COGBURN AND WUNDERWALD PEDAL FASTEST TO THE TOP

An M.I.T. graduate student in astrophysics and a research chemist showed today that scientific careers have not hampered their bicycling abilities. Cameron Cogburn, 27, of Cambridge, Mass., and Silke Wunderwald, 42, of Hopkinton, R.I., took the top prizes today in the 41st annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, a 7.6-mile all-uphill race to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States.

Cogburn, a former professional rider who returned to amateur status to concentrate on his studies, blasted off the starting line at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and led a pack of six riders for the first two miles before pulling away and pedaling solo to a finishing time of 50 minutes 48 seconds. That time was nearly two minutes faster than last year, when he first won this race, and within sight of the course record 49:24, set in 2002 by Tour de France racer Tom Danielson.

“I know I could get the record,” said Cogburn after reaching the 6288-foot summit of Mt. Washington. “It’s a matter of losing a couple of pounds. But last week I went to Leadville” – a 100-mile bike race at high altitude in Colorado, where Cogburn finished fourth – “and I suffered a bit at 12,000 feet! I’m happy with today.”

Cogburn’s closest pursuer was 23-year-old Erik Levinsohn, a first-year Yale medical student with extensive bike-racing success in New England. “My plan was to stay with Cameron as long as possible,” said Levinsohn. “But that was for only two and a half miles! The finish was a long way coming after that.” Levinsohn finished in 53:29. Third place went to Jeremiah Bishop, 37, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 54:24.

One of the country’s most accomplished mountain bike racers, Bishop was testing himself on the Auto Road’s 12 percent grade for the first time. “This is a spectacular place to ride,” he said at the windswept summit, as he and Cogburn wrapped themselves in blankets against the 30-mph winds, and compared notes. “For a hillclimb, I don’t know anything quite like it.” Bishop added that he and Cogburn would meet again the next day in the Hampshire 100, a 100-mile off-road race near Greenfield, N.H. “I feel like this’ll warm me up for tomorrow.”

Wunderwald pumped her fist as she sailed through the finish in one hour 9 minutes 56 seconds, a welcome improvement on her Mt. Washington debut last year, when she finished third in 1:10:47.

“The lesson I learned last year,” she said, “was, Don’t go out too hard!” Like many Mt. Washington racers before her, she discovered that the only way to ride well on the Auto Road is to concentrate on pacing, not on the competition.  As her fellow winner Cogburn put it, “You have to stay within your limits and not think about the other riders.”

A native of the Lake Constanz region of Germany, Wunderwald moved to the U.S. twenty years ago and works in research and development with Pfizer in Groton, Ct. She began competitive cycling in 2006 and in the last two years has focused on hillclimbs. The women’s runnerup was 28-year-old Stefanie Sydlik of Cambridge, Mass., in 1:12:59. Third was Line Lauritsen, 31, of McHenry, Maryland, in 1:14:33.

In a field of 504 finishers, the first New Hampshire riders to reach the top of Mt. Washington were Douglas Jansen, 50, of Pelham, placing 18th overall in 1:05:12 and Christine Jankins, 49, of Hampton, 237th overall in 1:30:56.

For their victories, Cogburn and Wunderwald won $1500 apiece.  All proceeds from the race benefit the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H., which offers classes, workshops, camps, excursions and other lessons in natural history and the environment.

TOP MEN
1.  Cameron Cogburn, 27, Cambridge MA     50:48
2.  Erik Levinsohn, 23, Williamstown MA    53:29
3.  Jeremiah Bishop, 37, Harrisonburg VA    54:24
4.  Ryan Miller, 22, Corvallis OR     55:23
5.  Chris Carr, 30, Golden CO      56:52
6.  Timothy Ahearn, 39, Woodstock CT   56:55
7.  Sean McCarthy, 29, Amherst MA    58:38
8.  William Cooper, 25, Philadelphia PA   59:35
9.  Chris Yura, 34, Bryn Mawr PA    59:54
10. Nate Whitman, 38, Los Angeles CA  1:00:12

TOP WOMEN
1.  Silke Wunderwald, 42, Hopkinton RI   1:09:56
2.  Stefanie Sydlik, 28, Cambridge MA  1:12:59
3.  Line Lauritsen, 31, McHenry MD   1:14:33
4.  Kristen Gohr, 43, Reading MA  1:15:06
5.  Patricia Karter, 57, Milton MA  1:20:57
6.  Elizabeth Bove, 42, Woodstock CT  1:21:53
7.  Kelley Fitzgerald, 47, Woburn MA  1:24:28
8.  Michelle Vuolo, 41, Stow MA   1:25:09
9.  Susan Lucek, 53, Tolland CT   1:25:20
10. Margaret Thompson, 59, Clinton NY  1:25:32

 

See Complete 2013 Results

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