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.