And thus we approach the end of another Philly Week. Tomorrow will see an impressive array of domestic and international pros on the streets of Philadelphia. Oh, and there will be a couple of bike races, too. The Liberty Classic is the last race in Philly Week for the pro women and the last race for the men is known as the Philadelphia International Championship.
The Men's Pro Race
The men will race on a 14.4-mile circuit along the Schuykill River for ten laps. That means 10 climbs up the Manayunk Wall, which reaches grades of 17%. They will then finish with three smaller laps around Lemon Hill and Logan Circle, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (those of you who enjoy yelling "Sella!" will be inspired with another name here, I am sure). This brings us a total of 156 miles of racing. It'll bring successful racers the glory of a Philly Week win and a piece of the $55,250 purse. The start is listed for 9am, and the race is expected to finish somewhere around 2:30pm. Men's start list is here .
The Women's Pro Race
The pro women will race four laps of the same 14.4 mile circuit that the men do. Starting at 9:10am, they'll push hard until 11:30 or so for a total of 57.6 mles. The women's purse is $25,000. Women's start list is here.
Factors on the Course
The course is a relatively flat and fast circuit with one serious bump in the middle - that Manayunk Wall. And really, it's just a bump - not even a 250 foot elevation gain. Except that elevation gain happens in a lot less feet than you'd like, if you were riding it. The Wall isn't so much an opportunity for climbers (again, it's a very short part of the course) as a weapon for riders who are feeling strong to use against those that are with them, bludgeoning their competitors with it on each lap until they pop.
The finishing lap has a small, short, and much kinder climb up Lemon Hill, which may also act as a filter for those who are on the edge of blowing up near the end of the race. More likely, however, it'll just serve as an extra annoyance to those bigger riders who are ready to be done by that point in the day (hi, Maggie!).
One of the most significant factors on the course is going to be the weather - we're looking at sunny and an expected high of 97°F (that's 36°C for the rest of the world). I don't want to hear any of that "Oh, that'll be hard for the Europeans" crap - that'll be miserable for everybody.
How to Watch
No clear line on whether it'll be available as a live stream anywhere. Will update if I find anything.
Who To Watch
Go ahead, tell us. I'll check back in with my thoughts. But first I need to get to Philly.