, and the rain had stopped by then. Back to the cars in the headwind. 37 miles.

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