Dirty Dozen (bicycle competition)

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The Dirty Dozen
Race details
Date Late November
Region Western Pennsylvania, United States
Discipline Road race
Type One-day
First edition 1983 (1983)
Editions 34 (as of 2016)[1]
First winner  Danny Chew (USA)
Most wins  Steve Cummings (USA)
11 times
Most recent  Ian Baun (USA)

The Dirty Dozen is a one-day road cycling race in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, held annually on the first Saturday following the Thanksgiving holiday in November.[2] The event is contested over a 50-mile (80 km) course that features 13 of the steepest hills in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.[3][4]


The Dirty Dozen was founded in 1983 by brothers Tom and Danny Chew and their friend Bob Gottlieb,[5] in an attempt to find and ride the steepest hills in Pittsburgh.[6] Five riders participated in the first edition, though only three finished.[7] The race has been held every year since 1983—except 1993. In 1984, the Dirty Dozen was contested twice: once in January and once in October.

The 2016 edition of the race was the first in which co-founder and promoter Danny Chew did not participate.[8] He broke his neck in a cycling crash in September 2016 and suffered permanent paralysis.[9] Chew provided live commentary during the race via videolink, and the event itself served as a fundraiser for Chew's ongoing care and rehabilitation.[10][11]


Competitors ride between hills at a neutral pace, and a whistle signals the rolling start of each hill.[5] The top male and female riders on each hill score points, with the first place male rider scoring 10 points and the tenth place receiving 1 point.[12] Only the first five women score points,[13] although the men and women ride together. The final standings are established by cumulative points throughout the event.[14] In order to qualify as a finisher, riders must complete each hill in the event without losing forward progress or dismounting from the bicycle. If a rider fails to maintain forward progress, he or she must descend to the bottom of the hill and ride to the top under their own power.[12]


View from the top of one of the Dirty Dozen climbs, Canton Avenue

The original Dirty Dozen route included 12 climbs, and there have been as many as 15, but since 1988 the race has typically featured the same baker's dozen of 13 hills.[4] The course begins at the Bud Harris Cycling Track in Highland Park[15] and finishes at the top of Tesla Street in Hazelwood,[16] crossing 87 intersections in the city and nearby suburbs.[12] 2016's version substituted Lawrenceville's Christopher Street for a seasonally closed Berryhill Rd.


  1. Center Ave./Guyasuta Rd. in Aspinwall
  2. Ravine St./Sharps Hill in Sharpsburg
  3. Berryhill Rd. between Saxonburg Blvd. and Middle Rd. in O'Hara
  4. High St./Seavy Rd. in Etna
  5. Logan St. in Millvale
  6. Rialto St. across from the 31st Street Bridge
  7. Suffolk/Hazleton/Burgess streets on North Side
  8. Sycamore St. on Mt. Washington
  9. Canton Ave. in Beechview
  10. Boustead St. in Beechview
  11. Welsh Way on the South Side
  12. Barry/Holt/Eleanor streets on the South Side
  13. Flowers Ave./Tesla St. in Hazelwood [17]


  1. ^ "Annual Dirty Dozen Race Continues After Founder's Injury". CBS Local. CBS Local Media. November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  2. ^ Hamill, Sean D. (November 28, 2015). "Dirty Dozen bike race helps Pittsburgh live up to its quirky reputation". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  3. ^ Kambitsis, Jason (December 1, 2010). "The Steepest Road On Earth Takes No Prisoners". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Hamill, Sean D. (November 27, 2011). "Defying the Dirty Dozen: Cyclists take on steepest of Pittsburgh's steep hills". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Reid, Liz (November 27, 2013). "Going Up: Dirty Dozen Bike Race Rides Again This Weekend". 90.5 WESA. Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  6. ^ Price, Karen (November 28, 2010). "Pittsburgh cycling diehards attack 'Dirty Dozen'". Trib Live. Trib Total Media, LLC. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  7. ^ Steelhammer, Rick (November 28, 2013). "Wetzel County bicyclists take part in Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  8. ^ Wardle, Lisa (November 26, 2016). "Dirty Dozen: Hundreds race up Pittsburgh's steepest hills as founder sits in rehab". PennLive. PA Media Group. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  9. ^ Hamill, Sean D. (November 27, 2016). "Dirty Dozen race honors co-founder Danny Chew". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  10. ^ Rothmeyer, Brett (November 30, 2016). "America's Wildest Grassroots Race Finds a Bigger Purpose". Bicycling. Rodale Inc. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  11. ^ Fontaine, Tom (November 26, 2016). "Dirty Dozen cycling challenge hits 13 steep hills around Pittsburgh". Trib Live. Trib Total Media, LLC. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Carpenter, Mackenzie (November 25, 2012). "With grit, sweat they tackle 'em -- the Dirty Dozen". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  13. ^ Donahue, Bill (November 22, 2016). "Cycling Toward Recovery". Outside. Mariah Media Network, LLC. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  14. ^ Reid, Liz (December 1, 2013). "Hill After Hill, Hundreds Crank Away In Pittsburgh Bike Race". npr.org. NPR. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  15. ^ Reid, Liz (December 2, 2013). "After Three Decades of the Dirty Dozen, Competition Is Tougher Than Ever". 90.5 WESA. Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  16. ^ Reid, Liz (November 28, 2016). "Record Turnout At This Year's Dirty Dozen Bike Race". 90.5 WESA. Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  17. ^ "The Hills". Retrieved 2016-11-02.

External links

  • "The Dirty Dozen" – Official event website
  • "Riding Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen" – from Bicycle Times Magazine
  • "The Dirty Dozen: A Stupendous Bike Ride" from WQED (YouTube link)
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