The picture above, found on leokenney.net, really helps you see just how intense this climb can be, doesn’t it?
Get ready for the challenge of your life on the biggest bike climb in the northeast. Mount Washington has the reputation for being the toughest climb in North America and some even claim that it’s the hardest in the world.
This is a monster and you’ll need to be up to the challenge to take it on. If you feel you’re ready, welcome to the world of strength where you’ll need every ounce of it, both physically and mentally, to make it to the top.
It isn’t just the 12% grade average that stretches over 7.6 miles or the fact that you’ll rise 4,727 feet in distance that sets Mt. Washington apart from the others. It’s the weather that can become nasty at a moment’s notice, even when you’re taking on the route in the middle of the summer.
This mountain is known for having some of this planet’s worst weather. The summit boasts the highest non-tornadic winds ever been recorded on Earth at the speed of 231 mph.
There are 2 races held on the mountain each year: one in July and one in August. Practice climbs can also be done about a month before each race. The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb takes place in August while Newton’s Revenge occurs in July.
At any other time of the year you won’t be able to take your bicycle on the private road. As well, you’ll have to arrange a pickup at the top when you’re finished because bikes aren’t allowed to make the descent.
Consider These Other Races Too:
These are huge events and you should try to tackle at least one of them during your lifetime if you are an avid hillclimber. Hundreds of riders show up for these races every year and there are at least 100 volunteers on-site helping out.
There is a party atmosphere both before and after the race, and when you’re mingling with fellow racers you may just come across some of the top racers in the world. Winning the race can start a lucrative career since scouts are definitely watching this race and looking for the best of the best.
This is an action-filled adventure that shouldn’t be attempted by the faint of heart. You’ll need skill and endurance to make it and it should never be considered as an undertaking for beginners.
The Rock Pile, as Mt. Washington has been unceremoniously nicknamed, provides 72 turns with short straightaways. You’ll hit the Horn at the midway point of the race and after that, at the Five-Mile Grade, it’s common to see people that have had enough off their bikes taking a breather.
Once you reach the last switchback on this grade you’ll also have to face the weather conditions that can range from mild to brutal, depending on the day.
Your main concern will be staying on the bike without getting blown off and your senses will have to be on high alert. You’ll be close to the top but you’re also in for a last surprise.
You’ll need to be prepared for the last 100 yards, which has been nicknamed the Wall, the Ladder and the Corkscrew, with a 22% grade. You’ll definitely have to struggle to get over it before reaching your final destination, and if you don’t know it’s coming, you’ll be in for quite a shock.
Tim Johnson – The Man That Battled This Mountain in the Winter
Tim Johnson is a professional cyclist and the only man that has ever conquered this mountain in the winter. He accomplished this feat using a fat bike complete with spiked tires. He originally comes from New England and has a passion for mountain cycling and for Mt. Washington in particular.
On the day of his ride the road was open only for him and for a few snowmobiles carrying photographers that wanted to take his picture when he reached the top. He says that his biggest challenge was the weather with 95 mph to 100 mph wind speeds and gusts that went up to 225 mph while his other tough challenge was getting enough traction.
He ran into a lot of hard evaporated ice and it was a balancing act trying to stay on the bike. He experienced a few minor crashes on the way up but nothing that would stop him from reaching his goal. He made it to the top of Mount Washington in 1 hour and 40 minutes even though he thought it would be at least a three-hour trip.
Never Underestimate the Strength of the Mountain
Mount Washington is a humbling experience and once you’ve made your way through it you’ll have a brand-new appreciation of nature and its ultimate strength. For many this can be a life-changing experience as you get off your bike, look back in awe and realize just how much power this mountain holds in its grasp.