Marti Shea wins record fourth Hillclimb, 11th race overall

42nd Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb

– Marti Shea wins record fourth Hillclimb, 11th race overall
– Ebsen tops Cogburn to take Mt. Washington debut

August 16, 2014

PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. – Marti Shea of Marblehead, Mass., dominated once again and John Kronborg Ebsen of Denmark delivered an impressive effort in his first look at the mountain, as the two riders rode to victories in tough weather conditions in the 42nd Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb on Saturday.

As has been the case nearly every other time she has raced here, Shea sped away from the other women in the field at the start and rode behind only the strongest men. She eventually finished in one hour six minutes and one second – two minutes shy of her best time here, but an emphatic victory in typically bad Mt. Washington weather. Ebsen closely followed Cameron Cogburn, the two-time defending champion, for the first five miles of the 7.6-mile race, then surged ahead in the final two miles to win in 52 minutes 53 seconds.

In this grueling climb to the 6,288-foot summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Shea’s time placed her 17th overall and nearly eight minutes ahead of her nearest challenger, as she became the first woman to win the Hillclimb four times. Previously she had been tied with Aimee Vasse with three wins apiece. It was the 11th overall race win on the Mt. Washington Auto Road for Shea, who also has won Newton’s Revenge – a July race on the same route – seven times.

Shea hoped to finish the climb in under 65 minutes, but the cold and windy weather got in the way of that plan. The temperature was just over 40 degrees and winds about 35 miles per hour for a wind chill factor of 25 degrees when the top riders reached the summit.

“Down below, the weather was good,” said Shea, “But around four miles the wind started, and then it was off and on – a side wind, then a head wind. I was losing body temperature. There have been a few races here with conditions like this, but this may have been the worst I’ve seen. Anyway, I’m happy about my fourth win.”

Silke Wunderwald, 42, of Hopkinton, R.I., won this race last year when Shea was occupied with coaching and leading cycling tours in Europe. This year she followed Shea at a respectful distance, taking the runnerup spot in 1:13:55. Stefanie Sydlik, 29, of Cambridge, Mass., was third in 1:16:39. Fourth place went to Elizabeth McClintock, 51, of Wellesley, Mass. Alexa Gubinski, 26, of Fairfield, Conn., was fifth in 1:20:30.

For most of the race, Coburn, 28, a professional cyclist on leave from graduate studies in astrophysics at M.I.T., led a string of riders. The 25-year-old Ebsen, fellow Mt. Washington first-timer Eneas Freyre of Norwalk, Conn., 38, and Eric Follen, 39, of Sanford, Maine, a two-time runnerup here, rode in a peloton-like line from the early going until where the Auto Road turns to dirt above the tree line. Ebsen, however, also a pro cyclist, had recently beaten Cogburn in a race in Taiwan, and his first attempt on Mt. Washington was well calculated.

“I knew I should follow Cameron,” said the winner. “He’s a really strong rider. When it got steep, then I would go.” Ebsen began pulling away before the six-mile mark, extended his lead, and won in a time of 52 minutes and 53 seconds, 57 seconds faster than Cogburn.

“I knew his strategy,” said Cogburn, who had won each of his previous four races up the Auto Road — a pair of wins in Newton’s Revenge (2012 and this year) to go with the two Hillclimb triumphs. “He sat on my wheel for 39 minutes.” Because he has expressed a hope of beating the course record at Mt. Washington – 49:24, ridden in 2002 by Tour de France rider Tom Danielson – Cogburn reckons that other riders will often pace themselves by following him.

He commented that he was feeling less than one hundred percent, having recently returned from hard training with his team in the Rockies. “But I kind of like this weather,” he added. “You’re racing up this road, and clouds come at you.”

Freyre rode strongly to third place in 54:11, while Mt. Washington veteran Philip Wong, 34, of Northborough, Mass., overtook Follen in the final mile to take fourth in 54:23, with Follen three seconds behind.

The first New Hampshire finishers were Alec Babala, 23, of Nashua, and Christine Jankins, 50, of Hampton. Wearing the team jersey of the cycling club at Rhode Island School of Design, where he graduated this year, Babala placed 15th overall with a time of 1:05:25. Jankins finished in 1:30:06.

Babala found today’s weather the worst he has encountered in his four races up the mountain. “I was underdressed,” he said. “I should have been wearing arm warmers.” Above the tree line, he and all the other riders were battered by the wind while simultaneously riding into a cloud cover that had settled on the upper slopes. “I couldn’t see anything,” he continued. “I just heard breathing behind me for a while, and then I didn’t hear it, so I knew I was pulling away from somebody. And I could hear bells through the fog. That kept me going.”

Babala had hoped to finish the ascent in an hour, but, like most riders in the field, he found the conditions difficult. “Every turn in the road, you just have to keep going. Press on the pedals. My chain kept slipping, and my cadence was off.” Even so, he was pleased that his time today was his fastest ever for this climb. “Overall, it was a good day.”

In all, 517 cyclists finished the race, including two unicyclists and three tandem teams. The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb serves as the primary fundraising event for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H. The Center offers classes, workshops, excursions and other lessons in the workings of the natural world. Information about educational programs, camps and other activities at Tin Mountain is available at www.tinmountain.org.

 

COGBURN AND WUNDERWALD PEDAL FASTEST TO THE TOP

An M.I.T. graduate student in astrophysics and a research chemist showed today that scientific careers have not hampered their bicycling abilities. Cameron Cogburn, 27, of Cambridge, Mass., and Silke Wunderwald, 42, of Hopkinton, R.I., took the top prizes today in the 41st annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, a 7.6-mile all-uphill race to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States.

Cogburn, a former professional rider who returned to amateur status to concentrate on his studies, blasted off the starting line at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and led a pack of six riders for the first two miles before pulling away and pedaling solo to a finishing time of 50 minutes 48 seconds. That time was nearly two minutes faster than last year, when he first won this race, and within sight of the course record 49:24, set in 2002 by Tour de France racer Tom Danielson.

“I know I could get the record,” said Cogburn after reaching the 6288-foot summit of Mt. Washington. “It’s a matter of losing a couple of pounds. But last week I went to Leadville” – a 100-mile bike race at high altitude in Colorado, where Cogburn finished fourth – “and I suffered a bit at 12,000 feet! I’m happy with today.”

Cogburn’s closest pursuer was 23-year-old Erik Levinsohn, a first-year Yale medical student with extensive bike-racing success in New England. “My plan was to stay with Cameron as long as possible,” said Levinsohn. “But that was for only two and a half miles! The finish was a long way coming after that.” Levinsohn finished in 53:29. Third place went to Jeremiah Bishop, 37, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 54:24.

One of the country’s most accomplished mountain bike racers, Bishop was testing himself on the Auto Road’s 12 percent grade for the first time. “This is a spectacular place to ride,” he said at the windswept summit, as he and Cogburn wrapped themselves in blankets against the 30-mph winds, and compared notes. “For a hillclimb, I don’t know anything quite like it.” Bishop added that he and Cogburn would meet again the next day in the Hampshire 100, a 100-mile off-road race near Greenfield, N.H. “I feel like this’ll warm me up for tomorrow.”

Wunderwald pumped her fist as she sailed through the finish in one hour 9 minutes 56 seconds, a welcome improvement on her Mt. Washington debut last year, when she finished third in 1:10:47.

“The lesson I learned last year,” she said, “was, Don’t go out too hard!” Like many Mt. Washington racers before her, she discovered that the only way to ride well on the Auto Road is to concentrate on pacing, not on the competition.  As her fellow winner Cogburn put it, “You have to stay within your limits and not think about the other riders.”

A native of the Lake Constanz region of Germany, Wunderwald moved to the U.S. twenty years ago and works in research and development with Pfizer in Groton, Ct. She began competitive cycling in 2006 and in the last two years has focused on hillclimbs. The women’s runnerup was 28-year-old Stefanie Sydlik of Cambridge, Mass., in 1:12:59. Third was Line Lauritsen, 31, of McHenry, Maryland, in 1:14:33.

In a field of 504 finishers, the first New Hampshire riders to reach the top of Mt. Washington were Douglas Jansen, 50, of Pelham, placing 18th overall in 1:05:12 and Christine Jankins, 49, of Hampton, 237th overall in 1:30:56.

For their victories, Cogburn and Wunderwald won $1500 apiece.  All proceeds from the race benefit the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H., which offers classes, workshops, camps, excursions and other lessons in natural history and the environment.

TOP MEN
1.  Cameron Cogburn, 27, Cambridge MA     50:48
2.  Erik Levinsohn, 23, Williamstown MA    53:29
3.  Jeremiah Bishop, 37, Harrisonburg VA    54:24
4.  Ryan Miller, 22, Corvallis OR     55:23
5.  Chris Carr, 30, Golden CO      56:52
6.  Timothy Ahearn, 39, Woodstock CT   56:55
7.  Sean McCarthy, 29, Amherst MA    58:38
8.  William Cooper, 25, Philadelphia PA   59:35
9.  Chris Yura, 34, Bryn Mawr PA    59:54
10. Nate Whitman, 38, Los Angeles CA  1:00:12

TOP WOMEN
1.  Silke Wunderwald, 42, Hopkinton RI   1:09:56
2.  Stefanie Sydlik, 28, Cambridge MA  1:12:59
3.  Line Lauritsen, 31, McHenry MD   1:14:33
4.  Kristen Gohr, 43, Reading MA  1:15:06
5.  Patricia Karter, 57, Milton MA  1:20:57
6.  Elizabeth Bove, 42, Woodstock CT  1:21:53
7.  Kelley Fitzgerald, 47, Woburn MA  1:24:28
8.  Michelle Vuolo, 41, Stow MA   1:25:09
9.  Susan Lucek, 53, Tolland CT   1:25:20
10. Margaret Thompson, 59, Clinton NY  1:25:32

 

See Complete 2013 Results

Young riders highlight race’s and sponsor’s focus on education and the outdoors

August 16, 2013 – Pinkham Notch, N.H.

For four decades the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb has attracted Olympic competitors, highly ranked amateurs of road and mountain bike racing, aspiring young professional cyclists aiming to demonstrate their climbing prowess, and extreme athletes of many stripes who are looking for a new challenge. They battle the Auto Road’s relentless 12 percent grade and Mt. Washington’s high winds in order to climb 4707 feet to the mountain’s summit, at 6288 feet the highest peak in the northeastern U.S.

The Hillclimb also attracts riders who just look like, well, children.

Don’t be fooled. They ride hard, they’re experienced, and they are fun to watch.

One young rider at Mt. Washington has become a familiar face at major competitions from coast to coast. He is 14-year-old Jonah Thompson of Albuquerque, N.M., who first raced in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb at the age of nine – four years younger than the next-youngest person in the race – and placed 442nd out of nearly 600 finishers. Last year he finished in one hour 22 minutes 39 seconds, placing 149th overall and fifth in the Junior age group, which was otherwise filled with 17- and 18-year olds.

Earlier this summer, Thompson competed in Newton’s Revenge, the other race held each summer on this same all-uphill course, and finished 23rd overall among nearly 200 riders, in a time of 1:15:25. Now nationally known as a highly talented and competitive road and off-road bicycle racer, Thompson placed fourth among in the Junior division last month in the Pike’s Peak Cycling Hillclimb in Colorado.  (The Pike’s Peak race represents an altitude gain similar to that at Mt. Washington, but extended over 12 miles and with some downward dips in the course. Pike’s Peak is at a higher altitude, but Mt. Washington is considerably steeper.)

The youngest rider entered in this year’s Hillclimb is 11-year-old Maria Goodwin of Chocorua, N.H.  Goodwin, a sixth grader at Kenneth A. Brett School in Tamworth, N.H., enjoys gymnastics and bike riding. Part of her inspiration for cycling comes from her father, Ron Goodwin, who has ridden the Hillclimb half a dozen times.

Maria got her first uphill racing experience this spring in Crank The Kanc, a 21-mile race up the Kancamagus Highway, just south of Mt. Washington. That race climbs 2300 feet – modest by Mt. Washington standards, but respectable nonetheless — and it attracts many of the same cyclists who compete in the Hillclimb. Maria rode it with her father, himself a past winner of the event, and finished in two hours 13 minutes.

While other riders pay a $350 entry fee to compete in the Hillclimb, Maria Goodwin is enjoying the opportunity to compete for free, courtesy of the Residence Inn Marriot of North Conway, the MWV Bicycling Club and the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, which is the primary beneficiary of the race. Each year these three organizations offer a free entry to a local youth, selected from among all junior riders (21 years and under) who apply. Maria is the youngest rider ever to receive this free entry – and its first female recipient.

The regular entry fee is a donation to the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, which offers classes, workshops, excursions and other lessons in the workings of the natural world.  Further information about educational programs, camps and other activities at Tin Mountain is available at www.tinmountain.org.

On Friday, August 16, the day before the race, Maria Goodwin and Jonah Thompson will join the race’s “Meet & Greet” session from 5-6 p.m., talking with any of the other 635 riders who’ll be making the climb the next day. At tables under the big tent at the Auto Road base, they’ll join older cycling notables including defending Hillclimb champion Cameron Cogburn, 2008 national mountain bike champion Jeremiah Bishop, top amateur cyclist Tim Ahearn, and veteran racer Margaret Thompson.

The race starts Saturday in five waves, beginning at 8:35 a.m. with the Top Notch (elite) group and continuing at five-minute intervals with four successive waves of riders sorted by age.  If severe weather conditions make the Auto Road unsafe for riding, the race will be postponed to Sunday, August 18, with the same starting time.

41st Annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb

August 15, 2013 – Pinkham Notch, N.H.

This Saturday’s Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb promises to be one of the best two-rider battles in memory. It pits defending champion and former road-racing pro Cameron Cogburn, 27, against mountain and cross-country biking star Jeremiah Bishop, 37, who will be racing up the Mt. Washington Auto Road for the first time.

Three-time defending champion Marti Shea, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, would have been the prohibitive favorite on the women’s side, but Shea recently confirmed that other obligations will keep her from competing. The women’s top prize is thus open to a number of strong riders, of whom the favorite may be Kristen Gohr, 42, of Reading, Massachusetts.

TWO EXTREME RACES IN TWO DAYS

Cogburn, of Cambridge, Mass., and Bishop, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, will meet twice this weekend, in what Bishop recently referred to as New England “diabolical double” – the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb on Saturday and the Hampshire 100-mile mountain endurance race on Sunday.

On Saturday they’ll contend not only with each other but with the 12 percent grade of the Auto Road, which rises without a break for 7.6 miles to the 6288-foot summit of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States.  Besides the ultra-steep grade, the course poses the additional challenges of frequently very high winds and an ascent through several different climate zones. On Sunday in Greenfield, N.H., they’ll race 100 miles over varied terrain, much of it rocky, in a course some riders consider to be as difficult as the famed Leadville (Colorado) 100-miler.

RACING EXPERIENCE

When Cogburn first competed at Mt. Washington, a year ago, knowledgeable cyclists promptly picked him to win.  For several years he had competed professionally, on the Jelly Belly and CCB teams, before relinquishing his professional status to concentrate on his graduate studies at M.I.T., and he was known in cycling circles as a smart, talented competitor. In July 2012 he won Newton’s Revenge, the first bike race up the Auto Road each summer, and then in August he pulled away from a strong field to win the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, which is held on exactly the same course but with three times as many riders.

Cogburn’s time in the latter race, 52 minutes 28 seconds, was the third-fastest official time ever recorded for the Auto Road ascent. The two faster times belong to Tom Danielson, who was also the first U.S. finisher in the 2011 Tour de France.  Although Cogburn’s professional career involved mainly road racing, he has considerable mountain biking experience, and this month he placed fourth in the Leadville 100.

Jeremiah Bishop is a 14-time member of the USA Cycling National Team, which represents the USA at international competitions including Continental and World Championships. He won a gold medal in the 2003 Pan American Games, placed eighth overall at the 2006 World Championships, has been a U.S. national champion in both short-track cross-country and marathon mountain biking and is considered by many observers to be this country’s leading endurance mountain bike racer, having won the 2012 National Ultra Endurance series.  A member of the SHO-AIR/Cannondale team, he has been among the top three elite male riders in national cross-country racing this summer, winning the Windham Mountain race in New York state in July and placing third at the Catamount Classic in Vermont on August 4th.

POSSIBLE TOP FEMALE CONTENDERS

Marti Shea, now 50, has concentrated this summer coaching and leading vacation tours in Europe. Without her, the women’s Hillclimb this year may go to Kristen Gohr, 42, of Reading, Massachusetts, who has frequently been runner-up to Shea and finished second in this year’s Newton’s Revenge. Gohr’s time in Newton’s Revenge, one hour 11 minutes 18 seconds, was six minutes slower than Shea’s recent times here, but it is considerably faster than the times of any of the other top women in the Hillclimb field who have raced this course before.

Unless a newcomer to the race can challenge Gohr, the battle for second could be between Stephanie Sydlik, 27, of Cambridge, Mass., and 18-year-old Rachel Chambers of Bolton, Conn. Sydlik placed third this month in Newton’s Revenge, in 1:18:21; Chambers finished sixth in the Hillclimb last year, in 1:20:52.

RACE DETAILS AND BENEFICIARY

The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb is the primary fundraising event each year for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H. The Center offers classes, workshops, excursions and other lessons in the workings of the natural world. Information about educational programs, camps and other activities at Tin Mountain is available at www.tinmountain.org.

The race starts Saturday in five waves, beginning at 8:35 a.m. with the Top Notch (elite) group and continuing at five-minute intervals with four successive waves of riders sorted by age.

A ONE-TIME OPPORTUNITY

August 5, 2013 – Pinkham Notch, N.H.

The 41st annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb this month will award $1500 apiece to the first male and female cyclists to race to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States. It will also offer any rider the opportunity to win one of four prizes that most cyclists will consider to be worth even more than the Hillclimb winners’ purse.

One of these prizes is lifetime free entry to the Hillclimb. Another is lifetime free entry to the Mt. Washington Century Ride, a 100-mile recreational ride held earlier in the summer on roads encircling Mt. Washington and other peaks in the Presidential Range. The other two are free cycling trips in famously scenic settings far from New Hampshire: southern Arizona and northern Italy.

Held on the third weekend in August, the Hillclimb pits more than 600 riders against the steepest all-uphill paved road they have ever ridden, the 7.6-mile Mt. Washington Auto Road, which climbs 4618 feet to a finish line 6288 feet above sea level. The race also serves as the primary fundraising event for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H., a non-profit educational and environmental organization that offers classes, workshops, excursions and other activities for students, schools, and community groups. (See www.tinmountain.org.)

A ONE-TIME OPPORTUNITY

This year, and this year only, Tin Mountain is tempting Hillclimb riders with the chance to enter the race every year automatically, and free, for the rest of their lives. Any Hillclimb entrant who has raised at least $500 in pledges of support for Tin Mountain will be entered in a raffle for which this guarantee of free lifetime entry is the prize. Also entered automatically are the race’s Get In Free riders, those who raise at least $850 and thus have their entry fee waived. Anyone else can enter the raffle by paying $100 for a ticket.

The conservation center is offering a similar opportunity to win lifetime free entry to the Mt. Washington Century, the other Mt. Washington-area cycling event that raises funds for Tin Mountain. All cyclists who raised at least $250 in pledges in connection with their participation in the 2013 Century ride, as well as anyone who pays $75 for a ticket, will be entered in the raffle for lifetime entry to this scenic and demanding 100-mile non-competitive ride.

All entrants in both raffles will be automatically entered in a third drawing, for which the prize is a one-week cycling trip in Arizona. Organized and led by the staff of Destination Cycling, of Marblehead, Mass., the trip includes six night and seven days of cycling and vacation in and around Tucson in February – ideal cycling weather in southern Arizona. Hotel stay, meals and a $300 air travel voucher are part of the package, as is the leadership of veteran cycling coaches.

CLASSICAL CYCLING TOUR

The other special award to Hillclimb entrants is an eight-day, seven-night cycling trip in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, organized and led by Ciclismo Classico of Arlington, Mass.  From its base in the city of Torino, the tour covers an average of about 40 miles a day, with breakfast, sumptuous dinners, wine tastings, coaching clinics and four-star hotels.

Unlike the three other cycling prizes that are part of Tin Mountain’s fundraising efforts, the Italian cycling trip is not a raffle prize but a direct award to the Hillclimb entrant who raises the largest sum in pledges from all sources. Last year’s winner was Jonah Thompson, the ebullient junior rider from Albuquerque, N.M., who raised over $4000 in pledges – and who first raced the Hillclimb at the age of nine. Now 14 years old, Thompson will compete in the Hillclimb again this year.

 FREE ENTRY FOR JUNIOR CYCLIST

The youngest rider entered in this year’s Hillclimb is 11-year-old Maria Goodwin of Silver Lake, N.H.  Goodwin won free entry to the race courtesy of the Residence Inn Marriott of North Conway, the MWV Bicycling Club and the Tin Mountain Conservation Center.  These organizations each year review entry applications from students who will be 21 years or younger on race day and select one for free entry. All junior cyclists can apply for the Hillclimb’s Junior Scholarship Program, in which four riders are chosen for reduced entry fees if they raise $175 or more in pledges.

RAFFLE ENTRY

While donations to the Tin Mountain Conservation Center are welcome any time, automatic entry into the raffles closes the day before the event. Since this year’s Century ride took place on July 20, automatic entries to the Century raffle concluded on July 19. Hillclimb entrants can continue raising funds in pledged support through Friday, August 16, in order to reach the $500 or $850 level.

Anyone can still buy tickets to either raffle at any time up to 5 p.m. on December 31, 2013. The raffle will be held, and winners announced on the Tin Mountain web site, on January 1, 2014.

Normally, cyclists wishing to enter the Hillclimb not only must sign up for it promptly in February, when registration opens, but pay an entry fee of $350. The entry fee is this high both because of the logistical complexities of staging a race on the Auto Road and because a large portion of the fee is a charitable donation to Tin Mountain. At the same time, the price hardly deters riders who are eager for the experience of pedaling up a course regarded as more difficult than the steepest climbs in the Tour de France. Each year the race fills to its limit within a few days, sometimes a few minutes, from the time registration opens on line.

To participate in the Mt. Washington Century, riders pay $100 apiece, with special rates for families and for any group of four or more. Entries are accepted until 8 a.m. the morning of the ride.

Free entry for a lifetime to either of these cycling events is a dream for countless cyclists. Race organizers and Tin Mountain staff are encouraging anyone to buy a raffle ticket as a gift for a friend or family member who is also a passionate cyclist. Lifetime entries are not transferable and may not be resold. To buy tickets for either raffle, see instructions at BikeReg.com.

 STARTING TIMES

The 2013 Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will start at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 17, when the Top Notch group, or elite first wave of riders, begins the ascent. The rest of the racers depart at five-minute intervals in four consecutive waves, grouped by age.  In the case of severe weather on the 17th, the race will be held instead on Sunday, August 18, with the same starting times.

2013 Race Full

The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb takes place in late summer, but as usual the field for this all-uphill climb to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States is already full. Registration for the 2013 race opened on February 1st, and closed ten days later, as 635 cyclists – the maximum the Auto Road can accommodate – had taken every spot available at the starting line.

Anyone still hoping to pedal the 7.6 daunting miles up Mt. Washington on August 17 is invited to join the waiting list, from which the organizers will fill vacancies when any registered riders withdraw. The Tin Mountain Conservation Center, in Albany N.H., the race’s beneficiary, maintains this waiting list at https://www.bikereg.com/Net/17625.

Meanwhile, cyclists can also sign up for Newton’s Revenge, the other summer bike race held on July 6 on exactly the same ultra-steep course.  Registration for Newton’s Revenge opens each year when the Hillclimb registration has reached capacity. The registration site is www.newtonsrevenge.com.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb attracts Olympians, hardcore bicycle road racers, mountain bikers, triathletes, all-around adventure athletes, tandem teams, and even the occasional unicyclist. They pay $350 apiece for the opportunity to ride up the Auto Road’s 12 percent grade to the mountain’s 6288-foot summit. For that fee they get a souvenir T-shirt, a superb lunch, a tax deduction, and the opportunity to make an ascent repeatedly described by professional riders as more arduous than the steepest climbs in the Tour de France.

The men’s course record, 49 minutes 24 seconds, was set in 2002 by Tom Danielson – who became the first American finisher in the 2011 Tour de France. The women’s record belongs to French cycling legend Jeannie Longo, who made the climb in 2000 in 58:14.

In 2006, the overwhelming demand for a chance to ride a bicycle to the Mt. Washington summit led the Auto Road management to create a second race on the identical course.  Held this year on July 6, Newton’s Revenge features many of the same professional and highly-ranked amateur cyclists who have ridden in the Hillclimb. In 2013, Cameron Cogburn of Cambridge, Mass., and Marti Shea of Marblehead, Mass., won the men’s and women’s top prizes in both races.

The size of the field for both the Hillclimb and Newton’s Revenge is limited by the ability of the road crews and race officials to monitor the safety of all participants and by the number of vehicles that can be parked at the summit to bring cyclists back down the hill after the race.  The Hillclimb is filled to capacity every year; Newton’s Revenge typically draws between 250 and 350 riders.

The Hillclimb is the primary fund-raising event for the non-profit Tin Mountain Conservation Center, which offers classes, workshops, excursions and other lessons in the workings of the natural world.  Junior riders – anyone under 20 years of age on race day – are eligible for free entry if they raise funds through donations to Tin Mountain in connection with their registration; four such riders are chosen each year.  This year Tin Mountain is also introducing a raffle in which, for $100 per ticket, the winner will get free annual entry to the Hillclimb for his or her lifetime.

For Newton’s Revenge the entry fee is $300, of which a portion is donated to various charities in the Mt. Washington Valley, while the rest defrays expenses similar to those in the Hillclimb.  Riders who are already registered for the Hillclimb may enter Newton’s Revenge for $150.

Entrants in either race may also register for its practice ride. These are held on June 2, for Newton’s Revenge, and July 21 for the Hillclimb, with riders beginning the ascent any time between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.  There is no additional fee for the practice ride, but the number of riders is limited to 300, and the ride is open only to riders who are already registered for the corresponding race.  Registered participants will receive Practice Ride registration instructions via email.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Newton’s Revenge are two of 11 events in the Bike Up the Mountain Point Series, familiarly known as BUMPS. The series includes Mt. Ascutney in Vermont, Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts, Whiteface Mountain in New York State, and other uphill races. For further information see www.hillclimbseries.com.

Hamilton’s and Jeanson’s times dropped from Auto Road Records

 

Organizers of the two highly popular bicycle races up the Mt. Washington Auto Road announced this week that the times ridden by Tyler Hamilton of the United States and Genevieve Jeanson of Canada in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will no longer be considered official records for the all-uphill course. This decision follows the recent confirmation by Hamilton that during his professional racing career he regularly used performance-enhancing drugs, as well as Jeanson’s admission in 2007 that she did the same for virtually her entire career.

“These races are held independent of any other governing body, and we have never conducted drug testing for them,” said Mary Power, director of the Hillclimb and of Newton’s Revenge, the other bike race held each summer on the 7.6-mile Auto Road. “However, following the revelation by Tyler, as well as Genevieve’s earlier confirmation that she used banned drugs from the age of 16 until her retirement ten years later, we are respecting the rulings of national and international cycling federations, and we are no longer recognizing any of their times here as records.”

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38th annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb – 7.6 miles

Forty-two-year-old Nico Toutenhoofd of Boulder, Colorado drew on experience and careful pacing to win the 38th annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb in the White Mountains of New Hampshire today. In this 7.6-mile all-uphill grind to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast, Toutenhoofd rode the first two miles hidden behind more than two dozen other cyclists, then moved steadily to the front, dropping a struggling group of younger riders who were less familiar with the ultra-steep course. After occasional glances back to make sure his lead was secure, he pumped his fist as he broke the tape at the 6288-foot summit in 57 minutes 26 seconds.

His closest rival was another veteran, former U.S. National Mountain Bike Champion Tinker Juarez, of Whittier, Calif. Juarez, 49, who was encountering the Auto Road for the first time, showed that he still has the strength that took him to the Olympics in 1996. Trying to keep Toutenhoofd in sight, he pedaled side by side with Timothy Ahearn, 35, of Woodstock, Conn., then pulled away after the five-mile point to take second in 58:08 – a new record for men aged 45-49 in this race — with Ahearn a delighted third in 58:22.ᅠ

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Residence Inn by Marriott Student Scholarships presented by VELO Bike Club

When corporate and nonprofit worlds unite, they can create a synergy that multiplies in its benefit. This year one of the Tin Mountain Conservation Center%u219s Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb (MWARBH) presenting sponsors, Residence Inn by Marriott North Conway, together with the Mt. Washington Valley Velo Club (MWV), created a new MWARBH Student Scholarship program.

The Residence Inn by Marriott North Conway opened in February 28, 2010 and already has rooted itself in the community by becoming a sponsor of the MWARBH (The World’s Toughest Hillclimb) and supporting a new student scholarship award benefiting two MWV Velo Club students.

This spring Tin Mountain Conservation Center and Residence Inn by Marriott North Conway contacted the Velo Club about creating a MWARBH student scholarship program. Members of MWV Velo quickly began looking at their membership, calling schools, and visiting bike shops for good potential student racers. The next steps were to sift through the resumes and applications and select the two best candidates, and they found them: Sean Doherty and Teo Jackson.

Sean Doherty, an incoming sophomore at Kennett High School, started road biking in the 6th grade and has done a majority of his cycling on a mountain bike. Sean has frequently participated in the Great Glen Trails Porky Gulch Classic, Summer Mountain Bike series and the Red Jersey Cyclery race series.

Teo Jackson is from Gorham, NH and is currently attending St. Lawrence College. Teo said once he received the call from the MWV Velo Club, he was both excited and hesitant. He has participated in the Mt. Washington foot race and Wildcat Wildman Biathlon to train for Nordic skiing, but never the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb.

“Neither Sean or Teo has ridden the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb before, but both are outstanding athletes,” commented MWV Velo member Becky Oleson. “The Velo Club is excited to get young people involved in the Valley; it is our mission to foster youth cycling in the community.”

Kim Jackson, general manager of Residence Inn by Marriott North Conway, is also excited to be involved in this student scholarship program. “What better way for Residence Inn by Marriott North Conway to reach out to the community than by joining with Tin Mountain and MWV Velo Club in creating a student scholarship program benefiting area youth cyclists,” noted Ms. Jackson. The program benefits two local riders by providing two highly coveted Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb racer slots.

*Photo From left to right…..Joanne Hastings (Sales & Marketing Coordinator Marriott); Becky Olsen (MWV Velo Bike Club); Sean Doherty and Teo Jackson (student scholarship recipients); Karl Pfeil (Tin Mountain Board member); Kim Jackson (General Manager, Marriott); Munsey Knox (Assistant Manager, Marriott).

Hillclimb registration fills in less than two days; Tin Mountain Conservation Center benefits.

The Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H., happily announced this week its annual combination of good news and bad news and more good news to cyclists who want to pedal up the ultra-steep Mt. Washington Auto Road this summer.

The good news: The field for the 38th installment of the grueling Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb was filled to its 600-rider capacity on February 2, less than 34 hours after the Tin Mountain web site opened for registrations. The race’s appeal, even in an economic recession, brings unwavering support for Tin Mountain’s summer camps and its school and community programs that promote appreciation for the natural world and sustainable lifestyles. All riders’ entry fees help deliver this message.

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