After the Manayunk Wall (a 500m climb that tops out at 16% grade), the last 50 meters you’re grasping for whatever you can get! Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon, on the right), was able to dig a little bit deeper and pass Joelle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, on the left) to become the first American to win the Classic.
Jeff and I woke up bright and early on Sunday, the 2nd of June, to represent Villanova Cycling while volunteering at the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, a professional road race. We got up a little before 6am to ride over to the volunteer check in.
I was unaware that I’d have to ride up what is famed as the “Manayunk Wall,” a roughly 500 meter long ascent that averages around 8% and tops out at 16%. We were both really lucky to get the Course Marshalling spot right at the top of the climb, at the 50m to go banner.
The Women’s race was 5 laps – each lap was 12 miles long – climbing up the Wall each time! It was evident how much of a factor the wall was in the race, as the peloton shattered after the first lap, and some riders were already getting pulled.
The Men’s race was slated to go off at noon for 10 laps of the course bringing the total to 120 miles. The field was stacked with UCI Pro Continental and UCI Continental teams, including a few fresh off the Tour of California – looking to capitalize off their week of racing in similar, hot temperatures. The race went somewhat similarly to the Women’s where riders were getting shelled on the climb and getting pulled from the race.Parx Casino, Philly, Philly Cycling Classic, Specialized