Vasse and Miller take top honors at the 2018 MWARBH

Rain, fog, heavy clouds and thunder today delayed the start of the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb by two hours, but by late morning the famously unpredictable weather of New Hampshire’s White Mountains calmed enough to allow 397 cyclists to race to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern U.S. Leading the way to the mountain’s 6288-foot summit were Aimee Vasse, 40, from Longmont, Colo., and Barry Miller, 30, from Beverly, Mass.


Vasse, already a four-time winner of this all-uphill bicycle race who moved to Colorado last March to train at higher altitudes, pushed herself from the start of the 7.6-mile race and led from wire to wire, placing first among all the women in the field in a time of one hour 4 minutes 5 seconds. She not only recorded her fastest time ever on the Mt. Washington Auto Road but became the only cyclist, male or female, to win this race five times.


Her closest rival, Stefanie Sydlik, 33, of Pittsburgh, Pa., finished more than five minutes behind, in 1:10:32. Third was 48-year-old Kristen Roberts, of Reading, Mass., in 1:12:07.


“Today I think I went out a little too hard,” said Vasse as she warmed up with a blanket at the summit after her finish. “I got some cramping in my legs, and the headwind was tough for me. But Mt. Washington is fun. It’s my favorite race. I love New Hampshire!”


Miller similarly went out quickly, leading the men through the first mile before he was overtaken by Eric Levinsohn, 28, of New Haven, Conn. Dropping the rest of the field, the two dueled from the lower wooded slopes of Mt. Washington to the treeline and beyond, before Miller finally broke away in the sixth mile and pedaled alone to record a finishing time of 53:34.


Levinsohn crossed the finish line second, in 56:03, but ultimately he placed third in the race. In the Hillclimb, racers start in waves at five-minute intervals. While Miller and Levinsohn started in the elite first wave, Drake Deuel of Cambridge, Mass., started in the second, five minutes later, and then made up enough of that five-minute gap to record a net time of 55:38 and become the official runnerup.


Like Vasse, Miller started quickly, partly because the race awards a $750 bonus prize to whoever is in the lead at the one-mile mark. “After that,” he said later, “I tried just to settle into a rhythm. Then Eric came up pretty fast. He’s incredibly strong, and I didn’t think I could stay with him, but somehow I didn’t fade. When we got to the dirt section, I saw I had the lead, and I kept the momentum up.”


Vasse also won the $750 first-mile bonus, and she and Miller each won $1500 for winning the race.


The first New Hampshire finishers were Darren Piotrow, 19, of Jackson, who placed seventh overall in 1:01:31, and 55-year-old Johanna Lawrence of Nashua, tenth among all women in 1:25:54. Piotrow rode with the sponsorship of the Chad Young Foundation, named in honor of a promising cyclist – Chad Young, of Newmarket, N.H. – who set the current junior (under 20 years) course record in this race, and who died in an accident during a cycling race last year.


For spectators at the finish line, the most inspiring story of the day was that of Brian Hall, 56, of Hampton, N.H., who has suffered from Parkinson’s disease since he was 15. Despite severe movement impairments caused by the disease, Hall secured permission from the race’s sponsor and beneficiary, Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H., to compete in the Hillclimb by riding an e-bike, which contains a motor that assists the rider’s pedaling efforts. Hall completed the climb in less than two and a half hours, finishing ahead of several able-bodied cyclists.


“I was shocked at how hard it was,” said Hall as he recovered from the effort. “I skied Mont Blanc in 1992. I feel the same sense of euphoria and accomplishment today – I feel like I’m reborn.”


The oldest finisher was Giuseppe Marinoni, 81, of Laval, Quebec. Marinoni finished 308th overall in 1:56:31, breaking the former age-group record for me 80 and over by more than 20 minutes.


On the men’s winners’ podium, Miller was flanked by Ivy League cyclists. Deuel, who started bike racing only this summer, has competed in rowing as an undergraduate at Harvard University. Levinsohn recently finished medical school at Yale and is doing his residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.


The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb is the main annual fund-raising event for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H., which provides environmental and recreational education for children, schools and families in communities in the White Mountains and the Mt. Washington Valley.


by John Stifler

Gaimon wins Mount Washington Auto Road Hillclimb; Vasse top female

Gaimon wins Mount Washington Auto Road Hillclimb; Vasse top female


PINKHAM NOTCH — Some things you just don’t forget.

Phil Gaimon was just a college student when he first rode in the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. In 2008, the 22-year-old Georgian competing in his second bicycle race up Mount Washington in just two months won the 36th annual Hillclimb.

Gaimon, then a University of Florida senior from Tucker, Ga., crossed the finish line in 54 minutes, 57 seconds.

Gaimon, who now lives in North Hollywood, Calif., returned the following year and won again with a personal-best time of 54:37.

This launched a professional career for Gaimon, who competed against the world’s best over the next eight years. He won the Redlands Bicycle Classic twice, in 2012 and ’15, and finished second to Colombian Nairo Quintana in the 2014 Tour of San Luis (Argentina).

Now 31 and retired from the pro circuit, Gaimon drew worldwide attention in June when he set the new fastest time on the Strava (mobile app) segment that runs up Nichols Canyon Road to Mullholland Drive.

“My phone blew up like I just won the Tour de France,” Gaimon said in the June 30 issue of Sports Illustrated.

Gaimon returned to “The Rockpile” last Saturday and cruised to victory in the 45th Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, covering the 7.6-mile course in 51:13, a new personal record.

Gaiman topped two-time defending champion Eneas Freyre, 41, of Norwalk, Conn., by more than 3 1/2 minutes. Freyre came in second in 54:53, his slowest time in the past three races up Mt. Washington. In 2015, Frye won in 53:00 and again last year in 52:10.

Timothy Ahern, 43, of Woodstock, Conn., rounded out the top three, placing third in 56:26.

The course record of 49:24 was set by Tom Danielson in 2002.

Top female finisher was Aimee Vasse, 39, formerly of Somerville, Mass., and now of Dunedin, Fla. The three-time Hillclimb female champion rode to a fourth title in 1:05:34, placing 14th overall.

Vasse first won in 2004, repeating in 2005 and 2008.

Stephanie Sydlik, 32, of Pittsburgh, Pa., was second-fastest female in 1:06:13, and Andrea Myers, 34, of Danbury, Conn., was third in 1:15:39.

There were 635 cyclists entered in this year’s race, which is the biggest annual fundraiser for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center located in Albany. There were 444 finishers.

Gaimon and Vasse were both pleased with their finishes. Each received $1,500.

“I haven’t been here in (eight) years,” Gaimon told the media following the race. “I forgot how hard this is and the clouds — how special this place is. It can be cruel, nasty, why do they make it so steep?”

“Stephanie was amazing competition,” Vasse said of Sydlik, who was just 39 seconds behind her. “She led me mercilessly. She attacked the hill. I didn’t think I could hang, but at the 6.7-mile marker, I got my second wind. It was very emotional for me.”

There was a second record set on the mountain on Saturday. Walter (Wally) Kurz, 80, of Intervale beat the record in his age category of 2:19:45 set by Bill Hawkes in 2002, getting to the summit in 2:16:20.

“This was my first experience with this race,” Kurz said following the race. “It was tougher than I anticipated. I got a leg cramp, but finished. This is quite a hill.”

Other local finishers included Darren Piotrow, 19th, 1:06:57; Joseph Baird, 149th, 1:29:35; Ben Cargill, 155th, 1:29:55; Michael Steward, 206th, 1:36:38; Robert Henney, 219th, 1:38:14; Steven Discordia, 286th, 1:47:52; Suzanne Young, 355th, 2:02:41; Jack Steffen, 365th, 2:07:54; Tod Powers, 398th, 2:20:18; and William Buick, 399th, 2:20:39.

For overall results, go to

Tin Mountain Conservation Center, according to its website, “is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit environmental education program that promotes an appreciation of the natural environment among children, adults, and families. The hands-on programs in the schools, at camps, and in the community demonstrate responsible stewardship of natural resources through land protection, research, sustainable forestry, agriculture and energy.”

Article by the Conway Daily Sun



The Hillclimb in VeloNews

It was one thing when VeloNews recommended cyclists put the Hillclimb on their bucket list. Quite another when they put it in their Rides of a Lifetime list. Looking at the others put the Hillclimb in quite good company.

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Marti Shea wins record fourth Hillclimb, 11th race overall

42nd Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb

– Marti Shea wins record fourth Hillclimb, 11th race overall
– Ebsen tops Cogburn to take Mt. Washington debut

August 16, 2014

PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. – Marti Shea of Marblehead, Mass., dominated once again and John Kronborg Ebsen of Denmark delivered an impressive effort in his first look at the mountain, as the two riders rode to victories in tough weather conditions in the 42nd Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb on Saturday.

As has been the case nearly every other time she has raced here, Shea sped away from the other women in the field at the start and rode behind only the strongest men. She eventually finished in one hour six minutes and one second – two minutes shy of her best time here, but an emphatic victory in typically bad Mt. Washington weather. Ebsen closely followed Cameron Cogburn, the two-time defending champion, for the first five miles of the 7.6-mile race, then surged ahead in the final two miles to win in 52 minutes 53 seconds.

In this grueling climb to the 6,288-foot summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Shea’s time placed her 17th overall and nearly eight minutes ahead of her nearest challenger, as she became the first woman to win the Hillclimb four times. Previously she had been tied with Aimee Vasse with three wins apiece. It was the 11th overall race win on the Mt. Washington Auto Road for Shea, who also has won Newton’s Revenge – a July race on the same route – seven times.

Shea hoped to finish the climb in under 65 minutes, but the cold and windy weather got in the way of that plan. The temperature was just over 40 degrees and winds about 35 miles per hour for a wind chill factor of 25 degrees when the top riders reached the summit.

“Down below, the weather was good,” said Shea, “But around four miles the wind started, and then it was off and on – a side wind, then a head wind. I was losing body temperature. There have been a few races here with conditions like this, but this may have been the worst I’ve seen. Anyway, I’m happy about my fourth win.”

Silke Wunderwald, 42, of Hopkinton, R.I., won this race last year when Shea was occupied with coaching and leading cycling tours in Europe. This year she followed Shea at a respectful distance, taking the runnerup spot in 1:13:55. Stefanie Sydlik, 29, of Cambridge, Mass., was third in 1:16:39. Fourth place went to Elizabeth McClintock, 51, of Wellesley, Mass. Alexa Gubinski, 26, of Fairfield, Conn., was fifth in 1:20:30.

For most of the race, Coburn, 28, a professional cyclist on leave from graduate studies in astrophysics at M.I.T., led a string of riders. The 25-year-old Ebsen, fellow Mt. Washington first-timer Eneas Freyre of Norwalk, Conn., 38, and Eric Follen, 39, of Sanford, Maine, a two-time runnerup here, rode in a peloton-like line from the early going until where the Auto Road turns to dirt above the tree line. Ebsen, however, also a pro cyclist, had recently beaten Cogburn in a race in Taiwan, and his first attempt on Mt. Washington was well calculated.

“I knew I should follow Cameron,” said the winner. “He’s a really strong rider. When it got steep, then I would go.” Ebsen began pulling away before the six-mile mark, extended his lead, and won in a time of 52 minutes and 53 seconds, 57 seconds faster than Cogburn.

“I knew his strategy,” said Cogburn, who had won each of his previous four races up the Auto Road — a pair of wins in Newton’s Revenge (2012 and this year) to go with the two Hillclimb triumphs. “He sat on my wheel for 39 minutes.” Because he has expressed a hope of beating the course record at Mt. Washington – 49:24, ridden in 2002 by Tour de France rider Tom Danielson – Cogburn reckons that other riders will often pace themselves by following him.

He commented that he was feeling less than one hundred percent, having recently returned from hard training with his team in the Rockies. “But I kind of like this weather,” he added. “You’re racing up this road, and clouds come at you.”

Freyre rode strongly to third place in 54:11, while Mt. Washington veteran Philip Wong, 34, of Northborough, Mass., overtook Follen in the final mile to take fourth in 54:23, with Follen three seconds behind.

The first New Hampshire finishers were Alec Babala, 23, of Nashua, and Christine Jankins, 50, of Hampton. Wearing the team jersey of the cycling club at Rhode Island School of Design, where he graduated this year, Babala placed 15th overall with a time of 1:05:25. Jankins finished in 1:30:06.

Babala found today’s weather the worst he has encountered in his four races up the mountain. “I was underdressed,” he said. “I should have been wearing arm warmers.” Above the tree line, he and all the other riders were battered by the wind while simultaneously riding into a cloud cover that had settled on the upper slopes. “I couldn’t see anything,” he continued. “I just heard breathing behind me for a while, and then I didn’t hear it, so I knew I was pulling away from somebody. And I could hear bells through the fog. That kept me going.”

Babala had hoped to finish the ascent in an hour, but, like most riders in the field, he found the conditions difficult. “Every turn in the road, you just have to keep going. Press on the pedals. My chain kept slipping, and my cadence was off.” Even so, he was pleased that his time today was his fastest ever for this climb. “Overall, it was a good day.”

In all, 517 cyclists finished the race, including two unicyclists and three tandem teams. The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb serves as the primary fundraising event for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H. The Center offers classes, workshops, excursions and other lessons in the workings of the natural world. Information about educational programs, camps and other activities at Tin Mountain is available at



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.

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

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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