Congratulations to Sean Saxton for his new WUCA record
Sean Saxton’s Rider Narrative Summary
My name is Sean Saxton and on Sunday September 26th, 2021 at 7:05 AM I rode my bicycle 146 miles from the top to the bottom of Delaware on a back road path laid out by Delaware Department of Transportation called the Delaware Bicycle Route 1 Path. I rode the course from North to South. The starting location begins just inside of the Pennsylvania line on a two-lane winding road. There is a green sign attached atop a guard rail that describes the bicycle 1 north route and starting point. It is very narrow and near a farmers’ market close to Centerville, Delaware. If you are coming from southern Delaware, once you enter Centerville, make a right onto Twaddell Mill Rd and then at the stop sign make a left onto Montchanin Rd which turns into Creek Rd once you enter Pennsylvania. The green bicycle route 1 sign will be on the right-hand side of the road.
The conditions of the day could not have been better. I did this same ride unofficially last year in 2020 about four weeks later and though we were able to dodge rain till the last 20 miles last year, this year it was absolute picturesque. The winds were out of the Northwest for most of the day at 10-14 mph. Not a cloud in the sky and the sun rose through the treetops as we began. I had a headwind a few times in the first 30 miles as the course crosses West and then zigzags South as we make our way to Summits Bridge near Lums Pond State Park.
I rode on my Specialized Shiv time trial bike on the entire route. I wore a Giro aero helmet, Fizik cycling triathlon shoes with a Castelli aero suit and aero shoe covers. I also wore a pair of custom cycling gloves. This year I put a lot more thought into my aero set-up. Since the aero suit only had a place to put a bib number on the inside, I cut the plastic section open, used tape to fasten it from ripping, and used that as a back pocket to carry some of my extra nutrition in the beginning of the ride. I drank 24 ounces from Abloc bottles of 1st Phorm Intra-Workout mix (strawberry banana flavor), and also had a bike frame hydration unit that I filled up with water to drink from too. I ate honey stinger gel chews, and then wrapped chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in tinfoil and placed them inside the front of my suit. The suit was tight enough that the wrapped cookies would stay close to my chest and I could grab a few from my crew team and then place them in my suit until I needed to eat it while riding. I wrapped the cookies in the tinfoil so that I could open it up with my mouth and dig into the cookie while maintaining my 20-24 mph speed. The best part of the 146-mile challenge was when I came through Middletown, Townsend, Clayton, Cheswold, Dover, and Camden-Wyoming. It was at these different points from miles 40 to 77 where I saw lots of family and friends along the route cheering, waving signs, ringing cowbells, and wearing the shirts that we had made. I felt like it was a coming home celebration and it really got me amped to keep the energy high and put the power down in the pedals. There were also people lined up as I made my way towards Coastal Highway (last 20 miles of the ride) and saw signs along the route that said “Keep going!”, “Don’t give up!”
The hardest part of the ride was around miles 80-90. Mentally it is a tough section of the course because you are just riding on a long section of road past Killens Pond State Park and in the back of your mind you know that you still have 56-66 miles left still to ride. I was also wondering if I was going to hit the wall or bonk really hard, as this was a grinder of a section last year. Overall, I felt much stronger than last year and was able to keep it moving and stay in a rhythm. Once I got to mile 100, then things started to go by fast and I began to feel stronger as we got closer to the finish, which I think was from the adrenaline of being almost there and the excitement to see others at the finish.
Nothing out of the ordinary took place during the ride. The course is the most stressful to ride in the first 30 miles if you are going from North to South as the roads wind around, sometimes very narrow, and then at mile 23 to 24 there is a barrier in the middle of the road blocking cars from driving through that part of the neighborhood that the route crosses, and forces me to ride up on an undulated sidewalk and then down someone’s driveway to get around it. I have ridden this section before and do not understand why that is there, but it is one of the unusual things about the course and makes it interesting. Not a lot of time down in my aero position in the beginning, but we make up for it later on.
The finish line is at the Fenwick Island, Delaware and Ocean City, Maryland State Line on Coastal Highway. There is a big overhead green highway sign that says “Welcome to Maryland” and that is where I finished. It is right next to a former bank that is now deserted and where we gathered post-ride in the parking lot. We finished at 2:10 PM and exact finish time on my Garmin watch and my official’s watch was 7:04:31.0.
Also from Sean:
I wanted to share a link to the event page of which I worked with a local non-profit in my area called Cancer Support Community Delaware and used my ride as a way to promote the activity and raise money for the organization. As of right now we are at $7,500 raised for the non-profit. Here is the link