Philadelphia Cycling Classic

Top of the Wall, Philly Classic

June 1st. Philly.

One of the main reasons I knew I had to take my career to America was because of a (relatively hard to find) documentary called Pro. It’s about the Philadelphia Cycling Classic. It follows the race itself as well as the riders before, during, and after and does a fantastic job showing just how much that race means to both the riders and its fans.

Over 100,000 people descend on the Manayunk region of Philly to watch the ascent of the infamous climb called the Wall. 2.5 minutes of effort with pitches in excess of 20%. Its on a circuit and the spectators can watch all 10 laps of the climb.

As all racers know the entries to the climbs are the toughest points as your position is vital and the accordion motion of the peloton will be in effect. If you’re at the back, you’re going to have a bad time.

The run in to the wall is a light downhill through the downtown area of Manayunk and is packed with people. A 90 degree right turn sees two very wide lanes decrease to one and after 50 more metres another 90 degree right turn sends you on to little cobblestone under a railroad bridge. 50 metres further a 90 degree left sends you up the first pitches of the wall. The race comes down to a right, right, left…and then some gritting of teeth for 2.5 minutes.

End result wise it wasn’t so great. Our team leader had 2 flats in the last 5km and, as that was the only card we were playing this race, it was game over.

I managed to be in a position to get my Dad over to the race from the UK with recent prize money and I’m sure he enjoyed this iconic American race. Thousands of people, with incredible support from the locals, every house on the circuit had a house party and there were rivers of beer in the streets. I took one of the thousands of beers on offer to me while I was still on my bike and took the time to congratulate myself of a brilliant career move.