Mountain’s Unusual Ascent Day draws cast of characters

Article from the Union Leader

A group of colorful characters – some straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon – made a decidedly unusual ascent early Saturday morning of the Mount Washington Auto Road.

By JOHN KOZIOL
Sunday News Correspondent
May 24, 2014

GREEN’S GRANT - A group of colorful characters – some straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon – made a decidedly unusual ascent early Saturday morning of the Mount Washington Auto Road.

Alton Weagle 1st ascent day, mt washington auto road

Participants in Saturday’s fourth annual Alton Weagle Unusual Ascent Day at the Mount Washington Auto Road take to the starting line. From left are Andrew McLeod, who walked up while operating a remote-controlled truck; runner Paul Kirsch, with his two dogs; hand-pedal cyclist Erik Kondo; carrots Andrew Donohoe and Madeline Elmms; Bugs Bunny, aka Jesse Lyman; pogosticker Hans Bauer; and jester-clad unicyclist Dennis Johnson. (John Koziol/Union Leader Correspondent)

Their trek was inspired by and in homage to the late Alton Weagle, who made the trip in a variety of ways, including blindfolded, walking backward and pushing a wheelbarrow full of sugar.
The oldest manmade tourist attraction in North America, the 7.6-mile auto road – originally known as the Carriage Road – to the summit of the 6,288-foot Mount Washington first opened to visitors in 1861.

Over its history, the road has seen its share of unique events and individuals, Weagle among them, and when general manager Howie Wemyss and his staff sat down in 2010 to lay the plans for the auto road’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2011, they decided to go big.

The celebration included the return of horses and horse-drawn carriages to the auto road, a Roaring ’20s event, a re-creation of what it was like to clear snow from the road by shovel, an Old Home Day with old-fashioned games and, finally, the first of what is now the annual Alton Weagle Unusual Ascent Day.

“We thought Alton Weagle was an interesting piece of history,” said Wemyss, and “we decided to do first ascents.

“Since the inception of Unusual Ascent Day, the ascenders have included a “Star Wars” scout trooper, the Cookie Monster from “Sesame Street,” car-top kayakers, stilt walkers and a firefighter in full turnout gear.

This year, gathering at 6 a.m., the participants were Bugs Bunny, who was accompanied by two carrots; a runner who brought along his two dogs; a pogo-sticker; a hand-pedal bike rider; a unicycling jester; and Otok Ben-Hvar, who, sitting astride a red rocket that shot out sparks, flames and green and purple smoke, was dressed in a green fatigue jump suit, wore roller skates and a leather aviator’s helmet and carried an American flag.

Known for riding a lawnmower from Old Orchard Beach, Maine, to Los Angeles and for driving around the country in a van – one that he bought from the auto road – onto which he spliced a phone booth, Ben-Hvar is a true son of Alton Weagle, said Wemyss.

A former U.S. Army paratrooper who served during the Korean and Vietnam wars, but did not see combat in either, Ben-Hvar now calls Berlin and Port Richey, Fla., home.

In 2013, Ben-Hvar, who was born Ben Garcia but changed his name to honor the Croatian island of Hvar, came to Unusual Ascent Day tucked inside a group of inner tubes and attempted to roll his way to the summit.

The year before, to celebrate earning a degree from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., Ben-Hvar crawled up the auto road and had Wemyss present him with his diploma along the roadside.

Ben-Hvar also was gathering sticks that he then used to make a primitive American flag that greets visitors to the Mount Washington Auto Road Lodge.

Saturday, Ben-Hvar again lived up to his billing, delighting fellow unusual ascenders and a small group of supporters with a pyrotechnic display.

With help from Wemyss, who used a small torch to ignite a rocket, Ben-Hvar made like the Statue of Liberty, complete with a multi-colored fireworks torch, telling onlookers “I’m smiling, you’re laughing.”

A woman who was videotaping the display answered back, “I got up at 3:20, and this was worth it.”

Bugs Bunny, who the rest of the year goes by the name of Jesse Lyman and is a teacher at Lafayette Regional Elementary in Franconia, came to the auto road with students Andrew Donohoe and Madeline Ellms, who were dressed as the aforementioned carrots.

This was the second group of students Lyman brought to the auto road, the first was in 2013 when he was the Cookie Monster and the students were decked out as giant chocolate-chip cookies.

The first person to go up the auto road on in-line skates, Lyman said Unusual Ascent Day is something he hopes to make a tradition for himself and his students.

Wemyss echoed the sentiment, saying he would like Unusual Ascent Day to continue to grow and become an unofficial kick off to the Memorial Day weekend and summer.

Asked whether Alton Weagle would be proud of his successors, Wemyss smiled and replied without hesitation, “I think he would.”

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Newton’s Revenge registration still open

May 21, 2014 – Pinkham Notch, N.H. Cyclists hoping for the opportunity this summer to pedal to the top of the highest peak in the northeastern United States can still register for the 9th annual Newton’s Revenge, a 7.6-mile all-uphill bicycle race from the base to the summit of New Hampshire’s 153-year-old Mt. Washington Auto Road. Newton’s Revenge will take place this year on July 12. Registration is available on line now at http://newtonsrevenge.com/race-details/registration.

Riders who sign up before June 15 can make this grueling climb twice – once in the race itself, once in the Practice Ride, held the morning of Sunday, June 15. The race starts at 8:40 a.m. (Note: In the event of severe weather on July 12, the race may be postponed to July 13, with the same start time.)  In the June practice ride, cyclists may start any time between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Further information is available at http://newtonsrevenge.com.

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Newton’s Revenge is the first of two bike races held on the Mt. Washington Auto Roadeach summer. The other, the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, takes place this year on August 16.

First held in 1973, the Hillclimb has attracted Olympians, professional cyclists, and thousands of rugged amateur riders and all-round extreme sports enthusiasts for 42 years. By the beginning of this century, demand for the opportunity to climb to Mt. Washington’s 6288-foot summit on a bicycle eventually became so great that the Mt. Washington Auto Road and its facilities could not accommodate all would-be entrants to the Hillclimb. To open the mountain to more cyclists, in 2006 the Auto Road management created Newton’s Revenge as a second race on the same course.

Registration for Newton’s Revenge opens each year as soon as registration for the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb has closed. Registration for the 2014 Hillclimb opened on February 1 and closed on February 7, when the field reached its capacity of 650 entrants. Anyone else still hoping to compete in the Hillclimb can join the waiting list at https://www.bikereg.com/Net/22208.

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Welcoming both professional and amateur riders, Newton’s Revenge and the Hillclimb are recognized by cyclists as more difficult than the most arduous Alpine climbs in the Tour de France.  The Mt. Washington Auto Road’s average grade of 12 percent, along with Mt. Washington’s famously unpredictable weather and unusually high winds, makes finishing either race a mark of pride for any athlete.

Newton’s Revenge features many of the same professional cyclists and highly-ranked amateurs who have ridden in the Hillclimb. The favorites in Newton’s Revenge this year will be two past champions who missed the 2013 race but are likely to be in front again in 2014.

Marti Shea of Marblehead, Massachusetts, won the inaugural Newton’s Revenge in 2006, and she has won it each year since then with two exceptions. In 2007, the weather on Mt. Washington’s summit was so forbidding – ice on the road, fog, 70-mph. winds and a dangerous wind chill – that the race was canceled. In 2013, Shea’s coaching obligations and her work leading scenic rides in Europe caused her to miss the race.

A former All-American distance runner at Boston University, Shea expects to compete at Mt. Washington in 2014, and the fact that she is now 51 years old is unlikely to make anyone underrate her chances of winning again. Her winning time in 2012 was one hour 5 minutes 23 seconds; a month later she also won the Hillclimb, in a personal best of 1:03:14. The only other woman who has ridden Mt. Washington in a comparable time recently is U.S. National Mountain Bike Champion Lea Davison of Vermont, who won Newton’s Revenge last year in Shea’s absence, in 1:05:54. Davison is not entered in Newton’s Revenge this year.

On the men’s side, 28-year-old Cameron Cogburn of Cambridge, Mass., seems capable of handling any competition that comes to the mountain. Cogburn first raced in Newton’s Revenge in 2012 and won impressively in 55:59. Like Shea, he improved on that time in the 2012 Hillclimb, clocking 52:28 to win the August race. Last year he missed Newton’s Revenge but won the Hillclimb decisively, pedaling away from the field to a finishing time of 50 minutes 48 seconds. That time is within sight of the course record 49:24, set in 2002 by Tour de France racer Tom Danielson.

The Newton’s Revenge Practice Ride appeals to race entrants as an opportunity to gauge not only their own fitness but the effectiveness of the gearing on their bicycles. Cycling up the Auto Road requires a much lower gear ratio than most cyclists ever use anywhere else, and professional riders have been surprised by the difficulty of making the ascent in their usual lowest gear. The Practice Ride helps a racer learn what adjustments to make.  It also prepares the rider for the mental demands of concentrating non-stop on pedal cadence and balance on a course that goes constantly uphill without a moment’s respite.

The size of the field for both the Hillclimb and Newton’s Revenge 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.  The Hillclimb is filled to capacity every year; Newton’s Revenge typically draws between 250 and 350 riders.  The entry fee for Newton’s Revenge is $300, of which a portion supports the activities of the Mt. Washington Valley Bicycling Club.  Riders who are already registered for the Hillclimb may enter Newton’s Revenge for $150.    There is no additional fee for the practice ride, but the number of riders is limited to 300, and the ride is open only to riders who are already registered for the corresponding race.  Registered participants will receive Practice Ride registration instructions via email.

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The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Newton’s Revenge are two of ten events in the 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 www.hillclimbseries.com.

 

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Blake and Haefeli Return to Defend Titles

Pinkham Notch, N.H. – April 28, 2014

Defending champions Eric Blake of Connecticut and Laura Haefeli of Colorado will lead some 1,300 runners to the starting line of the 54th Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on Saturday, June 21. The annual lottery to fill the majority of the spots in the race this year attracted more than 1,900 entrants. Elite runners and last year’s age-group winners are among the runners who help fill out the field for the grueling 7.6-mile test up the Mount Washington Auto Road to the 6,288-foot summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States. 

New this year, 20 spots will be awarded to top fundraisers through a charity fundraising component. More information on the fundraising program is available at the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race web site at www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com/charity.

Blake beat Joe Gray of Renton, Wash., and 2012 winner Sage Canaday of Boulder, Colo., to the finish line last year and became a three-time champion of the race. The cross country and track and field coach at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain won in a time of 59 minutes, 57 seconds and added the title to ones he collected in 2006 and 2008.

Haefeli, who lives in Del Norte, Colo., turned in a time of 1:18:05 to finish more than five minutes in front of runnerup Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen, Colo., and win her first women’s title. Regina Loiacano of Gloucester, Mass., finished third.

There promises to be plenty action at the front of the pack in this year’s race. Gray and Canaday both return for another shot at the title on the men’s side and Erholtz and Loiacano are in the women’s field.

New contenders taking their first shot at the mountain include Morgan Arritola of Ketchum, Idaho, who was third at the World Mountain Running Championships in 2012 and has beaten  Haefeli and Erholtz; and Cynthia Arnold of Polson, Mont., third in the USATF 10k trail championship in 2013.  

For the men, Ryan Bak of Bend, Ore., who has run a 2:14:17 marathon, and Andrew Benford of Austin, Tex., who has a 1:05:35 half marathon personal best, are in the field.

The premier mountain-running event in the eastern U.S., the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race attracts top American and international mountain runners along with seasoned marathoners, track and cross-country runners, Nordic skiers, snowshoe racers, triathletes and others. Since the number of serious athletes wanting to run this race is much greater than the 153-year-old Mt. Washington Auto Road can accommodate, the “Run to the Clouds” is filled each year partly by invitations issued to elite mountain runners but primarily by a computer-generated random selection process open to all comers. This year the registration window for this lottery opened on February 17 and closed on Saturday, March 15.

Runners whose recent performances indicate that they may be contenders for top places, or whose past participation in the race has contributed particularly to the event’s charisma, can bypass the lottery and enter the race as invited runners. Entry is also guaranteed for runners who have completed the six other races in the New England “Mountain Goat” race series. All previous winners of the race overall may enter automatically, and the previous year’s age-group winners (individual and teams) are entitled to bypass the lottery.

The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race begins at the Auto Road base on Route 16 north of Pinkham Notch and climbs to the 6288-foot summit at an average grade of 12 percent and a net altitude gain of 4650 feet.  The runners battle not only each other but the sheer force of gravity and Mt. Washington’s famously severe winds. 

Former six-time World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand holds the men’s course record at Mt. Washington: 56 minutes 41 seconds, set in 2004.  The women’s record was set in 2010 by the 23-year-old Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare, who made the ascent in one hour eight minutes 21 seconds.

Based in Concord, NH, Northeast Delta Dental has sponsored the race up the historic Mt. Washington Auto Road since 2001. The health company’s CEO, Tom Raffio, has run the race in a personal best of one hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds. In 2012, Northeast Delta Dental increased its already strong support for the event, making it officially the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.

Fifty percent of all proceeds from the race will be donated to the Coos County Family
Health Services for their oral health programs. Based in nearby Berlin, NH, this community-based organization provides innovative, personalized, comprehensive health care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.

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42nd Annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb Fills-Newton’s Revenge Opens

Pinkham Notch, N.H.- On February 6, less than a week after on-line registration opened for this year’s Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, 635 cyclists had filled the field for this all-uphill bike race to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast. Since registration for the Hillclimb is now closed, anyone else hoping for the opportunity to race up the Mt. Washington Auto Road this summer has two choices: sign up for the Hillclimb waiting list, in case a space opens sometime between now and August 16, or register now to ride in Newton’s Revenge, the other annual race on the same course, held this year on July 12.

Registration for Newton’s Revenge opens as soon as registration for the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb has closed. On-line registration for Newton’s Revenge is at http://newtonsrevenge.com/race-details/registration. The Hillclimb waiting list is accessible at https://www.bikereg.com/Net/22208.
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Registration for the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb opens each year at 8 a.m. on February 1. Over the years, the race has attained such popularity that no one is surprised by how quickly the race fills to capacity. Welcoming both professional and amateur riders, the Hillclimb is recognized by cyclists as more difficult than the most arduous Alpine climbs in the Tour de France. The 153-year-old Mt. Washington Auto Road (originally called the Mt. Washington Carriage Road) rises for 7.6 miles at an average grade of 12 percent, with the added challenge of Mt. Washington’s famously unpredictable weather and unusually high winds, all of which make finishing this race a mark of pride for any well-trained cyclist, triathlete, or extreme sports enthusiast.

In 2006, to accommodate the exceptional demand for the opportunity to pedal up this historic and daunting road, the Mt. Washington Auto Road company created Newton’s Revenge as a second race on exactly the same course. Attracting increasingly larger fields each year, Newton’s Revenge has featured many of the same professional and highly-ranked amateur cyclists who have ridden in the Hillclimb.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Newton’s Revenge are especially notable because each race is an open event, in which amateur riders can compete along with professionals. The course record-holder is Tom Danielson, who in 2011 was the first American finisher in the Tour de France. Danielson clocked a time of 49 minutes 24 seconds when he made his debut ascent in the Hillclimb in 2002, then finished just eight seconds shy of that mark in 2010, when he won Newton’s Revenge. The women’s course record-holder is French cycling legend Jeannie Longo, who in 2000 pedaled to the summit in 58 minutes 14 seconds.

The size of the field for both the Hillclimb and Newton’s Revenge 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. The Hillclimb is filled to capacity every year; Newton’s Revenge typically draws between 250 and 350 riders.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb is the principal annual fundraising event for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, an educational non-profit organization in Albany, N.H., that offers classes, workshops, excursions and other lessons in the workings of the natural world. Most of the $350 entry fee goes to support environmental programs through Tin Mountain; the rest covers the cost of substantial logistical support, food, commemorative shirt and other expenses involved in staging the event. For more information see www.tinmtn.org.

The entry fee for Newton’s Revenge is $300, of which a portion supports the activities of the Mt. Washington Valley Bicycling Club. Riders who are already registered for the Hillclimb may enter Newton’s Revenge for $150.

Entrants in either race may also register for its corresponding practice ride. These are held on June 15, for Newton’s Revenge, and July 20 for the Hillclimb, with riders beginning the ascent any time between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. There is no additional fee for the practice ride, but the number of riders is limited to 300, and the ride is open only to riders who are already registered for the corresponding race. Registered participants will receive Practice Ride registration instructions via email.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Newton’s Revenge are two of ten events in the 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 www.hillclimbseries.com.

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SnowCoach Tours Begin for the 16th Season on Mt. Washington

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH— Winter on the Auto Road is officially underway with one of the earliest starts ever to the SnowCoach season. The four massive treads of the unique vehicle easily gripped the fresh snow that covers the Mt. Washington Auto Road, offering a surprisingly smooth surface up to treeline for day one of the 2013 season.

1st SnowCoach SC-lower rezThe three SnowCoaches have a team of specially trained drivers, who surely have one of the most unique jobs in the United States—a sentiment echoed by passengers as they rode up and the northern Presidential Range revealed itself. Among the passengers for the inaugural ascent were father and son Peter Reddy, 71, and Patrick Reddy, 39 of Bristol, Connecticut, who cross country skied their way back to the base lodge from treeline. “These mountains are just magnificent and the opportunity to take the SnowCoach up with my Dad and ski down is something not to be missed,” Patrick said. “I’ve been here many times, winter and summer and it is always amazing.”

First SnowCoach & Skiers 2013The SnowCoach is indeed a unique way to travel. These custom built four wheel drive Chevy passenger vans ferry guests up the Auto Road in summer, albeit with four tires instead of the winter treads. Capable of carrying up to 9 passengers, each trip up the road in a SnowCoach can be as unique as a snowflake, depending on the always interesting weather.

“What’s really terrific about the SnowCoach is that we can take anyone, at any age, into an alpine environment they might never see otherwise. It really is a comfortable adventure for the whole family, in an unforgettable place,” said Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center and Auto Road General Manager, Howie Wemyss.

The SnowCoach tour up Mt. Washington takes approximately 1 ¼ hours and departs daily, weather permitting, on a first come, first served basis. The price for adults is $45, $30 for kids ages 5-12. A Total Trails Ticket ($69) includes a SnowCoach tour as well as an all day trail and tubing pass at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, as well as snowshoe and/or ski rentals. For more information call the Mt. Washington Auto Road or Great Glen Trails at (603) 466-3988 or online at www.greatglentrails.com

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2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb Welcomes the Rally America National Championship

UP TO 20 OF RALLY AMERICA’S TOP TEAMS WILL COMPETE AT NORTH AMERICA’S OLDEST HILLCLIMB

Pinkham, Notch, NH – Sports Car Club of New Hampshire officials, working closely with representatives from Rally America, Inc., announced today that the 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb taking place at the Mt. Washington Auto Road in Pinkham Notch, Gorham, NH June 26-29, 2014 will also serve as a full-points round of the 2014 Rally America National Championship.

“We’re excited to welcome Rally America and its national championship teams to the 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb”, stated Sports Car Club of New Hampshire President, Terry Murphy IV. “This hillclimb has a tremendous history that includes rally teams since the hillclimb returned in 1990. Having up to twenty of Rally America’s top national teams competing for national championship points here next June will not only provide for some great competition in the Rally America National Championship, but provide a great opportunity for spectators to watch these extremely talented teams test their skills at what is referred to by many as the most technical automotive hillclimb in the world.”

Although the Rally America teams will be competing for traditional hillclimb awards at Mt. Washington, the recorded times the rally teams post in the two half-course timed sessions on Friday and again on Saturday, as well as the two full-course timed runs they post on Sunday, will be combined to provide them with a total of six “competition stages”– just like a regular Rally America National Championship event where the lowest combined times after completing a series of competition stages determines the class winners. Rally America officials will use the times their teams post on Friday, Saturday & Sunday to determine placement in the four Rally America National Championship classes which include Open, Super Production, 2-Wheel Drive and B-Spec.

“The 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb will infuse more excitement into the Rally America National Championship,” added Bill Fogg, Sr., Rally America President. “It’s a varied format from our traditional rally, a new event, a new challenge for our top national teams who want to add this one-of-a-kind accolade to their rally racing resumes. I attended this hillclimb in 2011 and saw firsthand how wildly competitive it can be. I am very excited to have Rally America as a part of Mt. Washington’s amazing history and to include our drivers in this storied competition.”

The 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb will consist of seventy five teams competing for bragging rights in a total of eight separate classes June 26-29, 2013 – the top class being the Open Class where high horsepower and creativity will play a key factor. The field of eight classes will also include two rally classes for the Rally America invitational teams – one class for 2-wheel drive cars and one class for all-wheel drive cars – four distinct hillclimb classes (H1, H2, H3 & H4) which will be filled with a variety of highly skilled drivers and specialized race cars, primarily from the New England Hillclimb Association. In addition, a group of up to ten invited drivers competing in rare vintage race cars, many with a history of competing at Mt. Washington and other well-known venues from around the world will round out the seventy five car field.

In 1904, the first year of the Mt. Washington Hillclimb, F.E. Stanley from Newton, Massachusetts, co-creator of the famous Stanley Steamer, drove his 6-horsepower, 800-pound steam-powered car to the summit of Mt. Washington only to be beaten by Harry Harkness from New York. Driving a 40-horsepower Mercedes that weighed 2,200 pounds, Harkness posted a winning time of 24 minutes, 37 and 3/5 seconds in 1904.

Since that first year of competition, many well-known drivers have competed and won the Climb to the Clouds such as “Cannonball” Baker in 1928 & 1932 and the legendary Carroll Shelby in 1956. Driving a Franklin in 1928, Baker raced to a time of 14:49.6 seconds. Carroll Shelby, driving a specially prepared Ferrari 375 Grand Prix roadster in 1956, posted a record-setting run of 10:21.8 on his way to victory. In 1961 Connecticut racer Bill Rutan drove his Carrera-powered Volkswagen to another new record time of 9:13.0 that would stand for 29 years – until the return of the race in 1990 when Tim O’Neil, a Rally driver from Franconia, NH drove his 300+ horsepower all-wheel-drive Volkswagen Rally Golf to the summit in a time of just 7 minutes and 45 seconds.

Following the return of the Mt. Washington Hillclimb in 1990 after a 29-year hiatus, the event was run annually as part of the Mt. Washington Auto Road’s summer event schedule until 2001. During that time, several new records were shared between 7-time Sports Car Club of America National Rally Champion Paul Choiniere from Shelburne, VT and multi-time Canadian Rally Champion Frank Sprongl from Mississauga, Ontario. Sprongl set a record time of 6:41.99 in 1998 driving his 500 horsepower Audi Quattro S2 that would stand for 13 years until 2011.

In 2011, Subaru Rally Team USA driver and multi-time Rally America Overall Champion David Higgins from the Isle of Man came to Mt. Washington for the very first time. Driving a Vermont SportsCar-prepared 2011 Subaru WRX STI all-wheel-drive rally car in the Open class without the aid of a co-driver, Higgins set a new overall course record of 6:11.54 – smashing the previous Mt. Washington Hillclimb record time set by Sprongl by more than 30 seconds!

“Sometimes the biggest battle is against the other drivers”, stated 5-time Rally America Overall Champion and current Mt. Washington Hillclimb Record Holder David Higgins recently, “but racing up the Mt Washington Auto Road is very different. The road itself is the biggest battle and one I can’t wait to fight again. The Mt. Washington Auto Road has it all; Tarmac, gravel, fog, crazy weather and not to mention the scenic drops! It is an immense challenge that is also steeped in history.”

Organized and sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of New Hampshire, the 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb will take place at the Mt. Washington Auto Road in Pinkham Notch, Gorham, NH on June 26-29, 2014. The window for accepting entry applications from potential competitors will open at 12:01am on December 1, 2013 and close at midnight on December 31, 2013. Further information regarding the 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb is available at www.climbtotheclouds.com.

 

2013-RA-Scion-xD-OTR-Aaron-Kathman-photo-300x199

Factory Scion xD team driver Andrew Comrie-Picard with co-driver Jeremy Wimpey shown competing at the 2013 Oregon Trail Rally for Rally America’s 2-wheel drive championship in 2013. Photo Credit: Aaron Kathman

2013-RA-SRTUSA-Higgins-STI-Alex-Haugen-Photo-web-300x199

 

Five-Time Rally America Overall Champion and current Mt. Washington Hillclimb record-holder David Higgins from the Isle of Man and co-driver Craig Drew driving their 2013 Subaru WRX STI at the 2013 New England Forest Rally which is based in Newry, Maine. Photo Credit: Alex Haugen

2013-RA-Block-Ford-Alex-Haugen-Photo-web-300x200

Longtime Rally America competitor and Gymkhana legend Ken Block with co-driver Alex Gelsomino driving their 2013 Monster Energy-backed Ford Fiesta to victory at the 2013 New England Forest Rally. Photo Credit: Alex Haugen

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ABOUT THE SPORTS CAR CLUB OF NEW HAMPSHIRE:
Established in 1955 by a group of longtime sports car enthusiasts from New Hampshire, the Sports Car Club of New Hampshire (SCCNH) is a non-profit 501c3 organization open to any individual who is interested in automobiles or automobile-related activities – whether they are a New Hampshire resident or not. Driver and motor vehicle safety as well as the improvement of driving skills are the primary focus at all SCCNH events. For more information regarding the Sports Car Club of New Hampshire, upcoming events or membership, be sure to visit www.sccnh.org

ABOUT SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC.:
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 dealers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information visit www.subaru.com.

“Subaru”, “WRX STI”, all model names, and the Subaru logo are registered trademarks of the Subaru subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd, Japan. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners.

ABOUT THE MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD
The Washington Auto Road is considered by many hillclimb racers to be extremely technical with a narrow road surface that averages just over 20 feet wide. In addition to being very narrow with steep drop-offs that vary from side to side, the road is also incredibly steep, with an average 12% grade and gaining slightly more than 4,600 feet in total elevation change from the starting line to the finish line. The surface of the 7.6 mile Mt. Washington Auto Road is mostly tarmac with approximately one mile of gravel and contains well over 150 turns and switchbacks as the road winds its’ way to the 6, 288 foot summit of the Northeast’s tallest peak.

First opened in 1861 as the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is the country’s oldest manmade attraction. Located on Rt. 16 in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, just north of the Mt. Washington Valley and minutes south of Gorham, the Auto Road has a long and winding history, much like its 7.6 mile trip up to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast. For more information, visit www.MtWashingtonAutoRoad.com or call 603-466-3988.

ABOUT RALLY AMERICA, INC.:
Based in Williston, VT, Rally America, Inc. sanctions the Rally America National Championship, which consists of eight national-level events in 2014 located at a variety of venues across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Newry, Maine. Top competitors in the Rally America National Championship reach speeds of well over 100 mph driving highly modified street cars such as Mitsubishi Evolutions, Subaru WRX STI’s, Ford Fiestas, Honda Fits and Scion xD’s on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt, ice or snow. For more information regarding Rally America’s National Championship or the sport of performance rally, visit www.rally-america.com.

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Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race raises more than $15k for Coos County Family Health Services

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH— More than $15,000 was raised and recently donated to Coos County Family Health Services (CCFHS) as a result of the 2013 Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race, which took place in June on the Mt Washington Auto Road. More than 1,300 dedicated runners came together to face the immense challenge of running up the northeast’s highest peak on one of the toughest eight mile courses in the racing world. While it was a day marked by genuine athletic achievement, thanks to Northeast Delta Dental and the Auto Road, the benefits will be felt long into the future in the local community.

Pictured in photo: Events Director of the Mt. Washington Auto Road Kimberly Hoyt, Manager of Community Relations at Northeast Delta Dental, Crystal Carroll and General Manager of the Mt Washington Auto Road Howie Wemyss present a check for $15,000 to Chief Executive Officer, Adele Woods; President of the Board of Directors, Robert Pelchat; and Loretta Morrissette, RDH, all of Coos County Family Health Services. These funds were raised during the 53rd running of the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.

“These funds mean the world to our organization and will really help expand the scope of dental services to our patients and community. It is rare to receive funds to cover dental care for adults, so this will make a huge difference,” noted Adele Woods, CEO of CCFHS.

Coos County Family Health Services serves approximately 15,000 area residents annually. By addressing dental care needs in the clinic rather than in a hospital emergency room it helps defray enormous expenses for patients. This community-based organization provides personalized, comprehensive general and oral healthcare and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.

Northeast Delta Dental has been the primary sponsor of the Mount Washington Road Race since 2001. Since 1995, the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation has donated nearly $50,000 to support the CCFHS school-based oral health education program, fluoride rinse, and preventive dental services. The center’s status as the new beneficiary of the race is a reminder of the Auto Road’s and Northeast Delta Dental’s extensive ties to the region, and to the race’s commitment to the well-being of the larger community.

“This is a wonderful event for the participants and the organization it supports. Our sponsorship of this race and support of Coos County Family Health Services is all a part of Northeast Delta Dental’s commitment to oral health and well being of North Country residents. Like the Mt Washington Auto Road, we pride ourselves in being a part of this community and look forward to our collaborative and beneficial efforts in the future,” said Kathleen B. Walker, director of marketing & communications at Northeast Delta Dental.

For more information and complete results of the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race visit www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com. For more information about the Coos County Family Health Services organization visit www.coosfamilyhealth.org.

 

 

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Muster in the Mountains

“Muster in the Mountains” Colonial Encampment Returns to Mt. Washington Auto Road Base Area-Public Invited to See and Experience Time Travel Sept. 6-8th

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH – The Autumn “Muster in the Mountains” which takes place annually at the Mt. Washington Auto Road portrays one of New Hampshire’s most dramatic and colorful time periods (1750-1850). The sights, sounds and smell of time travel, including open cook fires and musket and cannon fire, will come to life on September 6-8, as more than 100 historical reenactors set up their camps at the base area of the Mt. Washington Auto Road on Route 16 in Pinkham Notch.

This colonial encampment will recreate the historic gatherings where early settlers traded goods and services, often traveling great distances for the annual rendezvous. Groups representing Northeastern Indians, frontiersmen, militiamen, British soldiers, French Marines and mountain men will set up period tentage, tipis and wigwams.

Artisans will offer handcrafted items ranging from leather goods and clothing to period beadwork, knives, guns and rare books. Planned activities include musket and cannon firing; tomahawk and knife throwing competitions; weaving; woodcarving; gunsmithing; coppersmithing; blacksmithing; period music; candle dipping; basketmaking; quillwork; period cooking; woodcraft; archery; 18th century games and more!

muster 2011 031 Saturday will be competition day, with cannon fire, a shooting range and woods walk/mock hunt. The encampment area will be open to the public (free of charge) each day from 9 am to 6 pm. The Auto Road will be open for normal operations.

“This Muster in the Mountains is the closest thing to time travel you can find—it’s an amazing sight and a great reminder of the lifestyles and challenges faced by those who carved out a life here centuries before us. Talking with these very knowledgeable reenactors and seeing a colonial era world come to life with the Presidential Range as a backdrop is a rare opportunity!” observed Steve Caming, Media Director of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center.

muster 2011 125For more information on the upcoming Muster in the Mountains call the Mt. Washington Auto Road at 603-466-3988 or online at: www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com

Pictured in Photos: Historical reenactors participating in a previous Muster in the Mountains at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road on Route 16 in Pinkham Notch.
(Steven Caming/Mt. Washington Auto Road Photos)

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Mt. Washington Alt Summit Weekend Builds Energy

“Mt. Washington Auto Road Alt Energy Summit” on September 14-15, 2013 Builds Momentum With Full Slate of Both Mainstream and Newly Developed Alternative Energy Based Vehicles and Technologies On Hand For Demonstrations and Drive Up Northeast’s Highest Peak

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH— What began as a spark is now fully charged up as the “Mt. Washington Auto Road Alt Energy Summit” on September 14-15, 2013 has generated a great deal of support within the ever broadening alternative energy sector. Major manufacturers, electric vehicle associations, industry suppliers and individual “makers” and inventors will all be on hand, as the Auto Road continues as a proving and playground for new and evolving technologies.

Among those manufacturers, builders and organizations planning to attend are: Lovering Mitsubishi with the MiEV; Banks Chevrolet with the new VOLT, Corbin Sparrow (represented by famed inventor Mike Corbin); Zoombikes, Zero Bikes, the Dirigo Vehicle (a diesel which gets up to 99 mpg), the ELF electric bike; Tesla Motors; Torke Electric Vehicles and the MIT team with their Porsche and ebike. Organizations in attendance will include: Solarfest (the renewable energy festival that takes place in Vermont each year) and this summit will serve as the launch for the newly formed Boston Chapter of the Electric Automobile Association.

Also planning to attend is Prof. Charles MacArthur, who rode the first Corbin Electric motorcycle to the summit of the Northeast’s highest peak in 1974, as part of the original “Mt. Washington Alternative Energy Regatta”, which he helped organize. In those early days of Alt Energy, 17 converted cars and bikes showed up, including a steam powered trike and a sewage powered methane bus.

Categories will include EV manufacturers, dealers, retailers, groups and associations, makers, inventors, developers, publications and related media, components/parts and services. Individuals and organizations with vehicles including cars, trucks motorcycles and bicycles or unique one-of-a-kind creations are also invited. An Energy Expo Exhibit area is planned, which will include vehicle manufacturers, related alternative energy businesses and historic vehicles which have ascended Mt. Washington by other than gas powered engines. Exhibits and information regarding other sustainable energy sources will also be featured, including hydro-electric, wind power, solar power and geo-thermal.

“This event has been met with great enthusiasm at all levels of the Alt energy world,” Noted Event Director Ted Dillard. “This event will recognize how far the industry has come, from individual inventors and makers to mass produced electric vehicles by the world’s major carmakers. As I’ve said before, this will be a landmark event in New Hampshire!” he added.

What to Expect:

• Vendors, Dealers, and Manufacturers of Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid, Plug-In Electric and Alternative Fuel vehicles showing some of the most remarkable vehicles available today – complete with test rides.

• Information “roundtable” discussion sessions for homeowners, backyard inventors, public administrators, fleet managers and others on Renewable Energy solutions available today, and funding opportunities and resources.

• Supplies, components, parts and systems for Renewable Energy systems for homes, businesses and vehicles.

• Exhibits of unique, creative and innovative solutions for energy and transportation systems offered by inventors, students, “makers”, researchers and enthusiasts.

• The Alt Energy Drive to the Summit – watch and cheer on our “Alt Energy contestants” as they make history on Mt. Washington. Everything from home-built electric bikes, cars and motorcycles to the sleekest high-performance plug-in vehicles on the road today will be on hand. Watch for some truly unusual solutions there as well, including some top-secret “unmanned transportation” research projects currently in development. Awards and categories for the Summit will reward ingenuity, creativity and dedication.

Also on hand and in operation will be the first Alt energy vehicle to ever ascend the Mt. Washington Auto Road—the original, steam powered Stanley Locomobile that made the trip from Newton, Massachusetts to the summit of the mountain in 1899.

The Auto Road is also pleased to announce the recent installation of its first charging station, which can accommodate electric vehicles seeking a “charge for no charge” when in Pinkham Notch.

For more information about or to register for the “Mt. Washington Auto Road Alt Energy Summit” event at the Mt. Washington Auto Road call Event Director Ted Dillard (978) 621-5178 or online at www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com

 

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Cogburn and Wunderwald pedal fastest to the top

Pinkham Notch, N.H-  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.”

Cameron Cogburn, of Cambridge, MA, rides through the finishing Photo Dennis Coughlin

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. Silke Wunderwald, of of Hopkington, RI, won the women's division of the 41st annual Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, in Pinkham Notch, NH, on August 17th, 2013, with a time of 1:09:56. Over 500 competitors finished the 7.6 mile Auto Road course, to the 6,288' summit of Mount Washington, tallest peak in the northeastern United States.                                                         Photo Dennis Coughlin

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

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For further information:John Stifler, press liaison — jstifler@econs.umass.edu Before 6 p.m. Saturday Aug. 17: 603-466-3988 After that: 413-320-7510

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