Say what you will about such storied climbs of the Tour de France as Alpe d'Huez and the Tourmalet.
The Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb in New Hampshire is the “Toughest Hillclimb in the World” and has a registered trademark to prove it.
On Saturday, the 7-1/2 mile bike race to the summit was won by Ned Overend, left, a legend in the world of mountain bicycling.
At 56, he continues to compete in endurance events instead of resting on the laurels of many mountain bike and triathlon championships and being honored by the US Bicycling Hall of Fame back in 2001. [His induction reads in part: “Known as 'Deadly Nedly', he was still winning World Cup events when most men his age were having a mid-life crisis.”]
The winner of the Mount Washington bike race among the women was Marti Shea of Marblehead, Mass., who won her 7th straight championship there.
Finishing second among the men was another Tinker Juarez, 50, a former BMX and off-road bicycling champion.
Surprising many at Mount Washington was Larry Beck, 47, of Carnation, Washington. Starting in the fourth wave of riders, Beck had the third-fastest time of the mountain.
This is the 39th time that cyclists have raced to the top of the mountain, known for its steepness and fickle weather. The private road is usually closed to bicycles.
At 7.6 miles, the climb boasts an average grade of 12%, with sections of 18% and the final 100 rocketing skyward at a 22% grade.
The mountain is buffeted by hurricane-force winds 100 days a year on average, and the summer race has been canceled in the past by freezing temperatures and precipitation.
Among previous winners are Tyler Hamilton (1997, 1999, 2005, 2006), Jeannie Longo (2000), and Tom Danielson (2002, 2003).