Later starting time, same four-wave start, for this year's race.

36th Annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb August 16, 2022 (weather date August 17)

August 12, 2023 - Pinkham Notch, N.H.

After years of getting up before dawn to prepare themselves for the 7.6-mile grind up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, the cyclists competing in the 36th installment of the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will get an extra hour of sleep - or an extra hour of warmup time, depending on their preference  before the start of this year's race.

The 2008 Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will start this Saturday at 8:40 a.m., when the first wave of cyclists begins the 4650-foot ascent of the highest peak in the Northeast. Following this elite group -the race's official name for them is Top Notch - three successive waves of other riders, including tandem bicycles and older and younger competitors, will follow at five-minute intervals.

Pedaling uphill without a break on the Auto Road's 12 percent grade, they will all try to reach the 6288-foot summit, the culmination of a climb generally considered more difficult than the Alpe d'Huez in the Tour de France. Besides the sheer effort required to propel a bicycle up so steep a grade, the race is usually made more challenging by Mt. Washington's famous winds, which have gusted up to 70 mph. in some years of this race, and which typically blow in the 30- to 40-mph. range, frequently accompanied by various forms of precipitation, especially fog.

The entire field consists of 600 cyclists, the maximum allowable in what participants consider to have been an extreme sport before the term "extreme sports" came into use. The size of the field is limited by the ability of the road crews and race officials to monitor the safety of all participants, and by the number of vehicles that can be parked at the summit to bring cyclists back down the hill after the race.

Despite the $300 entry fee, the Hillclimb is in such demand that this year the field reached capacity in the first 11 minutes of on-line registration, on February 1st. The popularity of the Hillclimb is due partly to the pure challenge of such an athletic effort, partly to the race's being an event in which both ranked and unranked amateur riders can compete along with professionals.

This year's Top Notch group will contain 70 riders. Official finishing times for riders starting in subsequent waves are calculated, logically enough, by subtracting five, 10 or 15 minutes from the time shown on the clock when the rider finishes. Thus, a rider in the second wave could win the race by finishing less than five minutes behind the first Top Notch finisher. (It hasn't happened, but in last month's Newton's Revenge, the other Mt. Washington bike race on this same course, a rider in the second wave did in fact finish third overall.)

This year's Hillclimb will include many riders who are especially motivated by the pursuit of delayed gratification. These are the cyclists who were entered in the 2007 Hillclimb, which had to be canceled because weather conditions on Mt. Washington were prohibitively dangerous. The only compensation to riders last year was a guarantee of a place in the field for the 2008 race. If Saturday's weather is sufficiently severe to make conditions unsafe, the race will be postponed to Sunday at the same hour.

The first man and first woman to finish will each collect a first prize of $1500. The race also offers $5000 to any man or woman who sets a new course record. The men's record belongs to Tom Danielson, who clocked 49 minutes 24 seconds at Mt. Washington in 2002 and went on to race with a top professional team in Europe. The women's record, held by Canadian cycling champion Genevieve Jeanson, is 54:02, far faster than any other woman (or almost any man) has ridden here. Jeanson has not raced here since 2003.

Sponsored by Polartec, with additional support from international corporations as well as local businesses in the Mt. Washington Valley, the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb is the primary fundraiser for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Conway, N.H. After the expenses of putting on the race are covered, all proceeds go to the educational and environmental programs of the conservation center.

For more information about the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, visit the race Web site at

The race site includes access to a complete list of entrants for the race.

For information about the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, visit

For press credentials, to secure a seat in the media van at the race, and for further information about the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, phone or email Ryan Triffit, Mt. Washington Auto Road, at (603) 466-3988 or [email protected].

©2009 Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb - A benefit for: Tin Mountain Conservation Center
For Information about this race, contact Mary Power 603.466.3988 - Refund and Exchange Policy - Header Photos by Philbrick Photo
Presented by Polartec