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Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 Dirty Dozen Results, Article, & Stats/Matrices


The 27th annual Dirty Dozen was held on Saturday, November 28th. Another (6th consecutive) good weather (sunny skies and a high temperature of 46 degrees F) DD allowed for a record turnout of 186 riders (as big as the Tour de France pack/field) including 98 (53%) rookies. There were a record 17 riders over 50 years old. 13 year old Andrew Reay became the youngest finisher. 10 women showed up for the 3 place, $300 prize list. For the first time, I offered a prize list (equal to the women) for the men. For the first time, I had riders sign release and liability waivers.

4 former winners rode: Defending champ Steve (Stevo) Cummings, 1991 winner Gunner Shogren, 1986 winner Bob Gottlieb, and myself. 29 year old Stevo won his 6th consecutive DD, but was challenged by youth - capable of ending his reign if they keep improving. 21 year old Bob Stumpf won the first hill. 19 year old Sam Morrison won the second hill, and traded the lead with Stevo until after the 11th hill when they were tied. Stevo won the 12th hill giving him a one point lead. Unlike his previous 5 wins when he had it won before the last hill, Stevo had to worry about the last hill this year. Stevo's endurance prevailed and he placed 4th on the last hill - I past a tired, young Sam halfway up.

Stevo and Sam each won 4 hills and each scored points on 12 of the 13 hills. Stevo won with 48 points. Sam was second with 45. Coach Chris Mayhew was third with 22. Darin Shriver won 3 hills and was fourth with 19 points. Bob Stumpf won the first and last hills, and was fifth with 15 points. The first rookie was Brett Rothmeyer - 8th place overall. 50 year old Bob (big ring) Gottlieb was the only 40+ points scorer again. Of the 19 men to score points, only 4 were rookies. Steve Schott won the Liberty Tube Sprint before the 11th hill.

Women's winner rookie, West Virginian Betsy Shogren dominated the women's race. Her 64 point total was only one point short of a perfect score. This ties my record when I won back in 1988 - the year the 5 place points system began. Coincidentally, the only hill (#6 Pig Hill {Rialto St.}) we didn't win, we got second on - Phil Rhodes beat me in 1988 & Lee-Ann Beatty beat Betsy this year. Rider Jeff Nunes put up a $20 prime for the first woman to make Canton Avenue. Rookie Sarah Kolpin was second with 48 points. Mike Stubna's girlfriend Emily Mackay was third with 32 points. Only 6 women made it up every hill. Last years winner Patty Buerkle quit early with her boyfriend John Minturn.

After the 2nd hill (Ravine St./Sharps Hill), Mark Briercheck & I rode ahead on Dorseyville Rd. to marshal the bottom on the 3rd hill (Berryhill Rd.) on Saxonburg Blvd. A motorist became raving at me for making him wait as the riders flew by - down Brownshill Rd. The guy threatened to call the local police if I didn't let him through. As soon as there was a big break in the pack, I let him through and stopped smaller groups of riders. I should have stayed and marshaled longer, but (afraid the police would show up and stop my DD) I climbed the hill and hurried the ride out of the area (O'Hara Twp.) onto the next hill (High St./Seavey Rd.) in Etna. Luckily, I didn't see any cops except for the one (thanks) stopping traffic at the light in Millvale at the bottom of the 5th (Logan St.) hill. At the end of the ride back at the Washington Blvd. Track, I met Pittsburgh City Police Officer Matthew Immekus - going on duty after riding the DD. As the DD continues
to grow, it's good to know we have an officer of the law riding on our side.

Some riders told me they fell off the back of the pack, got lost, and had to end their ride early without seeing all of the hills. I'm sorry if this happened to you. I plan to have a line by line itinerary (In 0.5 miles, turn left onto Kittanning Pike) and a detailed map of the route on my website by next summer so that you can ride part or all of the DD course anytime you want.

We must have been at hill #9 (37% cobblestone Canton Ave.) for a good 45 minutes. I waited at the bottom for about 30 minutes - until there were no riders either climbing or stopped on the hill. If I can't make the hill, I don't want the reason to be somebody else in my way. I did make it on my first attempt, but many other riders needed multiple tries. With such a big field, I may have to limit each rider to 2 tries on Canton or else do away with the 2nd food stop atop hill #7 (Suffolk/Hazelton/Burgess), and replace what used to be the 3rd food stop atop hill #10 (Boustead) with a new food stop atop Canton.

Boustead was extra difficult this year because of loose gravel. Climbing towards the middle of the field, I had to be aware of other riders around me stopping or crashing. I got caught behind two riders who stopped in front of me, and I had to go back down and restart Boustead after most riders had done it. Looking at the YouTube Boustead video, I saw many riders walking. There is no way I can keep track of 185 riders, but I would guess that less than half of them rode up every hill with continuous forward motion - you can weave, but no going backwards or circling. If you crash or stop, go back down to the bottom and try again. After the food stop atop Boustead, I saw a few riders crashing because of the trolley tracks on Broadway Avenue in Beechview.

The quality of the field has gotten better over the years - making point scoring more difficult and prestigious. Getting older and slower, this was the first year I failed to score any points. On the 12th hill (Barry/Holt/Eleanor) I tried to get points, but only managed to finish in 10th place.

Thanks to Team Steel City Endurance manager Suzanne Atkinson & Lee-Ann's brother Kevin Beatty for officiating. Former official Mark Powder showed up atop hills to spectate. Thanks to 11 time DD finisher Billy Kanarek for donating all of the pop again. Thanks to Ron Lutz & son Eric and Nora Runco for driving the food vehicles. Thanks to Steve Mentzer for loaning me his 10 gallon orange coolers he uses for the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge. Thanks to orange vest riders/marshals Paul Stevenson & Ted King-Smith. Thanks to rider Joe Ross for having 150 t-shirts (sorry I ran out) made, and his wife Julia for helping me with registration & handing out the shirts. Thanks to Fred Jordan for shooting 1,145 great photos, and videographer Gene Nacey (Nina Wilczek's Dad) working for Livestrong.

577 people have ridden (started) the DD over the past 26 years. 17 riders graduated to my 3 or more DDÕs ridden list this year. Montana Miller became the first rider to finish the DD on a fixed gear (39x20) bicycle, although he unclipped and "coasted" down some of the longer descents. West Virginian J. R. Petsko became the heaviest (240 pounds) DD finisher.

There were a record 4 sets of brothers:

Brandon, Chad, & Ryan Ference
Doug & Dan Riegner
Steve & Christian Schott
Andrew & Aaron Reay

There were two father/son combos:

Mark & Mike Runco
Kirk & Sam Morrison





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