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Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 6.26'
Flow: 9270 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 6:48am
Low Tide: 1:36am

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Virginia Capital Trail Enters Final Phase: Will it Be Done in Time?

Andy Thompson

June 3, 2015 11:03am

This year’s Cap2Cap, the annual ride/fundraiser for the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, was a roaring success, according to foundation Executive Director Beth Weisbrod.

The 100-mile, 50-mile and 25-mile ride options brought in a record 2,400 (or so) participants. Only the century-ride option didn’t set a new attendance record.

The bridge over I-895 in Varina is one of the few in that section that is complete.

The bridge over I-895 in Varina is one of the few in that section that is complete.

“I’m trying to figure out which conclusions to draw,” Weisbrod said. “We sold a ton of beer. Everything was a Hardywood brew. The jerseys flew off the shelf, too.”

Surveys sent after the race showed a 93-percent satisfaction rate, Weisbrod added. “So, I’m happy about that.”

The Cap2Cap is the foundation’s largest fundraiser in support of the Virginia Capital Trail. But the money raised by the group doesn’t pay for the construction of the trail itself. State and federal dollars do that, and VDOT is in charge of overseeing its construction. I got a chance to see the progress up close a couple of weeks ago when I rode my bike from Deep Bottom Boat Landing to Richmond along Route 5.

My first thought was: Wow, they’ve done a lot since I was last out here. But that was quickly followed by: Man, they still have a lot to do to hit their projected completion date of the end of August. At the very least, officials have said it will be done by the time the UCI World Cycling Championships come to town in mid-September.

“VDOT continues to assure me that [the trail] will be substantially complete,” Weisbrod said. “What that means is that all the asphalt will be done.”

Progress continues in fits and starts on the Varina section of the Virginia Capital Trail.

Progress continues in fits and starts on the Varina section of the Virginia Capital Trail.

I passed a number of bridges in that Varina section in various stages of completion, and with less than 100 days to go, I wondered if those might not be more iffy than the asphalt.

“The bridges worry me a little bit, but I still think they’ll be done,” Weisbrod said. “What is not included in [substantially complete] is the landscaping. They’ll be doing that until the end of the year.”

So, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that when however many thousands of visitors descend on Richmond in September, they’ll be able, should they choose, to pedal a bike east of Great Shiplock Park. (That’s where the trail stops now.)

Should those visitors choose to stay a couple of weeks after the races, Weisbrod added, they could join us locals for a big ribbon-cutting on October 2nd and trail party on the 3rd.

In RVA, near Rocketts Landing, asphalt is going down. Credit: Justin Doyle

In RVA, near Rocketts Landing, asphalt is going down. Credit: Justin Doyle

“We’re gonna have a formal ribbon cutting somewhere along the downtown Richmond section,” she said. “probably Shiplock park. We’re hopeful Senators Warner and Kaine will be there. Their offices have said it’s too early to commit but they really want to be there. Then we’re going to do a big party up Pear Street by the Lucky Strike building.

“Then on Saturday, all the localities along the trail are scheduling celebrations, so that if someone wants to ride from the Richmond to the Williamsburg end they can hit each celebration.”

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?