Okay, so everyone was yakking

Okay, so everyone was yakking about Lance at the Tour de Georgia, but this is the best week of cycling in the USA, year in and year out. In 1991 a friend and I drove cross country to see the USPRO championships in Philly. We arrived at about 6 AM after driving 13 hours from Michigan, scarfed some pancakes, and rode part of the course. At one point we flew past a bored looking cop who kept repeating “Off the road….off the road….off the road….” We didn’t comply.

We spent the day watching the peloton blow past, and chasing them to another point where we could watch some more. The only part of the course that was really off limits was the infamous Manayunk Wall. It was fenced off and bordered by thousands of rapid, drunk fans. Watching riders climb the Wall was sobering. It’s steep. Way steep. And most were pedaling at speeds more suitable for flat terrain. Even after nine laps of the course, speeds on the Wall didn’t drop.

Michel Zanoli won that year — his Dutch Tulip team, which included American Joe Parkin, was the strongest in the peloton. They put the hammer down all day long, and after he flatted minutes from the finish dragged him back to the front of the pack for a solid lead out.

If you’re in Philly Sunday, go. It’s a great event even for non-cyclists.

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