Tour de Pittsburgh: the Barbara Howe diary

November 11, 2005 - This past weekend (Lower Allen Classic and Highland Park cyclo-cross) was fun and all, but most of you have probably already know how the races went. Instead of a race report, this is a short story of the cool bike culture in Pittsburgh. Several years ago, during my first brief bout of road racing, I took part a few Wednesday evening training races held in the Pittsburgh Zoo parking lot. The races cost five or ten dollars (it was cheaper if you brought your own number) and I once won a Furtado Race Day saddle as a prime. It was about as comfortable as sitting on a brick but that prize was worth more than my entry fee so I spent over a year waiting for my butt to become used to it. (I never did get used to it; I eventually put it on an old mountain bike and sold it.)

The zoo extended their business hours into the night and the training races had to find a new venue. Then the city built the Pseudodrome, a half mile long oval track (called the Washington Boulevard Bike Oval) with oddly banked corners and hump in the middle. The Oval was built on the site where I took my driver's license test. You can still see the markings on the road where you had two chances to parallel park.

In Pittsburgh , most of rides were down scary roads rubbing elbows with heavy traffic. Until this trip; while waiting for Josh to drink his coffee at a local shop, I noticed a trail on a local map connecting a quiet road to the Oval. The trail was a short walk and we completely avoided the busy, glass-covered road. This was the perfect place to train in a controlled environment so we did. The Oval even has its own collection of venue records.

Read the entire Barbara Howe diary here.

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