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.