Mount Washington Auto Road, Gorham NH

News & Press Releases 

Aug 12, 2019
47th Annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb August 17, 2019 -- 8:30 a.m.

The Chad William Young Foundation has named Alexander Vandendries of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, the recipient of the 2019 Chad Young Sponsorship for the 2019 Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. 

47th Annual 
Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb 
August 17, 2019 -- 8:30 a.m.
 

•    Chad Young Foundation brings heightened safety awareness to Mt. Washington.
•    Alexander Vandendries named recipient of 2019 Chad Young Sponsorship.


Pinkham Notch, N.H. – August 12, 2019 -- for immediate release

The Chad William Young Foundation has named Alexander Vandendries of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, the recipient of the 2019 Chad Young Sponsorship for the 2019 Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. 

Vandendries, 17, will compete in this 7.6-mile all-uphill race along with two other family members and some 470 other well-trained riders in a climb that professional cyclists consider as difficult as the most challenging ascents in the Tour de France. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 17, at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and finishes at the mountain’s summit, 6288 feet above sea level and 4650 feet above the starting line. The Chad William Young sponsorship defrays a large part of the cost of Vandendries’s entry.
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Chad Young was one of the most promising cyclists from New Hampshire ever to compete in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. In 2011, at 16, he placed 12th overall among more than 600 riders, and a year later he finished eighth. In 2014 he set the record for U20, or Juniors (riders under 20 years old), of 55 minutes 54 seconds on the Auto Road’s ultra-steep course, bettering a mark that had stood for 15 years. In April of 2017, at the age of 21, Young died from head trauma in a crash in the Tour of the Gila, a major professional race in New Mexico. 

Following his untimely death, his family formed the Chad William Young Foundation. According to Young’s mother, Lois Young, “Our mission is basically two-fold: funding scholarships at both St. Thomas Aquinas High School (in Dover, N.H.) and Colorado School of Mines, the schools Chad attended, and funding technological developments in the prevention of brain injuries in all types of cycling.”  

In the winter semester of 2018, the Chad William Young Foundation launched its cycling injury prevention project as part of the Colorado School of Mines Capstone Senior Project. In this project, researchers developed an information system to identify and alert cyclists to dangerous sections of cycling routes, giving them actionable intelligence about risks and safe speeds. The system includes an algorithm that generates a risk profile for portions of a cycling course in a quantitative manner.
 
In a design showcase last December, the students presented their findings to their faculty, advisors, judges and peers. As a culmination of 12 months of study, the project placed second among 22 entries at the showcase. More importantly, it got the attention of the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado media outlets.

Sponsorships for junior riders in the Hillclimb have been available for several years, but their visibility was heightened in 2018 when the Youngs’ foundation took over the responsibility for these sponsorships. 

“Chad loved riding Mt. Washington,” said Lois Young this week. “He was a recipient of sponsorships whenever he entered the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, and as a result the Chad William Young Foundation would like to pay it forward by sponsoring U20 athletes so they can also have the opportunity to test their skill against the Rockpile.” 

Alexander Vandendries and his family are no strangers to the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. Alexander’s father, Erik Vandendries, 54, rides in the TopNotch, or elite, division of the race, and has ranked among the top finishers in the Hillclimb for several years. Alexander’s sister, Gabrielle, 20, is a top competitor in the women’s field. Alexander first raced in the Hillclimb in 2017, finishing in two hours 15 minutes. In 2018 he bettered that time by 40 minutes, finishing in 1:35:16, and he is likely to lower his time again this year. 

The Hillclimb is the main annual fundraising event for the non-profit Tin Mountain Conservation Center, which provides environmental and recreational education for children, schools and families in communities in the White Mountains and the Mt. Washington Valley. The standard entry fee is $350. For most riders, all but $25 of that amount is a tax-deductible charitable donation. For elite riders in the race’s TopNotch category, the tax-deductible amount is $200. With a sponsorship, a Junior rider raises half the entry fee through pledged donations, the Chad William Young Foundation covers the other half.

The Auto Road management, the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, N.H., and the larger cycling community share Chad Young family’s commitment to increased awareness of safety in all cycling events. The Vandendries family is grateful for the Chad William Young Foundation’s support.

Registration for the 2019 Hillclimb is still open, at www.bikereg.com/mwarbh