I don't know about you, but I love Rocky. I mean LOVE love him. He's the most optimistic and humble sonofabitch on the planet. Sure, he's not really on the planet because he is a fictional character.... or maybe he is because I carry that character in my heart and I am on this planet. Hmmmmm..... excuse me, it's getting deep in here. Since I have grown up loving all of the Rocky movies I have seen Philadelphia's landscape many times, but have never physically been there... until now. The drive from New York City to Philadelphia was free of traffic and relaxing (please note sarcasm). In addition to Todd Danger, I brought Mike, of the Good Food fame, and his friend Matt along to Philly. NYC and Philadelphia isn't that far away from each other, it's just that there are millions and millions of people in between and that day it seemed they were all out on the road. Also, we were riding that heat wave so that made sitting in a black RV that much more enjoyable (again with the sarcasm). Once we got to Philly, I noticed the streets were just like what I thought Boston's streets would be, brick and narrow. At times I had to hop up on the sidewalk just so I could make it through. I could feel the boys cringing in the back, thinking we were going to hit something, but sistas are doing it for themselves. "Chill out dudes, I got this".
Our first stop was the Atlantis, the Lost Bar because we heard it was a dog friendly joint and boy, was that an understatement. There were dogs sitting at the bar, dogs laying on the floor, and dogs playing poker in the back. I always wondered where that went down. Now I know, the Lost Bar. I think it's important to feel so incredibly hot so you can truly appreciate the feeling of being cool. Not cold, but cool. In this day and age it's something we take for granted and I definitely was one of those people. During the sumer the rest of the country is COOKING, back home in Portland, we are staying in the 80's. After we had some time cool down, Mike and Matt went off with their 9 fingered friend to go wreak secret havoc on the city. Todd and I met up with his pal, Jorge from Time Cycle, who was putting us up for the duration of our stay and after we got our things situated we headed over to Pizza Brain for some eats. The place is not only a pizza joint, but also a museum of pizza related relics. Of course Ninja Turtles stuff was there. I was stoked to see Kraang in there. "SHREDDER!" Just imagine me saying that in Kraang's voice. Nailed it.
After a night of hot sleep in Chrome One, we were ready to see the sights. Todd used to live in Philly so the first place he wanted to take me was Time Cycle Couriers. We were staying in the Kengsinton/Fish Town area of Philly and the ride there was scattered with brick streets that are reminiscent of the Paris-Roubaix. I'm no Tom Boonen, but I crushed it. We went through what looked like a back alley, but then again a lot of streets in Philadelphia look like they are just alleys. Someone told me that Thomas Jefferson helped design the streets in Philly and if that's the case, dude was hitting cheeba a little too hard. Every one knows Jefferson grew fields and fields of the chronic. It would be silly to think he didn't use it recreationally.
We walked into Time Cycle and the first thing I see is, BLAM, pinball. Three machines lined up and one of the games was NBA FastBreak and after playing it, I would put it right up there with Spiderman pinball. Hella fun. The back playfield has a hoop and a little dude trying to block your shot. It was also free play making it even better. I liked Time Cycle right away and it's owner, Eric Nordberg. He said he had about 25 machines and would swap them out occasionally. The machines are the first thing you see when you walk into TC, but as you make your way into the office you notice the walls are plastered with old posters, pictures, and such. Todd Danger used to work for them. See him up there? Right next to the infamous Sharky's worn cog.... no excuse me, hammered on cog. Look at that thing!
On Friday, Todd and I braved the heat and rode around a bit. Philly isn't the best city for driving that huge thing around so we traveled on our bikes, like we normally do. After some food at Blackbird Pizzeria, we hit up Bicycle Revolutions and of course Todd knew most of the people in there. I was amazed at how clean the repair area was and stoked that they had not one, but two shop dogs. The place has a really good vibe and any pals of Todd is a pal of mine. In the photo cluster above I put in a picture of a horse in the alley. The picture seems out of place, doesn't it? Well, so did the horse in the alley. For the last 100 years there has been stables in the Fletcher Street region. The area since has hit the skids, but organizations like Fletcher Street Urban Riding struggle to maintain that legacy. The pictures on their website are of horses being ridden bareback by people in street clothes in the city. It's a bit surreal. This horse was getting hosed down because it was too hot to do anything other than get hosed down. Later that night we had a Collection Session at Bubba's Texas BBQ. It was the race registration for the RockyXI Race and Dailey, this year's organizer, was nice enough to let us set up and collect some artifacts.
Saturday was race day.
As someone who has organized many races, it was really nice for me to just sit back and watch everyone else do the work. A group of NYC kids came, Squid too, so we had a pretty solid group of people to hang out with. Todd and I posted up at a couple of check points so we could take it all in. The whole time we were waiting for the race to start, bus load after bus load of people showed up to get their picture taken with the Rocky statue, most of them posing like the woman you see above. I guess I'm not the only one who loves Rocko. Once the race started it was a sprint up the same stairs Rocky ran up in the movie, to collect a number for which check point you wanted to go to, then down the stairs, and then a sprint on their bikes several blocks down to Love Park where their teammate was waiting to get the slip and then off they go off to their destination. So on and so forth. It was pretty entertaining. As the race wore on, Todd and I headed to the finish line so we could see who would take the W. Like a repeat of Rumble Through the Bronx in New York, Crihs won again this time along with is teammate TJ. As other racers crossed the finish the party started to ramp up and it wasn't long before Corey had his pants off and was yelling at people. I hear that's his thing. We hung out for awhile, but the call of the open road beckoned. The next stop was Austin and there was 1,700 miles we needed to make it through before we got there. Time was of the essence so before more clothes came off we said our "so longs" to our hosts and headed out for the long stretch that laid ahead of us. Thank you, Philly. I truly felt your brotherly love.