Mount Agamenticus TT, Maine

Agamenticus TT, ME – The Mount Agamenticus (Mt. Agi) is a mixed-bag TT with lots of character. Starts just outside of the South Berwick town center near the intersection of Agamenticus and Willow roads. The first few miles of the course are fairly flat, where Agamenticus Road is taken to Emery’s Bridge Road.

However, once you turn right on Belle Marsh Road, the climbing begins, but not steeply. A left is taken on Mountain Road, which climbs a little further before a brief descent occurs. Beware, the descent starts paved and good speed is built up, but before you reach the bottom, the road turns to gravel. The gravel can be loose washboard bumps with large stones, and it is not straight.

One time when I came down this, the washboard nearly rhythmically bounced me right off the road at 30+ mph. Then the steep climbing begins, still on dirt. Depending on the time of year, recent rain or lack thereof, and maintenance, you may have to hunt for a good line to not lose traction with skinny 23mm tires.

Wachusett Mountain and Bash Bish Hill TT, Massachusetts

Wachusett Mountain, MA – Wachusett Mountain is among the less challenging hill climb races that we’re talking about here. Sure, you will find a few sustained steep sections on your way, but there are some flat and downhill stretches that allow for some recovery. The Wachusett Mountain climb, when you take the time-trial track, starts out below the ski area at the base lodge on Mountain Road.

The first miles are is the hardest as the track averages some 8 to 9% grade. Then you turn right onto the summit road which will take you around to Wachusett Mountain summit by a 1-way auto road. There’s a short downhill section just when you’ve done some 2 miles and here, you can reach a speed of some 40mph so you’ll really need that ring on your bike.

The downhill stretch with the sharp left turn at the bottom is barreled off so you take the shortcut which takes about a half-mile out of initial TT course. The last stretch onto the parking lot at the top is quite steep again, probably more than 12%. On a clear day, you even might see Boston from Wachusett’s summit. The Wachusett time-trial series runs once a month on Wednesday evenings, for three or four months.

Mount Ascutney, Vermont

Mount Ascutney, VT – Due to the increasing popularity of the Mt. Washington hill climb and park management noting a dramatic increase in riders training at Mt. Ascutney, the park decided to hold their own race from 2000. It was my first hill climb race. 90 riders competed in the inaugural event, and thousands have participated over the last decades.

As you can see from the comparison graph below, the first 1.5 miles of Ascutney gain significantly more vertical than any other climb. There reportedly are short but sustained 19% grade sections. I find Ascutney a more grueling climb than Washington. It’s only half the vertical so you push harder in the race knowing the pain will be over in 30 minutes.

Ascutney has some very tight switchbacks and a few frost heaves, so care must be taken on the descent. Since much of the surface has been recently repaved in 2005, the descent is much more enjoyable. It’s still a good idea to reduce tire pressure and stop for rim cooling, however. Many riders have blown tires off their wheels descending this mountain.