Photo credit: dennis Coughlin
Boulder native rider, Nico Toutenhoofd wins this nation's famous, 38th annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb in the White Mountains of New Hampshire today! Nico is no stranger to hill climbs in Colorado having taken his fair share of podium finishes in many climbs through the years. Here is a great write up in WMUR New Hampshire. For those who are unfamiliar with this race, it's course can make Lookout Mountain in Golden seem flat and Flagstaff in Boulder an appetizer, with it's on average 12% grade nearing 22% at the finish.
In this 7.6-mile all-uphill grind to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast, Toutenhoofd rode the first two miles hidden behind more than two dozen other cyclists, then moved steadily to the front, dropping a struggling group of younger riders who were less familiar with the ultra-steep course. After occasional glances back to make sure his lead was secure, he pumped his fist as he broke the tape at the 6288-foot summit in 57 minutes 26 seconds.
His closest rival was another veteran, former U.S. National Mountain Bike Champion Tinker Juarez, of Whittier, Calif. Juarez, 49, who was encountering the Auto Road for the first time, showed that he still has the strength that took him to the Olympics in 1996. Trying to keep Toutenhoofd in sight, he pedaled side by side with Timothy Ahearn, 35, of Woodstock, Conn., then pulled away after the five-mile point to take second in 58:08 – a new record for men aged 45-49 in this race -- with Ahearn a delighted third in 58:22.
“I really wanted to win,” said Toutenhoofd, who placed second here on his first attempt, in 2008 and then was fourth last year. “Of course how well you place depends on who else shows up, but this year I was better rested. Also, this time I rode with a power-meter.” The new Mt. Washington champion explained that the meter on his bike makes it easier for him to keep his physical effort steady. “My goal was to get from the bottom to the top as fast as possible and ignore everyone else.”
Want to know Nico's training secrets?
The Daily Camera just ran a story on Nico Training