Horizontal sleet, rime ice, 87-mph gusts of wind and freezing temperatures forced the cancellation of this year’s Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb on Saturday.
Six hundred cyclists had come from all over New England and from as far away as the West Coast for the chance to race the 7.6 miles to Mt. Washington’s summit in what is called, all too aptly, “the world’s toughest hillclimb.” Now they’ll wait another year to battle the Auto Road’s 12 percent average grade.
This is the second Mt. Washington bike race canceled by weather in 2007. On July 7 the Auto Road had scheduled a similar race, Newton’s Revenge, which was pre-empted by a combination of high winds, zero visibility, and zero traction on the unpaved portions of the Auto Road.
For those unfamiliar with the mountain (“home of the world’s worst weather“), the auto road is a difficult climb for automobiles. In New England, it’s a common sight to see “this car climbed Mt. Washington” bumper stickers, which would be funny, except for the fact it’s kind of an insane drive. My little Honda would weep at the sight of the Auto Road. Riding up in on a bike is plain crazy. Check out this excellent page from Northeast Cycling for a comparison with some of the great climbs in world cycling. Tougher statistically than the Passo dello Stelvio, Mount Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez? Even before factoring in potentially some of the worst weather in the world? Madness*.
More at Velonews:
*note that by “madness” I mean the absolute best kind of madness. Fun, super impressive madness. Holy-cow-I-can’t-believe-tom-danielson-did-it-in-49-minutes madness… 🙂
Speaking of which- where does Tom go now that Discovery is no more?