Fun in the Sun

I rode roughly the first quarter of the Iron City Populaire yesterday, taking advantage of the fine spring weather. Some folks had grumbled on the Bike Pittsburgh message board that Kittaning Pike, out of Sharpsburg, looked long and steep. Upon further review, they are correct. It is a very nice climb–generally in the neighborhood of 8% gradient, with wide shoulders and little traffic. But it does kick back to double digit gradient in a few spots, and it is early in the season, so I’ve decided to have mercy, and I’ll adjust the route a bit. The course will probably continue through Sharpsburg, Aspinwall, and Fox Chapel, to Fox Chapel Road, then up Squaw Run to meet Dorseyville (the destination at the top of Kittaning Pike).


Dorseyville Road and Saxonburg Blvd. offer some of the finest riding just outside the city limits. Gently rolling terrain, nice scenery, moderate traffic. The final descent on Dorseyville to Saxonburg is also quite an eye-opener–relatively steep, with a few tight turns and dodgy tarmac. Good stuff. I was happy to be on the fat tires of the Cannondale. I looped back down Saxonburg to Harts Run, and climbed that back to Dorseyville (I pity the poor middle aged guy on the carbon bike who had a guy on a mountain bike with three speed bars, a saddlebag, and cutoff shorts breathing down his back). I’m still generally pleased with the Cannondale, though I think I’d still prefer Albatross bars over the North Roads, if only to be able to use bar-end shifters, rather than the thumbies I’m using now. I did a fair amount of out-of-the-saddle climbing, and while the bike is a bit on the sluggish side, it’s still not all that bad.

Hopefully this coming weekend I can do a full recce of the populaire course. I’m also considering perhaps riding the course backwards from Sewickley this Friday, but we’ll see how that shakes out.