Local/State

Cyclists compete in annual bike race through Phila.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The best cyclists in the world biked their way around the streets of Philadelphia in the 28th annual TD Bank International Championship and Liberty Classic.

It is the largest single-day bike race in the country, but before the pros took the course for the T.D. Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship and Women's Liberty Classic, amateurs tested their cycling strength against the challenging 17-degree climb up the Manayunk Wall.

Frank Fendler took on the challenge of climbing the wall. He was also one of several amateur cyclists who were welcomed to test the course before the professional race got underway.

"It was pretty tough, but I'm thinking a couple beers at the end is going to get me to the top and pull me up," said Fendler.

Beer was also enough to motivate some attendees to get up at 6:30 a.m. People lined the streets early to get a good spot along the race course.

Following the race was the main focus for first time spectator Michael Keller. He grabbed a front row seat with his dad, saying that watching the pros tackle the course is awe-inspiring.

"So good - such good athletes. The women are great and the men are great too," said Keller.

"It's fun to see the guys come out and try, and we have a big party. It's a good social thing," said Chante Rodenas.

It's a spectacular social event that even our four-legged friends didn't want to miss.

For some, the party could slide into Monday.

"We're all graduating, so this is like our last-hoorah," said Carly Kindbom.

"This party is about celebrating friendship, enjoying a great day in Manayunk, and enjoying the bike race," said Bob Hurley.

It's a full day of fun that many local restaurant owners are hoping to cash in on.

"I hope we sell out," said George Bulle. "I got two kids I'm trying to put through college."

Spectators at the event have been known for rowdy behavior but some residents say Sunday's scene seemed more tame than in years past.

"It's calmed down over the years. Every year it gets better," said Brandon Wisniewski.

Despite what some say, uniformed and plain clothed police officers will be on hand, for the second year in a row, to help keep things under control.

For race complete results visit procyclingtour.com

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philadelphia, manayunk, roxborough, local/state
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