...That was the theory, anyway. The astute reader, possessing even the most cursory knowledge of Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen, can probably guess how that turned out.
Myself, Scott, and Alan rode out from the Vault at the positively luxurious hour of 7:30 AM. We headed out along California through Bellevue, Avalon, and Emsworth (changing street names every three blocks or so), then picked up Rt 65 to Sewickley. I suppose we could have done the traditional route via McKees Rocks, Neville Island, and Coraopolis, but the McKees Rocks Bridge is closing in a few days anyway, so we might as well get used to alternate routes to that part of the world.
In Ambridge, we picked up the Red Belt and pushed our way out to Tarentum, then back towards town via Freeport Rd. Nice ride; average speed over 17 mph for the first 60 miles, which is a darn good pace for me (I tend more towards the "let's do 14-15 for the next 200 miles" school of ride pacing.) In Aspinwall, we hung the ralph on Center. I rapidly discovered that, yes Virginia, riding a spirited 65 miles first makes Center hurt a Whole Lot Worse than usual. I took it with my usual utter lack of aplomb, dropping into my bottom gear and creeping up the hill in nicely gastropodial (sic?) fashion. The usual *ahem* rollers *ahem* on the way to the plummet into Sharpsburg were also a bit painful...
In Sharpsburg, we paused to rehydrate at the Quicky-Mart clone on 4th. We ended up spending a few minutes assisting a gentleman named Dean, whose mountain bike was decidedly squishy in the rear-tire regions. Dean lacked tools and expertise, so we took the opportunity to dispense patch kits and tire-changing wisdom in roughly equal measure. Then, off to Ravine for another joyous ascent. Scott and Alan rapidly became dots on the hill in my star-spangled peripheral vision; I, on the other hand, decided to shoot for bare survival and a more *ahem* leisurely *ahem* cadence.
Appropriately enough, I chose to bury my plans for two more hills when I reached the cemetary at the top of the climb. It was hurting enough that, frankly, I doubted my ability to complete Berryhill and High without potentially doing damage to myself that would affect the impending 600K this coming weekend. Alan and Scott, strangely enough, didn't seem to mind the idea of skipping the last two hills in the least.
Scott set off for home; I took Alan down to at least see Berryhill and High, on the way back to town to meet the family for the Three Rivers Arts Festival.