Mount Washington Bicycle Hillclimb – August 16, 2014

This bike race lives up to its reputation and brought me close to tears as I crossed the finish line. My original intent was simply to ride my bike to the top and not consider it a race but somewhere along the line I changed my mind and I started to ride longer miles and hills in earnest a few months before. I looked up the times of my age group from previous years and I figured I could be competitive but race day can have surprises and my surprise was that some of the fastest women in the race were in their early fifties. THE fastest woman, by far, was 51 years old. She climbed that rock pile in 1 hour 6 minutes – faster than most men and 8 minutes faster than second place! Wow!

The conditions were typical for Mount Washington with cold, rainy weather at the top. Peak wind speeds registered 45mph and the wind chill 25F. A gust blew a woman in front off balance and she crashed into the vertical rock wall. The guys at the finish line wrapped me and all racers with a blanket, checked to see if we were OK. I couldn’t really speak at that point because the last 21 percent pushed me to utter exhaustion.

I learned a ton AFTER the race. Spinning is key to this race and my 30/34 was not a low enough gear! A light bike is critical too though I am faithful to my red tank. Mountain hillclimbs are a very different animal than any other type of bike race; powering up a long mountain doesn’t work well. I don’t feel the need to repeat the experience – it’s an expensive race and time consuming to train for it – and I am happy to have finished it!

Thanks to Mim for the pictures.

white mountains biking
Mandatory Car Ride Down Means Long Traffic Lineup

white mountains biking
Cars Packed Into Parking Area

white mountains biking
Cold, Windy, Fog at Finish Line

white mountains biking
Mim and Bob Keeping Warm

white mountains biking
Close to Tears at the Finish Line

white mountains biking
I Will Never Forget this Sufferfest

white mountains biking
My Wonderful Husband Comforts Me

white mountains biking
Celebrate the Peak!

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