Mark and Mel’s most excellent yearly trip to the Philadelphia pro race, now called Commerce Bank Triple Crown, began 1 day before the race, with a short spin from our hotel in Conshohocken to Manayunk. Home of the famous ‘Manayunk wall,’ a climb that rises 500 feet in 1K, with parts tipping 17%, the racers with battle up it 10 times in their 156 mile race tomorrow. Did someone say ouch? And I can testify that it is indeed a leg breaker. We rode up early in the morning, without downing the usual double espresso (a move I wouldn’t recommend anyone try) and I got that ‘can’t get enough oxygen’ dizzy feeling at the top.
Thankfully we rolled down for a cuppa coffee at a local joint and watched Magnus Backstedt and his Slipstream teammates roll by. And there’s Alex Candelario, coolness.
It’s now nearly 90 degrees, Africa hot, and a local shop is allowing demo rides of new Cervelo bicycles. Will it be the Soloist SLC-SL at 990 grams or the R3-SL at 800 grams! Tough choice, but I rode the Soloist with Zipp 303 wheels. Bike lust is a terrible thing. Indeed.
Time for another espresso, and bonus - we run into the entire Team Highroad. We chat it up with former British champion Roger Hammond for a couple minutes and he poses for a picture, then he acts as the photographer for one of my cycling heroes Servais Knaven, winner of Paris-Roubaix 2001. Could it get any better than this?