When 300 cyclists gather in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 26 for the grueling Dirty Dozen, the event will in many ways be an exact repeat of a bizarre sufferfest that's been celebrated annually since 1983. The riders will climb greater Pittsburgh's 13 steepest hills, with race points going to the fastest 10 men and 5 women on each climb. Victory will go to whoever scores the most points, cumulatively, on all the hills. The whole chilly 50-mile escapade will last about five hours.
One thing will be different, though: the ride will be a fundraiser for race founder Danny Chew, who was paralyzed in early September.
This year's race director, Jonathan Pratt, expects to give about $10,000 in entry fees towards Chew’s recovery. "I've been Danny's friend for about 40 years," he says, "and he's in a real bind now." Chew needs to pay off over $15,000 in uncovered medical expenses, buy a handicapped-equipped vehicle, and pay for a $100,000-plus renovation of his Pittsburgh home.
A Dirty Dozen bike jersey with a picture of Chew is selling for $79.95, and a tribute T-shirt reading “Danny Chew Is My Spirit Animal” is available for $20. The proceeds from the sale of both shirts will go to Chew.
Supporters can also donate to a Youcaring.com website created by Chew's nephew, Stephen Perezluha, a 2011 Race Across America finisher.