Dirty Dozen - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
After the Thanksgiving holiday my brother did a bike race in Pittsburgh called the Dirty Dozen. It is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving and they choose thirteen of the steepest hills in the Burgh. The bikers have to pedal to the top without falling off or putting a foot down. If you fall or put a foot down you have to go back to the bottom and start over to get credit for the hill. Oh, and in addition to the hills, the race is a pinch over fifty miles. If you have never been to Pittsburgh, you may not understand the severity of the hills. I get nervous driving up and down Rialto Street in Troy Hill and Canton Avenue is the steepest hill in the Continental United States and it is brick.
The race was started in nineteen eighty three by two brothers, Dan and Tommy Chew and friend Dan Gottlieb. Only three of five riders completed all of the hills in this first race in nineteen eighty three. The race has been occurring every year since making two thousand and eighteen the thirty fifth year. The first ten riders to arrive to the top of the hill receive a certain amount of points. At the end of the race, whoever has the most points wins.
Did my brother win?! No, but he did amazing! He was in the fastest heat and made it up each hill on the first try; he was always in the middle or closer to the front. It was impressive to say the least. There were a couple of the hills we walked up and I wasn’t sure if my feet would get me to the top, let alone a bicycle. As a spectator it’s not really possible to make it to each hill in time to see the racers and if you make a wrong turn or get lost, you just skip that hill and go to the next. My parents and I made it to six of the thirteen. We screamed our lungs out and rang our cowbell in encouragement like good spectators do. The cowbell was a last minute find at my parents house, my brother brought it back from France many years ago. It seemed fitting it would help cheer him on during this race.
The whole day was really fun! It rained and was cold but we had umbrellas and warm shoes. We also stayed in Pittsburgh that evening at an Airbnb as we were going to the airport the next morning. The apartment was great and the host was very welcoming. We ate dinner at Park Bruges in Highland Park, it was fantastic! It was a French Style Bistro with Belgium eats. If you are ever near there, I would highly recommend it!
Below are the hills we were able to spectate at, these are the hills we did not make: Ravine Street/Sharps Hill-Sharpsburg, Berry Hill Road-O’Hara, Logan Street-Millvale, Suffolk Street-North Side, Sycamore Street-Mount Washington, Welsh Way-South Side, Barry/Holt/Eleanor Streets-South Side
High Street/Seavy Road-Etna
Rialto Street-Troy Hill
Flowers Avenue/Tesla Avenue-Hazelwood
If you have been in the race or spectated, I would love to hear about it. Make sure to comment below!