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.”

The bicycle ascent of the Mt. Washington Auto Road is regarded by cyclists as being at least as difficult as the hors categorie (“beyond category”) climbs in the Tour de France. Since 1973, the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb has annually drawn licensed amateur and professional riders, as well as other well-trained cyclists and extreme sports enthusiasts, to test themselves against the Auto Road’s 12 percent average grade and Mt. Washington’s famously unpredictable weather.

In 2005, to accommodate increasing demand for entry into this event, the Auto Road company created Newton’s Revenge as a second race on the same course. Official open and age-group records for the bicycle ascent of the Mt. Washington Auto Road can be set in either race.

As a result of this week’s announcement, the biggest change in the Auto Road’s record books is that former French cycling star Jeanie Longo retroactively regains the women’s open record here. In 2000, her only appearance at the Auto Road, Longo made the climb in 58 minutes 14 seconds, nearly four minutes faster than the then-record time of 1:01:57 that Jeanson had ridden in her Mt. Washington debut in 1999. Jeanson returned in 2002 and beat Longo’s time with a 54:02, then won again in 2003, her last appearance here (59:58).

Hamilton won this race four times, surpassing the existing course record in his first appearance, in 1997, with a time of 51:56, then returning in 1999 and lowering the mark to 50:21. He also won in 2005 (51:11) and 2006 (52:21).

In 2002, 24-year-old Tom Danielson of Connecticut became the first and, so far, only person to ride up Mt. Washington in under 50 minutes, clocking a time of 49:24 to better Hamilton’s performance. While Danielson’s 2002 time is the men’s open record, Hamilton’s 2006 time had remained the record for men aged 35-39, until this week’s announcement from Power. Now the men’s record-holder for that age group is Mike Engleman, who, at 39, finished second to Hamilton in 1997 in a time of 53:53.

Reinstated as the women’s open course record, Longo’s 58:14 continues to be the record for women aged 35-39. The Auto Road now recognizes Kimberly Bruckner, who finished second in 1999 with a time of 1:03:50, as the record-holder for women aged 20-34.

Jeanson’s 1999 time of 1:01:57 had been the record for junior female riders (19 and under). That record now goes to Anneke Reed of Vermont, who completed the race in 2009 in 1:48:32 at the age of 16.

Held each year in August, the Hillclimb is the primary fund-raising event for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H. Held in July, Newton’s Revenge similarly generally attracts a smaller field, but top riders (including Danielson) have competed in both events.

Newton’s Revenge will be held this year on Satuday, July 9, with a possible postponement date of July 10 if the weather on the 9th creates hazardous conditions on the mountain. The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will take place on Saturday, August 20, with a similar weather-alternative date of Sunday the 21st. Each race starts at 8:40 a.m. with the Top Notch (elite) group, followed by three successive waves sorted by age group at 8:45, 8:50 and 8:55 a.m.

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