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England edges Wong at Mt. Washington

On a day when it wasn’t clear whether the riders were heading up towards the clouds or the clouds down to the riders, Justin England (Webcor) and Phillip Wong (Fior di Frutta) staged an epic mano á mano fight at the Mt. Washington Hillclimb in Conway, New Hampshire. England and Wong rode side-by-side for more than half of the 7.6-mile climb, with England sprinting away with 500 meters to go for the win in near-whiteout conditions. “I knew I only had one attack left in me,” said England. “And so with 500 to go I gave everything I had, and it was just enough.” England’s last-ditch attack

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By Chris Milliman, Special to VeloNews.com

England and Wong grind up Mt. Washington in near-whiteout conditions

England and Wong grind up Mt. Washington in near-whiteout conditions

Photo: Chris Milliman

On a day when it wasn’t clear whether the riders were heading up towards the clouds or the clouds down to the riders, Justin England (Webcor) and Phillip Wong (Fior di Frutta) staged an epic mano á mano fight at the Mt. Washington Hillclimb in Conway, New Hampshire.

England and Wong rode side-by-side for more than half of the 7.6-mile climb, with England sprinting away with 500 meters to go for the win in near-whiteout conditions.

“I knew I only had one attack left in me,” said England. “And so with 500 to go I gave everything I had, and it was just enough.”

England’s last-ditch attack gained him a quick 10-second margin on Wong, but the final 100 meters, a 22 percent wall, almost proved his undoing. Wong sprinted up the final wall, while England struggled to hold his lead, crossing the line only 15 meters ahead of his former breakaway companion.

After a fast start by Wong in the first mile of the race, England took the lead and looked ready for a solo win. But Mt. Washington’s unrelenting slope, a 12 percent average that ascends 4727 feet, slowed the 25-year-old Californian’s pace in the third mile.

“I really started to suffer as I broke treeline,” said England. “Phil was coming up to me and it was a lot easier once he got on. We worked together and he let me know what to expect.”

A constant hammering rain and sustained 40-mph winds in the final three miles kept the course record, 49:24 set in 2002 by Tom Danielson, safe for another year.

The women’s race felt the absence of Genéviéve Jeanson (RONA), the Canadian sprite who holds the course record and regularly finishes in the top five overall. In her absence, 25-year-old Aimee Vasse (VeloBella) won the race in her third attempt, albeit some 16 minutes slower than Jeanson’s record.

“I was fifth here last year and I’m climbing better this year so I wanted to see what I could do,” said Vasse. “I was riding alone the whole time, so maybe I got complacent and could have gone faster.”

Mt. Washington Hillclimb
Conway, NH. August 21
Men

1. Justin England, Webcor, 58:50
2. Phillip Wong, Fior di Frutta, 58:55
3. Andrew Knight, Garneau, 1:01:55
4. Joshua Dillon, Garneau, 1:02:01
5. Seth Hosmer, 1:02:45
6. Jesse Anthony, ECV, 1:03:08
7. David Thompson, 1:04:02
8. Scott Fiore, 1:04:10
9. John Bayley, 1:04:22
10. Beniot Fradette, 1:05:01

Women
1. Aimee Vasse, VeloBella, 1:10:44
2. Kerry Litka, Dansko, 1:15:41
3. Martha Robertson, 1:21:53
4. Codere Dominique, 1:23:38
5. Louise Bariss, 1:25:36
6. Sarah Sauvayre, 1:26:32
7. Mary Georgetti, 1:27:59
8. Heather McKendry, 1:30:45
9. Joe Mitchell, 1:43:12
10. Lauren Hefferon, 1:38:21