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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.