Hundreds brave heat, humidity for Diamond in the Rough triathlon
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
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.”
Diamond in the Rough triathlon riders come up a portion of the bike route known as “Heart Attack Hill” in Port Deposit.
Paul Hughes offers runners in the final leg of the Diamond in the Rough triathlon a cool shower from his garden hose.
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.