The 30th annual Dirty Dozen was held on Saturday, November 24th. I woke up to an inch of fresh, new snow on my back porch, and when some of my staff people started telling me about all the bad traffic accidents they had seen on their drive to my house, I was seriously thinking about postponing or even canceling the DD for the first time ever. To avoid crashing on snow-covered, icy roads on my ride over to the start (Bud Harris Cycling Track), I waited as late as possible to leave my Squirrel Hill home. My 21 year old Nephew Steven Perezluha & I left on slushy and wet roads around 9 am. We were amazed to see the entire parking lot filled with eager cyclists ready to tackle Pittsburgh's steepest and toughest hills despite such lousy weather. 

Luckily by the time we left just after 10 am, the roads were only wet and stayed this way for the first half of the ride, although some icy spots were reported on some hills. Under cloudy skies, a stiff wind blew snow showers most of the day with a high temperature of just 33 degrees F - making it the 3rd coldest DD ever. In the old days, this would have meant like 10 or less brave riders, but 232 riders started {including 135 (58.2%) rookies} making it the 2nd biggest field. There were 23 riders over 50 years old including four over 60. There were 9 teenagers. 105 of the 115 pre-registered riders rode. 127 riders regis- tered on event day. 19 women riders is a new record! 

A wonderful new addition this year was Gene Nacey's (Cycling Fusion) LiveStream live web broadcast which allowed fans to follow the DD at home, and know what time we would be getting to each hill. Thanks Gene. My Nephew won the first hill (Center Ave./Guyasuta Rd.), and dark horse Chris Sprock won the 2nd hill (Ravine St./Sharps Hill) - making them tied for the lead. Since earlier reports had the 3rd hill (Berryhill Rd.) being snow-covered and impassable, I decided to do away with the flying start down Brownshill Rd., and we did a slow, track stand start at the bottom on Saxonburg Blvd. (like old hill #6 Rialto St./Pig Hill which was eliminated from the DD this year because of PA Rt. 28 construction at the bottom). 8-time winner and defending champ Steve Cummings (Stevo) won the hill (melted by the time we got there), but Sprock got 4th giving him the lead. 

Stevo also won the 4th hill (High St./Seavey Rd.). Despite briefly dabbing the ground, my Nephew was 3rd to the hilltop, but because he stopped, my Nephew lost his 3rd place (8 points), and we both rode the hill over again. Sprock got 3rd making him tied for the lead with Stevo. Even though my Nephew & I arrived at the lunch stop (Millvale Riverfront Park) late, I was still able to drink two Red Bulls with the Red Bull girls. In fact, I set a new personal record of drinking 6 (8.4 ounce) cans of RB throughout the day! Thanks to Red Bull for becoming a new DD sponsor. Thanks to Brian Wolovich & Millvale Borough for opening up the bathrooms, providing running water, a heater, and a crew of girl scouts to help clean up. Also, thanks to my food staff of Ron Lutz & his son Eric, and Dave Shaffer. 

[Keep reading at Danny Chew]