Newton’s Revenge Bicycle Race

2009-07-11 17:08:50.000 – Scott Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

Newton’s Revenge

Today was Newton’s Revenge, one of two annual bicycle races held on the Mount Washington Auto Road. I spent the morning outside watching the racers finish and marveling at their athletic ability. The course is a brutal one, a 7.6-mile road that twists, turns, and skirts nauseating cliffs as it climbs 4723 vertical feet to the 6288-foot summit. In the portion of the race I was watching—just when the end is in sight—the course turns onto the handicap access road, a short stretch of about 50 meters with a 22 percent grade before doing a hairpin turn onto the service road and finishing at the stage office. The average grade of the road is nearly 12%, but in case that isn’t enough, the racers are breathing 15% less oxygen by the time they reach the summit.

In addition to the 53:50 time of the first-place finisher, I witnessed some other impressive and interesting feats. A husband and wife on a tandem bicycle came in 29th place in 1:21; a racer ran his bike up the home stretch, holding his broken chain in his hand; finally, 123 people finished the race. Fortunately, the weather was just about ideal for the racers, with temperatures around 50 degrees and light winds that never exceeded 25 mph. This afternoon, the weather is taking a turn in the more interesting direction, with temperatures dropping and winds picking up a bit as a front apporoaches from the West.


Scott Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

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