Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recon mission: 30 of 56 miles Delaware Diamondman swim - bike - runcourse

If you preparing for a race, you gotta do a little reconnaissance. 

So I spent one morning while the kids were at Art Camp to drive down to Delaware at the site of my upcoming Half-Iron distance race, The Delaware Diamondman Challenge.

They learned about dragons, mommy faced her own personal dragon...

The location in Lums Pond State Park in Bear, DE, which is not far from Newark, DE, is about an hour's drive over mostly highways from the Main Line.

I arrived just before the park opens at 8 am, so I drove through the campgrounds and made a potty stop [plumbing, yay!]

I drove back out of the campgrounds and straight to the boat ramp entrance as I knew that's probably where the swim will begin based on previous athlete notes. They have not yet published the athlete note for this year.

Looks harmless enough. I looooove lake swims. You may have some reeds to contend with, but little to no current. I have definitely seen some race reports mentioning some muckiness. I walked on some soft squishy mud to the entrance and can foresee some need for rinsing afterwards.

So I self-paid my entrance fee, detached the parking stub and placed it on my dash, and felt comfortable leaving my car there at the boat ramp while I headed out on the bike.

When I returned two hours later, only one other car was parked there on a weekday summer morning.

Now, onto the bike. I was following the athlete note of the original 'one loop' as is indicated, from the 2008 athlete note. After the first five miles I stopped to snap this pic, as it reminded me, 

Why do all my bike races look like this??

A fellow biker babe passed me at this moment and I thought: 

"Yay! Not the only crazy out here in this 100 degree heat!
But wait...she is likely finishing at this hour...awwe-oh..."

 I loop back around the start/finish line and then head towards the river. 
You pass down through this small town which provides a tiny bit of shade
after a heavy dose of sunny exposure. 

I head another few miles, to another small town where you make a sharp right and head up this: 
And seeing as I was at mile 20, nearing my time limit to turn around, and none of the cars on this bridge were expecting me that morning, I didn't attempt. 

But good to know! Good. to. know. There's a freaking hefty-a$$ climb in the middle of this thing. 

They say that it is a one mile steady climb, and that being as such that it is long, it is not that steep. 

Well I'll have to save the answer to that for another day.

And that day may be September 8th.

 I take a shady break and admire how much faster I was able to go with my GPS right in front of me through this bag/window I mentioned in a previous post. 
I also admired the way I was able to prop my pedal onto the curb to stand up my bike! 
A gentlemanly fellow rider in my Tour de Cure showed me this trick on a rest stop.

I sweated the return.

I could feel the heat steaming up off the asphalt. 

I'm disappointed I didn't get to the route beyond the Reedy Point Bridge, but I was able to ride 30 miles of the total 56. And at no time did I see my speedometer dip below 16 mph, so I was feeling good about the flat-thing. At one point I was really struggling and I looked down to see 21 mph. 
Oh, guess the coffee was kicking in...

 I seriously considered taking a shower in the campgrounds facilities but was running out of time. 

I quickly drove the start of the run route, which leads from transition [staged at the campgrounds] to the C & O Canal via Old Summit Road. From what I can tell, this will be the out and back run route.
The entry ramp to the canal run. I am already cursing it upon my 69th of 70.3 miles. 
If I get that far...

Parts of it are paved, and parts of it are on gravel. These are two views from the fork at the bottom of the entrance ramp, so I don't know which way you turn. In any case,  I'm going to continue the majority of my long runs on a local trail for practice.

Recon mission: satisfactory.

Thoughts: scared sh**less!!

Do you do recon for your races? 
Or do you prefer the element of surprise??


  1. I have mixed feelings- sometimes I really like knowing whats coming- what hills to prepare for etc. but some of my best races came from not doing TOO MUCH recon. So now I flirt on the line of knowing some but not everything. Some surprises on race day but no "big-time-game changer" surprises

    AND ENOUGH..you ARE going to make it all 70.3 I'm going to slap you silly until you believe it!


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