Thursday, June 11, 2009

Weekend at Burnies

Like blacking out at a raging party and slowly recovering details bit by bit of the night before, the Philadelphia Pro race has slowly revealed itself over the last month. Because chronology, like blacking out, is overrated, I've decided to make mention of the events- no matter how tardy.

In following climatic patterns (which as any sort of outdoorsy type you must), it is worth pointing out that in the Northeastern U.S., for the entire months of May and June, it rained most every day. It was a season of stifled riding plans, or when one dared venture out; of constant drive train cleaning, chain lubing, and dirt-stripe having. (Dirt stripes are when the rear wheel kicks up water and mud on your rear in a stripe, often resembling a skunk pelt).

However, for the big race weekend, the stars and prevailing winds and asteroid belts aligned to provide two consecutive days of sunshine. This, along with the race festivities, made for double the reason to celebrate. As the race goes on for hours upon hours, it is customary in Philadelphia to scout out a prime picnic spot early in the morning to set up the traditional array of alcoholic beverages, food, shade tents, grills, and dogs. This is to ensure that everyone is entertained in the 12 minute windows of waiting for the peloton go by again.

This year I joined the masses setting up camp on Lemon Hill, a shady park that borders one of the few hills the cyclists must climb. The hill becomes infested with members from all factions, sects, and denominations of cyclist.

After the race was over, the park slowly emptied out- as all food and drink must be consumed before departing. Apparently during this time, some people are so inspired/intoxicated that they decide they must partake in some of the glory for themselves. It so happened that a group of khaki-clad young men decided to challenge my boyfriend and some other young male friends of mine- unbeknownst to Them, a group of accomplished racers- to a sprint race up the hill; the prize being a case of beer, their female partners honor, and reaffirmed manliness. It was a classic tale of Us VS. Them, and while team Them did show impressive facial expressions, team Us dominated the podium.

With my honor secured, it was time to cool off. At this point of the day, the mature adults of team Us, along with myself, wrestled in a public water fountain for a few hours before going home to nurse the weekend's accrued sunburns.

Happy riding.
(Race photos by A. Rodzinski and Zack D.)

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