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Uphill Battle: Training for Pittsburgh’s Dirty Dozen Bike Race

The Dirty Dozen is a bike race/bike ride
that goes up 13 of the steepest hills in the area, including Canton Avenue which is arguably
the steepest street in all of the United States. Really, only the first 50 to a hundred people are racing for points and to get on the podium. The rest of us are sort of just trying to survive and there’s a lot of camaraderie
that happens in, like, suffering and surviving and so, the spirit of the race
you know is from Danny Chew and his brother just going out wanting to suffer
and going out and just attempting to push themselves as hard as they could
and find the craziest thing that they could do. That’s really what drives
people to come do this My whole journey with the Dirty Dozen
kind of started from a journey that I took of weight loss. After I had lost some weight through dieting is when Healthy Ride came to the city and I picked up a bike one of the first weeks that they were here and just started riding around town and had ridden a bike since I was a kid. I started riding some
of the bigger hills and ended up doing a Dirty Dozen hill and feeling like, oh if
that was possible I wonder if I could do another one. I would do one and then we do
another, another day. So in 2016, I attempted The Dirty Dozen on a Healthy Ride bike and completed nine of the hills that year. And then, trained some more
and attempted again in 2017, and that year I completed eleven of the hills. After that I went to the after-party and I introduced myself to Danny Chew and
you know told him a little bit, I was like, hey I don’t know if I’ll ever do
this on a Healthy Ride again and he was like “well, how many do last year?”
I said, “I did nine last year.” He said, “how many did you complete this year?”
I said, ” I did eleven.” He said, “okay well with that math, next year, that’ll be 13 hills, you’ll do them all and you have unfinished business.” Those are the words he used. And I left that night thinking, like, I mean here’s Danny, like, coming back from this accident, you
know pushing on to ride as much as he can and telling me that I have
unfinished business, that I have to go out there and, you know, attempt it one more time. In 2018, I was able to make it up every hill in the first attempt. I got to the top of Tesla, which is the last hill in Hazelwood and sort of, I like, held the bike up and was just so exhausted For this year, I debated after
finishing last year with the Healthy Ride, what I was going to attempt this year, Until a friend purchased a tandem mountain bike, and he was like, “dude, let’s just ride this in the Dirty Dozen. Let’s, like, figure it out, you know.” We’ve trained a little bit and we feel pretty good about it, It’s really weird to ride a tandem especially up some of these hills, so we’ll see though. When talking to people who are saying, you know, like “I can never do that, I can never ride a Healthy Ride up a hill. I could never do the Dirty Dozen.” I tell them you absolutely could, like, If you had seen me in 2016, you would have said, like, definitively said, “that guy could never do this.” and so I tell people – it’s just a matter of, like, getting yourself out there and doing it and continuing to train and continuing to push yourself. So people should really
get out, get riding, come join us.

Reynold King

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