RAC­ING AHEAD

Hun­dreds brave heat, hu­mid­ity for Di­a­mond in the Rough triathlon

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ ce­cil­whig. com

— While the sun didn’t make an ap­pear­ance un­til noon, the hu­mid­ity was op­pres­sive as ath­letes in the Di­a­mond In The Rough triathlon swam, biked and ran Satur­day.

More than 225 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in ei­ther the

PERRYVILLE

In­ter­na­tional or Sprint com­pe­ti­tion, which be­gan with a 1- mile swim in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, fol­lowed by a 27- mile bi­cy­cle ride to Conowingo and back and fin­ished with a 5- mile run start­ing and end­ing at Perryville Com­mu­nity Park.

“This is a great venue,” said Michael Bupp, from Carlisle, Pa. “The tran­si­tions are pretty easy and the bike course was scenic.”

The first Di­a­mond In

the Rough, pre­sented by Pi­ranha Sports, was held in 2003 and the course quickly gained no­to­ri­ety for the steep climb on Route 222 leav­ing Port De­posit.

“Heart At­tack Hill was not too bad,” Bupp said. “But it was just hot.”

Vol­un­teers along the bike and run­ning routes kept an eye on the ath­letes and on­com­ing ve­hi­cle traf­fic and at cer­tain points along the way of­fered ad­vice and cups of cold wa­ter.

“Hard curve... stay to the cen­ter,” Bill Spran­kle shouted to bi­cy­clists as each ap­proached the bot­tom of the hill on French­town Road.

Cecil County Sher­iff’s Deputies were sta­tioned at in­ter­sec­tions to make sure traf­fic was halted to get bi­cy­clists through. Perr yville Po­lice of­fi­cers were on pa­trol too, mak­ing sure that the ath­letes and vol­un­teers were safe.

While mem­bers of Ravens Roost 119 held out pa­per cups of wa­ter dur­ing the foot por­tion of the route along Round­house Drive, Paul Hughes parked in front of his town­house armed with his gar­den hose.

As each run­ner ap­proached, Hughes — whose wife was also in the com­pe­ti­tion — asked if the run­ner wanted to be sprayed with the hose. Some wel­comed the re­fresh­ing spray im­me­di­ately, while oth­ers said they would take the brief show- er on the re­turn trip.

Hav­ing fin­ished his race, Bupp searched the faces of re­turn­ing triath­letes for his friend Brian Smith from Em­mits­burg, Md.

“He’s train­ing for his first Iron­man,” Bupp said of Smith.

Bupp, mean­while, was pleased he fin­ished 10th over­all, though seven min­utes slower than his fin­ish time from a year ago.

“A lot of peo­ple would be dis­ap­pointed,” he said. “But I did a 125- mile bike race ( two weeks ago) with 17,000- feet of climb­ing. It was tough.”

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Di­a­mond in the Rough triathlon rid­ers come up a por­tion of the bike route known as “Heart At­tack Hill” in Port De­posit.

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Paul Hughes of­fers run­ners in the fi­nal leg of the Di­a­mond in the Rough triathlon a cool shower from his gar­den hose.

CECIL WHIG PHO­TOS BY JANE BELLMYER

Bi­cy­clists in the Di­a­mond In The Rough triathlon get a brief break trav­el­ing on Main Street in Port De­posit be­fore tack­ling the hill com­ing north on Route 222.

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