And just to help the title reference along, check this out:
And it only got hotter as the race progressed. Make sure you've seen Part I (here), and then jump to the other side for the rest of the day's story, in (lots of) photos.
When last I left you, the fields had just made their first run through Manayunk. Manayunk, for those who haven't been, is a special place. It's local culture and a bike race, in equal measure. For our European readers, think Glasgow, but filled with English football fans. Different sports/beer, same result (if you listen to the hundred something cops that were posted in the area from 6am until the end of the day). In any event, it was a fun place to be early in the day - not so sure about later, though.
The famed Manayunk Wall is no joke. You come into the neighborhood after a long roll along a parkway, and the climb begins almost immediately after a 90 degree turn that scrubs all momentum.
This Is Manayunk
Making the Grade
Rahsaan Bahati feeling the heat
Team Type 1 rider hurting
Women's lead group
Lifeforce Rider working her way up the wall
Cheerwine's Robin Farina
One of the lucky few riders who's pain face looks a lot like a smile.
Team Juice Plus - Just Take It (Really. That's what it says.)
Not easy on your own
Pro. Team RACE Pro's Buck Miller looked up, saw a camera, and zipped up. Very pro.
Buck Miller cresting Manayunk
Looking up for Tecos
Henk "WTF am I doing on a hill?" Vogels
Cheerwine's Catherine Cheatley, another smiler
Water or Beer? I wouldn't take my chances, around here.
But she did.
And presumably, that's water.
Le Autobus - just wanting to get back
Up Lemon Hill
Young Tyler Farrar Fan
Colavitta-Sutter Home's Davide Fratinni, near locking up the KOM competition
Fancy a chat?
Jittery Joe's Neil Shirley working through the pack
Almost done - Rock Racing's Jeremiah Wiscovitch, looking for a pro bottle up the hill (but missing it).
A Bike Race in Philadelphia
Not feeling the heat
There's always a guy with drums. Always.
Work's not done, just because you quit the race. A Sparkasse rider who abandonded pulls double duty in the feed zone.
My next bike colors. These Team TIBCO bikes were sweet.
Team TIBCO out supporting 2nd place winner Brooke Miller. Team High Road (1st and 3rd places)? Back in the bus, I guess.
Brooke Miller hearing the announcer not just get her name, but also team, wrong.
Team TIBCO's Brooke Miller, 2nd place.
Ina Yoko-Tuetenberg rings the bell
Team High Road's Chantal Beltman - winner of the Liberty Classic
A length's difference between a bell and $5,000.
And with the end of the women's race, let's take a brief break for a few observations from special contributor Megabeth, outside the race course:
1) Blind item: Two Irish racers, dressed in race day gear enter the elevator. One of them sees that the other one is holding a full water bottle and says, "Where did you get the water?" 2nd racer, "In my room." 1st racer, with a look of "duh" on his face just let out a long, "oooooooh".
2) Crashes - Part I: Whilst checking out of the hotel, a rider was next to me with a beautiful arm wound. I looked over and said, "Ack. Nice rash. What lap you do that on?" He said, "The third." The hotel employee then said, after exclaiming she didnt even notice it before asked, "Did you have someone with you that could clean that for you?" He looked at her and said politely, "Yes. They already did."
3) Crashed - Part II: Crashes happened outside of the course. One of the shuttle buses going up to The Wall hit a Mr. Softee truck. It was everything in me to not say to the guy hearing the story, "Yeah, I saw it and when it happened I screamed." Get it? See that's why I didn't say it out loud...I didn't want to get kicked out of the VIP area. I had ice cream to eat!
4) The race hotel was being shared by a church convention. The church ladies were leaving right when the riders were making it back from the race. It was fascinating watching the women in sparkling, large hats in their Sunday best make sense of the lads and ladies in their colorful bike gear. Meanwhile, the lads and ladies in their bike gear were trying to make sense of the ladies in sparkling, large hats and colorful Sunday best. (Unfortunately, my pictures of this didn't come out to well.)
Back to the action:
This actually ends well.
Mike Steadman demos some trials moves for the crowd.
One benefit of half empty stands.
From the camera to the internet - covering the last breakaway (that's Symmetric's Svien Tuft in the middle)
As Seen on TV!
On Point - a fan waits for the peloton to approach Logan Circle
Maggie Done. Backstedt abandoned after an amazing solo attack that animated the peloton, but broke him.
Finish line fans
Coming back together
Two To Go
Patience for position
Coming in for the last kilometer
Final Sprint - about 50 meters out
Every one of them thinks they can win this sprint. (This one is worth viewing large .)
CSC's Matti Breschel (center) watching Health Net's Kirk O'Bee's wheel
But Matti Breschel takes it at the line. Kirk O'Bee second, Freddie Rodriguez third.
A bit of celebration. Team High Road's Bernard Eisel took fourth, with Kelly Benefits' Alex Candelario in fifth.
Slipstream's Tyler Farrar and Toyota United's Dominque Rollin
Yuri Metluschenko (Amore & Vita) very nearly hits the deck when tangling with some television cables. Also? That man is *huge*.
Also very Pro - Ivan Dominguez takes time to pose with a fan right after the race.
Not a SRAM advertisement.
Kelly Benefits' Martin Gilbert did a number on his bike.
Brad Huff cooldown.
Channel 6 reporter, just before she cursed her crew because she didn't know what was going on.
Breschel enjoying his biggest win
Not bad for a week's work. $20k in winnings.
Talking about bouncing off Kirk O'Bee wheel near the end.
Kirk O'Bee happy that that bounce wasn't too hard.
CSC's Matti Breschel
Packing up for the drive to the upcoming Nature Valley stage race (in Minnesota)
Packing up for the transatlantic flight home.
-Mark Blacknell for PodiumCafe