Local bicyclists Wayne Anderson, John Yevuta, and former New Martinsville resident Eliot Rogers - who now lives in Pittsburgh - rode Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen bicycle race on Nov. 30. Named the "Rough Riders of Wetzel County" by Rogers, the trio acquitted themselves well. Anderson, co-owner of Eliza Street Bicycles with his wife Susan, rode in the top 20 throughout the race. Rogers, who had only been training for 90 days, used his unique training regimen to get in top shape and was able to complete all 12 hills without getting off his bike. Yevuta rode at the back of the pack and was happy to ride to the top of all but two hills.
The race is the brainchild of Danny Chew, two-time winner of the Race Across America, his brother Tom and Bob Gottileb. It encompasses 12 of the toughest and steepest hills in Pittsburgh with a total elevation gain of over 5000 feet in a 50 mile distance.
Riders regroup at the top of each climb before riding off to their next obstacle. Among the hills is Canton Avenue, the officially recorded steepest public street in the US at a grade of 37 per cent.
The first ten riders up each hill garner points for the overall standings and Anderson is already plotting a return to pick up some points. "It was fun. It was a challenge," he commented. "Anyone who wants to get a taste of what it's like could go over to Virginia Street with a grade of 31 per cent and try to ride to the top, then stop by the bike shop and I'll send him out on eleven more climbs.
"To get closer to the total experience," Anderson continued, "you'll need to stop at the top of each hill for 10 to 15 minutes in 30 degree temperature so that you approach hypothermia and then ride off to your next climb. "
Rogers sported number 304 on his jersey in honor of his home state's area code and was a crowd favorite with his infectious energy. He plans on riding throughout the Pittsburgh winter and will enter more events in 2014, with a return to the Dirty Dozen assured. Yevuta is unsure of his participation in next year's Dirty Dozen event.