Hillclimb Feature Presentation 11; Henry Huntington

Ballad of a First-Timer on the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb

In May it seemed a lark

In June I paid the fee

July my training hit the mark

Then August came to be.


I had an early meal of eggs

Then drove to Pinkham Notch

With time to stretch and warm my legs

And fasten on my watch.


The volunteers had things in hand

And got me set to race

The toilets were in high demand

As bikers swarmed the base.


My bike, a rental, pedaled fine

Red Jersey did me proud

Now crowded at the starting line

My heartbeat seems so loud.


The gun goes off and so do I

Amid the bright-clad throng

The first hill’s steep, but spirit high

I’m feeling good and strong.


The first mile’s quick, the second too,

(I drop my bottle, have to stop)

But soon am back and climbing true

I hear I’m halfway to the top.


Alas, the pace begins to tell

My shirt is soaking wet

Above the trees a long steep spell

I hope I’ll get there yet.


The bikes ahead they look so small

And so much higher still

I wonder if I’ve hit the wall

And hope I don’t take a spill.


A flatter part, I have a drink

The road’s no longer rough

My chain keeps moving, link by link,

My low gear’s (just) low enough.


I see the railway’s gray-black cloud

The summit’s coming near

I hear the cheering of the crowd

Why won’t the finish line appear?


I’m at the final, chalk-marked climb

My breath is nearly out

My vision’s closing in and I’m

There! At last! I wish that I could shout!


My wife appears, I get a kiss

I drink a quart, two, three

The true reward is lasting bliss

The mountain’s part of me.


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