Pinkham Notch N.H – Cameron Cogburn of Cambridge, Mass., and Marti Shea of Marblehead, Mass., repeated past successes today by winning Newton’s Revenge, a 7.6-mile bike race up the supremely steep Mt. Washington Auto Road in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Cogburn, 28, a professional cyclist on leave from graduate studies in astrophysics at M.I.T., completed this ascent of the highest peak in the northeastern U.S. in 53 minutes 12 seconds – nearly three minutes faster than his time when he won the same race in 2012, but slower than he had hoped.
Shea, 51 years old and as competitive as when she was an all-American distance runner 30 years ago at Boston University, was the first female rider to cross the finish line. She reached the mountain’s 6288-foot summit in one hour five minutes 53 seconds, placing 6th overall in the field of 157 riders.
Cogburn has raced up the Auto Road four times now – twice in Newton’s Revenge, twice in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb held in August on the same course – and won all four times, but he fell short of one goal today. He had hoped to break the course record of 49 minutes 24 seconds, set in 2002 by Tom Danielson of Connecticut. Last year in the Hillclimb, he recorded a personal best of 50:48, and this year he hoped to go faster.
That hope disappeared in the first mile, when the chain fell off his bike’s sprocket and he had to dismount and reattach the chain before continuing the climb. Meanwhile, Eric Follen, 39, of Sanford, Maine, Chris Yura, 35, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and 19-year-old Chad Young of Newmarket, N.H., all pedaled past Cogburn.
Cogburn soon overtook Yura and Young, but Follen held the lead for six miles before Cogburn finally overtook him high above the mountain’s tree line. Follen was runnerup in 54:08, four minutes faster than his time in this race last year — when he was also runnerup.
Of the dropped chain Cogburn remarked afterward, “When something like that happens, you kind of lose motivation. But I’m glad I won.”
Young, who passed Yura to take third overall, was the first finisher from New Hampshire. Having first raced up the Auto Road at the age of 15, he said his goal today was to finish in under 56 minutes. He reached that goal with six seconds to spare, clocking 55:54.
Shea, like Cogburn, returned to this race after a year’s absence, and she resumed her string of undefeated appearances, winning this grueling event for the seventh time in as many attempts. She has also won the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb the last three times she has competed in it – 2010, 2011 and 2012.
In 2012 she rode faster, clocking a 1:03:14 in the Hillclimb, but of today’s race she said, “I’m very happy with my time. Riding this race is good for me. I use it to find out where I’m at” in terms of conditioning. Shea plans to compete on Mt. Washington again at this year’s Hillclimb, hoping to ride faster.
So does Cogburn. “I’m always better in August!” he quipped as he cooled down at the mountain’s top. A return appearance next month will depend on how well he can coordinate the Mt. Washington schedule with the U.S. Cycling Pro Challenge, held in August in Colorado.
Last year’s Hillclimb women’s winner Silke Wunderwald, 42, of Hopkinton, R.I., took second behind Shea, in 1:11:56.
“I was right behind Marti at the start,” said Wunderwald, “and I thought maybe I could stay on her wheel, but that lasted only about half a mile. Then she was gone.”
Shannon Kamieneski, 38, of Manchester, NH, was the first female finisher from the Granite State and tenth woman overall, in 1:38:33.
Shea and Cogburn each won $1500.
After the race, Shea chatted happily with Jonah Thompson, of Albuquerque, N.M. At the age of 15 Thompson is already a Mt. Washington veteran, having first raced here at the age of nine, when he was by far the smallest rider in the field then but by no means the slowest. This year he finished 17th overall in 1:09:52, more than three minutes faster than a year ago.
Shea was tickled to discover that, having grown since last year, Thompson is now her height and weight – 5’4” and 105 pounds. “And you look taller on the bike!” she told him.
The youngest rider in the field this year was ten-year-old Luke Anthony of East Lyme, Conn. With his father, John Anthony, riding behind him, he finished in 1:43:57, good for 114th place overall.
- Cameron Cogburn, 28, Cambridge, Mass., 53:12
- Eric Follen, 39, Sanford, Maine, 54:08
- Chad Young, 19, Newmarket, N.H., 55:54
- Chris Yura, 35, Bryn Mawr, Pa., 58:25
- Erik Vandendries, 49, Chestnut Hill, Mass., 1:02:31
- Alec Babala, 22, Nashua, N.H., 1:06:29
- Paul Cyr, 34, Edmundston, New Brunswick, 1:06:51
- Andrew Boxer, 45, Ludlow Vt., 1:07:05
- Gregory Bartick, 42, Gorham, Maine 1:07:13
- Kaven McNicoll, 34, Amqui, Quebec, 1:07:32
Record 49:24 by Thomas Danielson of East Lyme, CT in 2002
- Marti Shea, 51, Marblehead, Mass., 1:05:53
- Silke Wunderwald, 42, Hopkinton, R.I., 1:11:56
- Amy Reynders, 40, East Syracuse, N.Y., 1:18:43
- Ana Sirianni, 33, Salem, Mass., 1:18:52
- Alexa Gubinski, 25, Fairfield, Conn., 1:22:02
- Mary Hynes-Johanson, 59, Belmont, Mass., 1:23:36
- Barbara Tardiff, 58, Concord, Mass., 1:35:24
- Jacquelyn Kirby, 47, Jamestown, R.I., 1:36:12
- Jody King, 54, Buxton, Maine, 1:37:37
- Shannon Kamieneski, 38, Manchester, N.H., 1:38:33
Record: 58:14 by Jeannie Longo in 2000