Dornbush Ave officially has a 31.98% grade. That makes it the second steepest street in Pittsburgh, after Canton Avenue. However, Canton is only 460 feet long, while Dornbush is close to 1,330 feet. Dornbush is also tucked away in the East Hills of Pittsburgh. This area has a bad reputation for violence and drugs. At least that’s what you hear over and over on the evening news.
That stormy Tuesday night, me and three companions met at Bakery Square and made the two-mile trek to the base of Dornbush Ave. The worst thing we encountered was weeds overtaking the sidewalk on several occasions. Once we reached the base of the hill, we paused for a moment and the plunged up the hill. Dornbush is not like a playground slide. The steepness comes and goes as the ribbon of road lays on the hillside. On one side are stairs. Churn, churn, churn, I kept my legs moving, a 3/4 mile version of high-knees. About halfway up, my breathing grew ragged and my heart rate skyrocketed. Staggering over the lip of the hill, I came upon a neat little street with modest ranch houses and nice yards. There were a couple of kids riding bikes along the level top street. I made the left and went down Wilkinsburg Ave. This was pretty steep as well. The few people I saw sitting out on their porches were friendly. There was a man assiduously chopping at a downed tree in his big front yard. I ran up Dornbush four times, taking a new way down each time. One woman shouted out that I was so brave to run down that street. Another woman, taking the stairs said “Hi” and commented that she should run u[ the hill as well. The fourth time I passed the wood chopper he just paused and quizzically said,”Again?”
Finally, I finished. My knees and calves were aching. I waited a bit for Tom, while Amy and Carson had started their run back already. Tom went up five times. There was a sprinkle of rain and we zipped back towards Bakery Square.
Here’s a view going down Dornbush Ave from a driver’s perspective. I didn’t have the temerity to capture a video running up it. Anyway, on long steep streets like this, I typically look down and just keep going. Trying to see the top of a mountain you’re trying to overcome is a sure way to get overwhelmed.
It has been a few weeks or so since I last blogged. Sorry about that! As it is mid-way through March, I’ll just post all the February runs I’ve missed.
Run all the streets 0023
This was a run with Pro Bike from Church Brews Works, which was unfortunately closed that Monday. Nice run with fun folks.
Run all the streets 0024
Wednesday Night Run with Pro Bike
Run All The Streets 0029: Praying Mantis run
This was a short run in time and distance. I slugged up and down the broad hills of Beechwood Blvd, coming across a 25ft spruce snapped off a few feet from the ground by recent winds. It was still windy and on the cooler side. The itch to explore got the better of me and I finished off Phillips Avenue as it plunges toward Frick park, ending in a cul-de-sac. Then it was up to Beechwood and down into Forest Glen Road, another little hide-away making inroads into Frick Park. Both of these housing spurs had fairly nice houses, almost suburban, mid-70’s styles nestled down into the Park. As the trees and hills rise above you, it’s easy to believe you’re in the mountains somewhere.
Run All The streets 0030
This was another Wednesday run with Pro-Bike. I was very slow at first, but eventually gathered steam and picked up speed.
That’s all for February, folks! Thankfully, temperatures will start to warm up and it will be light later.
The Southside Flats is busy, and so was I. I needed to run. I needed to go to the gym. I wanted to meet up with someone. Hmm, how to do all of this on a Monday night in January? The Southside was the perfect place! I could run some flat streets, go to Ascend and meet up there! Genius, if I say so myself.
I must say, it did work out well. Zipping along Harcum Way, Jane Street and Mary Street certainly fit the bill for flat running. It was a few blocks off of Carson Street, so I didn’t have to jocky for sidewalk space with young bar hoppers. I did start going up and down the numbered streets and came upon an amazing zig-zag set of stairs, the 15th Street Stairs. Up for the challenge, I ascended them, crossed over a set of railroads tracks and ascended more stairs. This brought me up to Clinton Street – a little hook off of Pius Street. (Looking at this, I thought someone had just misspelled “pious” – but no, it seems “Pius” is Latin for “pious” and is a masculine given name. How about that!) Anyway, with time for running running short, I descended the next set of stairs, 18th Street, and galloped to Ascend.