Philadelphia Cycling Classic
Photos essay by Michaela Albanese
Intro by Anna Maria Diaz-Balart
Pretty Damned Fast exists to share the stories of inspiring women. But as important as the stories may be, the photos often carry more weight, and present the larger perspective. I recently had the opportunity to cover the Philadelphia Cycling Classic for Rapha. I got access to interviews with the team and it's directeur sportif Ronny Lauke. I got to hold on for dear life in the team car as we raced through the streets of Manayunk PA to catch the riders. It was truly something else to experience the pro race from an insiders perspective.
In deciding what to cover for PDF, I knew instantly I had to reach out to Michaela Albanese. A fellow UBI alum, and local Philadelphia racer for Team Laser Cats, I thoughts she'd have a unique perspective on the race. Unbeknownst to me, she lives on the actual race course, and had been spectating the women's race since she was nine years old. It is a powerful thing to watch the women's race change from an afterthought to the Women's World Tour feature. Because as Michaela grew up, so did the race. And the race that she dreamed of racing one day, is now packed with Olympic hopefuls and national champions.
For all thats changed in the race over the years, its profound how universal the experience of the sport is for women. The course was dotted by kitted out female spectators, taking a break from their Sunday rides. The pre race rituals, the laughs, the ubiquity of race braids, were familiar to any woman who's competed on a bike.
Within the story of the Philadelphia Cycling Classic you can find the entire story of women's cycling, and to cover the event with someone like Michaela was truly special. Its rare that women who race get the opportunity to publish photos of women's racing. We think there's nothing better, and hope you enjoy this gallery.