Your one and only Lower Bucks County-based duathlon just became even more attractive.
So says former World Duathlon champion Todd Wiley, who has won the Bucks County Duathlon several times in the past.
Wiley points out that the newly paved Woodhill Road, a two-or-so-mile stretch of the BCD’s 10-mile bike segment, should make for a quicker and more enjoyable ride through Upper Makefield.
The ninth annual BCD gets underway at Washington Crossing Historic Park this Sunday, 7 a.m., along with the new 8K Challenge running race.
With Woodhill Road repaved, approximately 75 percent of the course has new or almost-new surfacing, meaning riders can concentrate on things like pace and tempo rather than thinking about dodging potholes.
Pipersville’s Wiley, who directs and manages the Delaware Valley Duathlon in April, indicates that a smoother bike circuit benefits not only elite competitors but those new (and perhaps younger) athletes looking to break into multi-sport.
Safety as well as comfort factors into the equation.
“As a race director myself, that’s one of the biggest things, that the course is fair and safe,’’ Wiley says. “If it’s a smooth course that you don’t have to worry about, like potholes, it’s safer.
“Nowadays, I think it’s attractive for a person who wants to get into the sport. That’s really what it’s all about. These ‘hometown’ races, it’s a great opportunity for people who might want to do a multi-sport race. . .seeing a safe course makes it even more attractive.’’
The race consists of a two-mile run through the park and along the Delaware Canal towpath, the aforementioned 10-mile bike along the river and through several challenging hills, followed by a second two-mile run.
Proceeds benefit the Missy Flynn Fund (to assist the former world-class triathlete who was injured by a brain aneurysm in 2005) and the WCHP.
More than $100,000 has been raised in the history of the event.
Wiley says it’s a testament to Flynn’s popularity in the local sports community which has allowed the BCD to remain a presence on the racing scene for nearly a decade while other races have come and gone.
“The unfortunate thing that we’re seeing more and more now – especially in the multi-sport community – is that races are going away,’’ he says.
“There’s a reason for that, because the numbers are going down. The fact that races like this (the BCD) keep going says something not only for the competitors but the people who are putting on the race and those who benefit from it.’’
Part of the current situation can be attributed to bigger name races drawing more people. The prices for these high-profile events can be steep, which sometimes can limit a competitor to just one or two competitions per year.
“We can talk all day about all the great multi-sport races which have gone away,’’ Wiley says. “It’s a shame. Races like the Bucks County Duathlon focus on people who want to try something new.
“It’s a great way to try multi-sport racing out. You don’t have to swim (like in a triathlon). A lot of people worry about the swim. A lot of runners bike, so it’s a great way to cross-train for whatever running events they might be doing.
“Who knows, they might take a liking to multi-sport racing.’’
Online registration for the BCD and 8K have closed but there’s still time to enter, either by stopping by Newtown Bike Shop (30 North State Street, Newtown) during business hours (Thursday through Saturday) or at WCHP the morning of the event.
Be sure to have proof of U.S Triathlon membership (either one day or yearly) for insurance purposes.
For more information on the BCD visit www.buckscountyduathlon.org.
Those competing should be mindful that parking lots at Washington Crossing Historic Park will open at 5 a.m. Parking is somewhat at a premium and the roads leading into the lots will close at approximately 6:30-6:45 a.m., so please try to get there early.
Ninth annual Bucks County Duathlon and 8K Challenge, 7 a.m., Washington Crossing Historic Park. Contact www.buckscountyduathlon.org
Sunday, Sept. 9
Run Now Wine Later 5K, 8:30 a.m., New Hope. Contact www.eventbrite.com