Why the numbers on the pylons at the Chesapeake Bay Swim are screwy, I have the reason
I reckon a fair number of us have done this race, and in the process noticed the numbers on the pylons in the water. If you were counting them like I have, you also noticed they change numbers all of a sudden, you're going along looking at the numbers and seeing 47, 48, 49 etc, then you start seeing 32 and winder if time has stopped.
This is the info for the eastbound (southern) span.
Here's the deal.
The Bay Bridge has 65 "bents" and 57 "piers." A bent is a bridge support, a pier is usually a bridge support with one column, though not always. In this case it appears that the concrete supports are the bents and the others are the piers.
So as you go start the race you see the numbers go up, there are 29 bents at the start so the numbers go from 1-29.
Then you start seeing the piers, numbered 1-57, then when you get close to the eastern side of the bay, you get to more bents, these start at 30, starting over from the 29 on the western side of the bay. And you go up from 30 to 65.
I have been wondering this for 15 years and hope you enjoy this nugget.