Way over due but here it is, deets on the Third Annual Frigid Bitch! Pittsburgh’s own alley cat bike race put together via our very own Pittsburgh Babes on Bikes leader, Anna Lena! This was my second time completing this race and it was colder and more frigid than last years with wind speeds of up to 25mph and roads covered in snow and ice.
This year was the real deal! We had 41 riders showed up this year. As per usual we rolled up at the House of Ragging Women; grabbed our cards, maps and manifestos and began plotting routes for completing the most checkpoints in the shortest amount of time.
Just before the 2pm start mark we gathered up to listen to the rules:
- 6 regular checkpoints,
- 2 unmanned bonus checkpoints,
- and 1 secret checkpoint only known by the Ricketts Boys @ the double intersections of Stanton and McCandles
Regular checkpoints were opened til 4; racers had til 5pm to get back to the HoRW. Winners were determined by who hit up the most checkpoints and got back the fastest. Even if riding with teams, on the last stretch back it was every woman for themselves! After that we toss on our gear and rolled out to the start line at Bruce St.
On the mark, the whistle was blown and we were off! At the end of the street we start to see groups splitting off, some turning right and continuing down to Butler St. while others split left after that right turn.
Rundown of the Checkpoints:
First checkpoint up for my group: we rode up to Penn Ave., crossed it then rode down to Liberty Ave. connecting to S Aiken then to the bottom of Negley at Fifth Ave. After which we had to climb Negley to finish this first checkpoint, no one was happy about this climb! I ended up having to delayer some at this point – I was really prepared this year!
Next stop for us was one of the bonus spots: The Rubble of the Greenfield Bridge at the end of Pocusset. On the way there I totally hit some ice and slid a couple feet, luckily I was padded with clothing and my pannier caught most of the fall but I did have to reset my seat and my light holder busted. Missing the pic with me in it but here’s part of my group. Quick whiskey and vodka break 😛 then we headed out to the next point.
Next up: Joncaire @ Boundary St. where we had to start from the bottom then ride uphill on cobblestone to Iron City Bikes in Oakland in order to complete the checkpoint. I rode up about half the way before I had to pop off and walk the rest the way up.
Next stop: The Dead End of Romeo in South Oakland. It took our group a min to find this as we rode past the turning street and had to circle back.
Quick pause for some water, booze, and faux dogs on da grill after that we had to carry our bikes down the long staircase to Bates St. Here our group merged with some others and crossed paths with another going the opposite direction.
We then rode down Bates and popped over to the trail to downtown onto Grant St. It’s on the trail to town that I start to fall a bit behind, my smaller tires were not quite able to push through the fresh snow as fast as the others and by the time I got to the corner of Grant where the GLCC is located I lost sight of my group and noticed time was dwindling down. With only maybe 20-30 minutes left to either get over to the N Shore and N Side and get 1 or 2 more checkpoints but risk being late or head back with less checkpoints but on time, I made the decision to head back. I turned down Penn and rode back to the HoRW.
Check points I didn’t get to:
The Abandoned Barge on the North Shore Trail (marked with pink XXXs)
The Intersections of Stanton and McCandless – where the location of the secret checkpoint was revealed at which turned out to be Espresso A Mano on Butler St.
Commonplace Coffee at Buena Vista and Jacksonia over in the N Side
The other unmanned bonus checkpoint The Submarine at the Carnegie Science Center off the 3RHT
I was very glad that I decided to head back, I ended up being one of the first few back even though I didn’t hit up as many checkpoints as I would have liked (last year was against a smaller group and with less checkpoints so I was able to hit them all up and make it back in time). I still had a blast and met a lot of cool new friends. This year was also great because I lived closer to the start line and so when I got back I was able to head home, shower and put on clean, dry, warm clothes then head back over for the winner announcements, prizes and after party (so I def won there).
- multiple Chrome bags
- multiple tool rolls
- a certificate for a pair of DZR shoes
- a Surly women’s wool jersey
- Analog Forest’s Sparkle Pony jersey
- jerseys and shorts/bibs from Bicycle Times, Dirt Rag, Aerotech
- a 10 pack of spin classes from Steel Revolution
- wind jackets
- road shoes
- a giant pile of comic books from Phantom of the Attic
- lots of other goodies: locks, lights, computers, saddles, pumps, tires etc. from The Appalacian Bicycle Racing Association
- lots of saddle bag and bells
- a slew of handmade bikey candles from North Ave Candle company
- Garbella garments and handmade pins
- passes to the Wheel Mill
- a pile of socks
- a BikePGH membership in a bottle
- $300 in gift certificates to Free Ride
- winter gear
- bike magazine subscriptions
- many flasks
- tons of toe clips and a helmet from Iron City Bikes
- La Prima Espresso coffee
- random fun stuff from the Mattress Factory
- approx. a billion T Shirts and water bottles
Needless to say, regardless of where you placed, everyone went home with some swag!
Winners of this year’s Frigid Bitch:
This year was an absolute blast and I was so thrilled to see so many ladies that came out to race. Mad thanks to the volunteers who came out to support us with love, hand warmers, food and booze!