The Manayunk Wall

With a 17 percent grade, thousands of spectators, and one of the best pro fields on U.S. shores, it's no wonder the Wall makes Philly police nervous

Riders on the Manayunk Wall

Riders on the Manayunk Wall    Photo: BarnyardBBS/Flickr

In the grandest traditions of commerce and American bike racing, this race has held many names in its 28-year history. These days, it's a mouthful: TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship. Or otherwise, the Philly Race.

Racing on the 14.4-mile main circuit, which the men's field completes 10 times, kicks off at 10:45 A.M. and draws a crowd of around 300,000. The place to be is on the Manayunk Wall, a half-mile climb with cobble stone sections and grades as steep as 17-percent. In 2011, Philly police warned revelers that they wouldn’t tolerate excessive rowdiness. The cops have plenty to manage: Frat-party style drinking, fans dousing riders with booze, viking costumes, and plenty of house parties. Order a pint at O’Brien’s Watering Hole, at 320 Lyceum Ave., on The Wall, site of a sprinkler to cool riders. The actual racing is pretty good, too: the UCI gives the Philly Race a “1.HC” designatation, the highest category for a bike race short of a world championship or grand tour. The winner nets $13,500; you get an early-evening hangover. June 3, 2012, procyclingtour.com

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