Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Iron Hill Twilight Crit

I knew I had to post about this before all of the little details fell away from my mind.  You know that summer is well under way when the Crit comes to town.  I believe this race first took place here in 2004, but I didn't make it a point to go until three or so years ago (mostly because my friend Mark told me I was CRAZY for not going).  Basically, it's "just" a bike race, but it's pretty intense.  A tight loop is created from Gay St., Church St., Market St., and Matlack St., and the women sprint 36 times around this loop and the men 46 times.  Did I mention it's intense?  My thighs ache just watching these cyclists--it's totally incredible. Anyway, the pix speak for themselves.  This ain't your mama's Saturday morning spin class, people.

Walking to the center of the race, we passed through an intersection that's typically JAMMED with cars ... only this evening it was turned into a giant driveway for "free chalk art."  Normally, if you sat in the middle of Market St. like that, you would be promptly run over by a) a SEPTA bus; b) some hot-shot lawyer in his BMW; or c) a twenty year old Honda driven by a texting-crazed undergrad.  So, this was a nice change.  And I think the kids loved it.

I missed the men's amateur race, which I felt bad about since one of my neighbors competed in it. (He finished ninth despite getting caught in a crash at one point--not too bad, right?)  The women raced next.

Omg, they are so fast it's absurd. I just don't get how you train your thighs and butt to do that.  It's insane.  You would think that it gets boring watching everyone speed by 36 times, but it doesn't.  As it winds down to the last five laps, it gets so exciting.

*Footnote*  Not to be all stalkery, but I think her outfit is adorable: LOVE big flares with platform wedges! Love love love!
Hi there!

That's not a creepy stranger taking pictures of me and Ron across the street--it's my mom! Hi Mom!
Then, the professional men's race begins literally as the last woman crossed the finished line.  Seriously, not even a moment to catch your breath (and I found myself holding my breath quite a bit at this event).

And they're off!  The women zoomed by so fast, but the men? Holy crap, it was almost frightening how fast they sped by. Seriously, if your elbow or (God forbid) your face was hanging one inch too far over the white railing, you risked having it wiped right off by one of the cyclists.  What's even scarier is that it's not abnormal for these guys to wipe out while going around the corners. We saw one wipe-out from afar, but most times these guys and gals pick right up and keep going.

When they rush by, it literally feels like a box fan blowing in your face.

That girl in the top window has the right idea.

Straw bales on the corner for potential crashes.  I didn't realize that this stretch of Matlack St. was an upward incline until race day.

A perfect night for a rooftop table on Market St.

I wonder if it's more or less exciting to watch the race from above?  Being on the ground is pretty exhilarating.

At this point in the race (probably eight laps left at this point), I realized, "Oh, so this is why it's called the Twilight Criterium!"

It was so cool to take pictures at the race because I had to pay so much attention to my shutter. Typically, I keep the camera on the aperture-priority setting and simply take pictures with a preferred depth of field (ideally) without blurriness. This time, for most of the event there was plenty of light--but not super bright light--so I could mess around with the settings and make the shutter the priority.  For once, I wanted things to blur in order to emphasize (rather: simply to portray) the speed of the cyclists.

And FINALLY, there is a new gelateria in town.  Sprazzo closed three years ago, and although there are lots of ice cream places, there's no place like a gelateria.  Ron had dark chocolate and cookies and cream, I had mint chocolate chip and cookies and cream, and my mom had (plain and simple): lemon.

I hate saying this, but I feel like summer is officially on the wane now that the race is over, sorta like when Halloween is over and you (or maybe it's just me) wake up on November 1st to ... well, Christmas.  I was at Target last night around 930pm when the store was pretty dead.  I strolled through all of the back-to-school stuff and thought, "How can this be?  Are we that far away from Memorial Day?"  Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on it.  It was a terrific race night--there's plenty of summer remaining!


Erin S said...

You captured some amazing pictures of the race!!! I am very impressed.
On another (and potentially more important) note, where is the new gelateria?!?

Linda C said...

The West Chester Twilight Criterium was awesome! The new Gelateria is on Gay Street, same block as Doc's, but on the other side of the street. A bit pricey but oh so good.

Jo Harper said...

It's called D'Ascenzo's but I couldn't find a website for them ...