After watching local crits and obsessively tuning in to all the grand tours, I finally got to experience my first pro race today. We headed down to Philadelphia early this morning for the famed TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship and promptly sought out the Manayunk Wall, a sustained climb that hits 17 percent at one point. We were fortunate enough to have passes to Fuji’s VIP tent (unlimited beer, grilled meat and free schwag!) where we waited for the brutal ascent to start claiming its victims.
The men’s field was strong, but what I really enjoyed watching was the women. The group remained pretty much intact on the first run. But after four more circuits, things got ugly, with riders shed off the back. I loved watching the racers’ boundless determination as they struggled through the pain. In the end, Ina Teutenberg (Team Specialized-Lululemon) and Alexander Serebryakov (Team Type 1 Sanofi) took the win.