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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The 2008 Dirty Dozen Results


The 26th annual Dirty Dozen was held on Saturday, November 29th, but it was the first time I didn’t ride. Back problems have put my million mile goal on hold. In late October, I had surgery for a herniated disk only to find out I had re-herniated it shortly afterwards. Good weather (mostly sunny skies and a high temperature of 42 degrees F) allowed for a record turnout of 147 riders including 84 (57%) rookies. There was a record 15 riders over 50 years old including 3 over 60. A record 11 women showed up for the 3 place, $300 prize list.

3 former winners rode: Defending champ Steevo, 2002 winner Justin Pokrivka, & 1986 winner Bob Gottlieb, and they all scored points. With 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th places from last year not returning, Steve Cummings had his easiest win ever - able to lead and win hills by as much as he wanted. He became the first person to win 5 consecutive DD’s. He won 10 hills, had it mathematically won after the 9th (Canton) hill, and won by the most (36) points ever over 2nd place Philadelphia DD creator Colin Sandberg. 2 points behind Sandberg, Chris Mayhew finished 3rd, and 4th place Darin Shriver was the first rookie. Of the 16 men to score points, only 4 were rookies. 49 year old Bob (big ring) Gottlieb was the only 40+ points scorer. Rookie Eric Lundgren won the Liberty Tube Sprint before the 11th hill.

The person with the most DD’s ridden (besides myself) is my long time friend Mark Hess. On his 16th one this year, Hess filled my shoes by blowing the whistle to signify the start of each hill. The race is up the hills and not between them. Thanks to Steve Revilak & Babs Peterson for driving the food vehicle again. A 2nd food vehicle (Chris Mayhew’s car) was driven by Rachel Teodori & Jay Hubstenberger. Thanks to Billy Kanarek for donating all of the pop again. Thanks to riders/marshals Ted McPherson & Ted King-Smith who both jumped off their bikes at dangerous intersections, and held traffic until the big group made it through. Thanks to ACA president Chris Popovic for taking over 600 great photos.

Rookie Andrew Seitz on his 6th attempt finally made Canton - popping wheelies on the 2nd half of the hill. In a Chew-like fashion, he added on extra mileage - riding to and from the Washington Blvd. Track/Oval from his home in Emsworth. Traditionally the final DD hill (Flowers/Kilbourne/Tesla) starts about 3 miles early - turning the event into a road race along the Monongahela River. As the route went down Becks Run Rd. and turned right on PA Rt. 837 (Carson St.) along the river, John Minturn attacked and got away solo. He waited for 2 guys who helped him stay away, but they dropped off at the Glenwood Bridge where sprinter Jared Babik bridged up to Minturn. This enabled them (Minturn & Babik) to start the hill in a breakaway. Minturn won the hill, but Justin Pokrivka & overall winner Steevo passed Babik (4th) to take 2nd & 3rd places on the final hill.

Meanwhile farther on down the hill, exhausted riders were just trying to finish the DD. Pushing Kevan Rutledge up the hill caused rookie Aaron Meyers to careen off and crash into a parked car. Both the car and Meyers were OK, and he got back on his bike to finish the hill. I counted about 95 riders cresting the top of the last hill (some of them walking with their bikes). Local resident Jack Murphy complained to me about the riders and parked DD vehicles disrupting his quiet neighborhood. I told him all about the event, and promised to call him a week or so before the DD next year so he can alert his neighborhood.

I was going to go 10 places deep on points (like I did last year) with the men, but I decided to concentrate on the biggest ever women’s field (because a prize list {first time ever on the DD} was offered), and went 10 places deep. I had the women put a piece of pink plastic tape around their handlebars to make it easier to find them amongst a sea of men. Thanks to Team Steel City Endurance coach Suzanne Atkinson for helping me spot the ladies.

I rode in official Mark Powder’s car with Mark Hess’s wife Mary (thanks). I thought she had a digital movie camera (to capture the top riders atop each hill), but it only took still shots. At the top of the first hill, Powder decided he would only pick the top 5 men (like every year from 1988-2006). I had to announce this change at the top of the 2nd hill. Thanks to Powder knowing shortcuts between the hills, we always arrived at hilltops before Steevo did.

Because the women were so far spread out, it was fairly easy for me to pick 10 places. To be eligible for the prize list, women had to make it up every hill, but they were allowed multiple attempts. Points were only awarded for hills ridden all the way up. Winning 12 hills and placing as high as 20th among the men on some hills, Patty Buerkle rode away with the women’s race. All the women were rookies except Carol Clemens who became the first woman to ever make it onto my 3 or more DD list. She broke her chain (had to stop and put it back together) on the first hill which she crested dead last. Hill #5 (Logan) defeated Michelle Bishop & Jenna LaTour who both stopped near the top, and didn’t try again.

For the first time on hill #6 (Pig Hill), I held a separate women’s heat (after the lead men’s heat) on which 2008 ACA women’s criterium champ Whitney Severino dropped her chain, but still managed to finish 9th for 2 points. Thanks to birthday boy Carl Flink for starting (blowing the whistle) this heat, as Mark Hess had already climbed the hill after starting the men’s heat and didn’t want to go back down & up the hill. The toughest hill #7 (Suffolk/Hazelton/Burgess) claimed another woman Ginger (Valerie Christoff). I commend her for going all the way back down this long hill to try again (while the group was enjoying a food stop on top), but had no better luck.

Hill #9 (Canton) claims the most casualties - about 50% of the rookies don’t make it their first attempt, but they are encouraged (by those who have already made it at the top) to keep trying until they do. This was the only hill that Buerkle didn’t win because she needed 3 tries. The first woman to approach the hill, she stopped and began walking her bike up the hill when I shouted to her, “This is no cyclocross or mountain bike race so go back down and keep trying until you make it.” Only 3 women made it up Canton (and all the other 12 hills) their first attempt. Winner Carol Clemens, 2nd place 2006 ACA women’s criterium champ Lee-Ann Beatty, and 5th place Ruth Cunningham seated the entire way up on her mountain bike. Needing 2 tries, Severino was the 3rd woman up, and Buerkle was the 4th on her 3rd attempt. 2:48 marathoner Laura (Hruby) Dick needed 4 tries, and was the last woman to make it. So these 6 women were the only ones to ride up
every hill. Canton weeded out accomplished (has finished 5 Ironmen all in under 12 hours) triathlete Cheryl McMurray who left the hill defeated after 3 attempts. A long tri season and a marathon in Richmond, VA just 2 weeks before the DD left her exhausted and burned out.

Only 3 points short of a perfect score, Buerkle won the women’s DD and the $150 prize. Severino won $100 for 2nd place. Just 6 points behind Severino, Clemens won $50 for 3rd place. After registering, Charlene Walters became sick and went home.

479 people have ridden (started) the DD over the past 25 years. 23 riders graduated to my 3 or more DD’s ridden list this year. Dan Blumenfeld became the first recumbent rider this year. He made every hill except Canton, which he attempted 4 times. Michael Callahan became the first rider to attempt the DD on a fixed gear (45x16) this year. Riding on platform pedals in tennis shoes, he walked the middle part of the first hill, and called it quits at the bottom of the 2nd hill. Two time solo RAAM finisher Matt Bond became the heaviest (233 pounds) DD finisher this year. Using a low gear of 39x28 last year, hill #10 (Boustead) was the only hill to defeat 6’8” tall Bond last year. Armed with a 39x34 low gear this year, he rode up every hill his first attempt. 253 pound Gordon Kirkwood became the heaviest rider to start. After slowly riding up the first 4 hills, he fell far behind, got discouraged and quit, but he vows to be back to set the fat man
finisher record.

53 year old rookie Barry Sherry (from Virginia) broke his rear derailleur cable on hill #4 (High St./Seavey Rd.). Stuck in his 12 tooth cog (Where was the support follow vehicle with spare cables?), he called it quits. Having ridden the DD back in 1995, Rob Masterson returned this year to become the first finisher with an artificial hip. Riding his cross bike with a 36x34 low gear, Rob heard his cantilever brake pads rubbing while climbing up Canton. There were a record 4 kid/parent combos:

Carol Clemens and her parents Barbara (60) & Glenn (61) Acker

Turner & father Ed Johnson

Michael (14) & father Mark Runco

Gordon & father John (60) Kirkwood

Both DD winners Steve Cummings and Patty Buerkle also won their cyclocross races in Murrysville the next day.





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