VeloNews calls it a “Ride of a Lifetime.” Known as The Toughest Hillclimb in the WorldTM , this 7.6-mile uphill race to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States is the biggest annual fundraiser for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center. For the privilege of pedaling up the unrelenting grade, with winds often exceeding 40 mph, 635 elite professional and amateur cyclists pay an entry fee of $350, from which all proceeds support Tin Mountain’s great work promoting an appreciation for the natural world while instilling the bedrock principles of sound stewardship and sustainable lifestyles. Entry fees help support Summer Camps, School Programs, and Community Programs for both adults and children.
THE EVENT Just how steep is the course? It is 7.6 miles in length with an average grade of 12%, extended sections of 18%, and the last 100 yards are an amazing 22% grade! Sprint that to the finish!
2015 Winner Veronique Fortin
Only a handful of times a year are bicycles allowed on the private Mt. Washington Auto Road for the bicycle hillclimb, and this is the cream of the crop. There is no downhill riding; riders must arrange for auto transportation to the base. Weather at top can be downright nasty, even during mid-summer. In August of 2007 the hillclimb was cancelled due to steady winds of 72 mph, freezing temperatures, frozen precipitation, and rime ice. Mt. Washington is also home to the worst weather ever recorded on earth. The highest non-tornadic wind speed ever recorded on earth was at the summit of Mt. Washington at 231mph. Hurricane force winds are present 100 days a year on average. This is part of what makes Mt. Washington the toughest bicycle climb in the world.
2017 Champion Phil Gaimon
The Mt. Washington Hillclimb is more than just the “cycle to the clouds” as it has been called. Most racers and their families arrive the night before to check-in at the facilities at the base of Mt. Washington, check out the Race Store and sport vendors, chat with other riders, and check out competition. On the morning of the race, over 100 Tin Mountain Conservation Center volunteers converge on the race course to help with base parking, site setup, check-in, sale of merchandise, summit parking and timing, serving food, medical assistance, ham radio communications, the awards ceremony, and cleanup. While the first riders pass the finish in about one hour, the last riders cross around the three hour mark. However, all are recognized for the feat of climbing the “Rockpile” and supporting Tin Mountain Conservation Center programs. Prior to the awards ceremony at the base, a now famous turkey dinner is served by Harts Turkey Farm.