2008-07-12 14:41:42.000 – Jeff Wehrwein, Summit Intern
Waiting for the racers
There was a bustle of excitement on the summit this morning for Newton’s Revenge, an annual bike race up the auto road. The road was open from 6am and 8am for spectators to drive up, so the summit was full of people when I woke up. The Mount Washington Auto Road is known as the toughest hillclimb in the world, at 7.6 miles and 4700 vertical feet, making a 12% average grade.n
nThere are two annual bike races on the auto road: Newton’s Revenge in July, and the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb (MWARBH) in August. The MWARBH has been held annually since 1973, weather permitting. It is limited to 600 competitors, and in recent years has filled up in less than an hour. In 2006, Newton’s Revenge was created to satisfy the extra demand for a Mount Washington bicycle hillclimb, and this year it fielded 212 racers.n
nFrom the pictures I have seen, today was a beautiful day to bike up Mount Washington. Moderate summer temperatures, calm winds, and partly cloudy skies provided the racers with beautiful views as they ascended the mountain. Up here on the summit, however, we were stuck firmly in the fog. On the bright side, the racers were free of scenic distractions on the 22% grade leading up to the finish line.n
nThe race began at 8:40am, and the winner arrived on the summit 55 minutes and 5 seconds later, for an average speed over 8 mph. The winning female suffered a broken chain on the final stretch and had to run her bike up the last hill to the finish line, but still placed 16th overall with a time of 1:14:22. That was just the beginning of the anguish on the home stretch, which included a crash and a good deal of walking. For full results and more pictures of the race, see the official race results and photo gallery. Also, look for some race footage in our upcoming ObsCast, which will be available on Monday.
Jeff Wehrwein, Summit Intern