Share This Page

Dirty Dozen bike race pits riders against vertical climbs

| Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, 11:34 p.m.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Jill Betters, 29 of Philadelphia (second from left) cheers on riders in the 2013 Dirty Dozen bike race November 30, 2013 on Canton Avenue during the 2013 Dirty Dozen bike race November 30, 2013. The Beechview roadway is the country's steepest at a 37% grade.

Brothers Tom and Danny Chew drew upon the Steel City's legacy for toughness and its hilly terrain when they established their monster of a bike race, the Dirty Dozen, in 1983.

Organizers say the race, with vertical climbs, has a way of “chewing you up and spitting you out, real quick.”

The late fall race has grown from five entrants that first year to about 300 riders.

“You think, ‘How hard could that be? ... Oh, they're being more dramatic than necessary,' ” says racing veteran Andy Bailie, 30, of Atlanta. “This is just brutal. ... But I'm still having fun.”

Challenges include Rialto Street in Troy Hill, Sycamore Street in Mt. Washington, Canton Avenue in Beechview and Berryhill Road in Fox Chapel.

“It was a tough-guy race for a while,” said Ron Lutz, one of the organizers who has completed seven Dirty Dozens.

With a 37 percent grade, Canton Avenue takes down many riders in crashes on its slippery cobblestones.

This was the fourth competition for William Westover of North Braddock, a former bike messenger.

“To come out here and do something that's kind of ridiculous and either root each other on or heckle each other ... it's just kind of a good way to end the season,” he said.

James Knox is a Trib Total Media photographer. Reach him at jknox@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.