Dirty Dozen bike race pits riders against vertical climbs
By James Knox
Published: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, 11:18 p.m.
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 email@example.com.
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