Registration opens February 1 at 8 a.m.

Registration for the 37th annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb will open in less than two weeks - on Sunday, February 1, at precisely 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Veterans of this 7.6-mile all-uphill bike ride know how important that registration hour is: Last year the field for this grueling race filled to capacity - 600 riders - within eleven minutes of when the race's web site opened for registrations. This year many of those same riders, plus numerous other hopefuls, will be poised at their computers early on February 1 in order to complete the on-line application as rapidly as possible.

For more information and to register, visit Riders can also enter at the Bikereg web site, The Mt. Washington Bicycle Hillclimb site includes useful information about the Bikereg site as well.

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 annual fundraiser for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Conway, N.H. For the opportunity to pedal up the unrelenting grade while battling Mt. Washington's famously high winds, elite and amateur cyclists this year will pay an entry fee of $350, from which all proceeds go to the educational and environmental programs of the conservation center.

That fee is up fifty dollars from the $300 it was for the previous seven years, and the increase is understandable and inevitable: Costs of presenting the event and conducting environmental education programs at Tin Mountain have risen substantially, while the current economy has sharply cut into the endowments and investments of non-profit organizations such as Tin Mountain. The increased fee will allow the conservation center to continue its support of school programs that reach nearly 4000 students, nature camps for over 300 children, a large series of community nature programs, and other educational and environmentally helpful events.

And it will probably not keep riders away from this amazingly popular race. Cyclists recognize the ride up Mount Washington as more arduous than the most difficult climbs in the Tour de France, and they enjoy the bragging rights that come with simply finishing.

The Auto Road rises at an average grade of 12 percent, with a 22-percent grade in the final yards before the 6288-foot summit. Then there's the added challenge of Mt. Washington's famously bad weather. In some years the winds have blown riders off their bikes on the upper slopes above the tree line; in others, rain, fog and general chill have made the experience all the more unforgettable.

The Hillclimb's popularity is due also to its being an open event, which means that amateur riders can compete along with professionals. Top professional riders in the Hillclimb in previous years have included world mountain bicycling champion Ned Overend, Olympic gold medalist and Tour de France stage winner Tyler Hamilton, legendary French cycling star Jeannie Longo, Canadian champion and current women's course record-holder Genevieve Jeanson (54 minutes 2 seconds in 2002), and the men's course record-holder Tom Danielson (49:24, also in 2002).

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.

All riders who successfully register for the Hillclimb may also apply for the annual Practice Ride, which will take place on July 19 between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. There is no additional fee for the practice ride, but the number of riders is limited to 300, and the ride is not open to riders not also registered for the Hillclimb. Registered participants will receive Practice Ride registration instructions via email.

Cyclists who want to tackle the legendary Mt. Washington Auto Road but fail to get registered for the Hillclimb in August - or who think one race up Mt. Washington isn't enough for one summer -- have another option. Once the Hillclimb field is full, registration opens for Newton's Revenge, held July 11 on the same course. More information will be available at Newton's Revenge also includes a practice ride, June 7.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Newton's Revenge are two of nine events in the recently established Bike Up the Mountain Point Series, familiarly known as BUMPS. The series includes Mt. Ascutney in Vermont, Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts, Whiteface Mountain in New York State, and other uphill races. For further information see

[not for publication:] For press credentials and 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], or email John Stifler at [email protected]. For information about the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, visit

©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