Eleanor, Steady on the Steep

Downtown Pittsburgh from Cobden St
Strava Cadence – straight as the South Side Flats

Not a long run, Just take Eleanor Street up from Josephine Street. If there are stairs, take ’em. If the hill is epic, keep your arms and legs going. Even six inches a stride if you need. Whatever you do, don’t stop (unless its to take pictures). Watch yourself coming down, that’s almost worse than going up. One trip and it’s tumble-sault time.

The graph above is from Strava and shows the distance along the bottom axis, the elevation along the left axis and three squiggly lines. The blue and dark purple lines are my actual pace and my “gap” pace (which takes the grade into account). The nice flat magenta line is my “cadence”. It is remarkably steady, but makes sense, given that I was trying to keep an even effort. I daresay the two sharp dips in cadence just after 0.5 miles and at 1.5 miles were picture-taking opportunities.

Downtown Pittsburgh from Cobden St
Great view from Cobden St on the South Side Slopes
View of Oakland from Keibe Way
Oakland from Keibe Way in South Side Slopes

Running up these streets always takes my breath away, both literally and figuratively. Eleanor St is incredibly narrow and steep. Starting from Josephine St, the pavement only goes a block before it gives up and becomes stairs for a tenth of a mile. That might not seem like much distance, but it is 282 steps according to Mis.steps (see Trip#212). Not willing to hit the steps just yet, I veered off onto Leticoe St, only to suffer Barry St and Holt St before rejoining Eleanor on the upper side of the stairs. Unwittingly, I was taking on the Twelfth Hill in the Pittsburgh Dirty Dozen. You might think it is the last one, but Pittsburgh is generous that way, there are thirteen hills in the Dirty Dozen. But I digress. This area has houses of all sorts of sharp angles, clinging to the hills, with decks and porches high in the air looking out toward Oakland or downtown. Cobden St ends at an overlook, where I took a picture and exchanged greetings with a woman sitting on her rocking chair. I always expect people to ask what the hell I’m doing, but in this case, she said that lots of people come there to take pictures. Ha!

I traveled a bit into Arlington, running the rest of Eleanor Street. I returned to the South Side Flats via the Eleanor Street stairs. On the way down, I kept an eye out for stairs and streets not taken. I’ll be making another appointment with South Side Slope streets soon!

Eleanor St Route: RATS 00071

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