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Uphill battle

Hazelden crowned King of the Mountain; Voghel the Queen

June 23, 2010
By LOU REUTER, News Senior Sports Writer

    WILMINGTON — Doug Hazelden wasn’t the first guy to cross the finish line in the ninth annual Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race, an event which drew a record number of 330 entries on June 19. The avid runner and biker from Bloomingdale also didn’t have the fastest finish time on June 5 when more than 100 runners pounded the pavement on the same 8-mile course in the annual foot race up the Veterans Memorial Highway.

    But after turning in a fourth-place overall finish in the run, and following with a strong performance on his bike, Hazelden was named this year’s King of the Mountain for those competing in both races up New York state’s fifth-highest mountain at 4,867 feet.

    “It feels really good,” Hazelden said. “I was surprised, especially because my bike time was a little slower than last year. I had a good run time two weeks ago, and because some of the faster runners weren’t here this year, I thought I had a shot. Finishing fourth overall in the run really helped me.

    “The King and Queen of the Mountain were the last awards they gave away after the bike race, so I had to wait around to find out I won.”

    Competing in the men’s 50-59 age group, Hazelden pedaled up the toll road’s steady 8-percent grade to finish in 58 minutes, 51.20 seconds, which was good enough for eighth place in his wave and 56th overall.

    “I was hoping to beat my time from last year, but that didn’t happen,” Hazelden said. “I felt really good out there, but I wound up finishing about three minutes slower. I’m still happy. I sat down all the way this time, as opposed to last year when I stood up and pedaled. I noticed most of the fast guys sit down on their bikes going uphill, and it seemed to work for me.”

    Meanwhile, Louise Voghel of St. Armand, Quebec, successfully defended her Queen of the Mountain title when she crossed the bike finish line in 1:11:23.4 as a competitor in the female 50-59 age group. The victory capped off a long and eventful day for Voghel, who ran in New Hampshire that morning at the 50th annual Mount Washington Run before driving to Wilmington to compete in the evening at the Whiteface Uphill Bike Race.

    In New Hampshire, Voghel placed 46th in a field of 254 women that featured some of the top uphill runners in the United States. After heading west to the Adirondacks and biking up Whiteface, Voghel had climbed a distance of more than 15 miles up two of the highest mountains in the Northeast.

    Saturday’s fastest male and female cyclists both hailed from Ottawa, as Aaron Fillion and Sue Schlatter again won Whiteface Uphill Bike overall championships. Fillion, a 30-39 men’s age group competitor who was tops at Whiteface in 2008, was the first to cross the finish line this year, breaking the tape in 44:53.75.

    This year marked the third time Fillion has competed in the race, and now he has a pair of victories to go along with a second-place result from his first appearance in the event. Fillion, who specializes more in road racing and pedals between 10,000 and 20,000 kilometers each year, started in the third wave of the day to take the win.

    “My goal was to win the overall title, and I thought I did well enough to win, but I didn’t find out until a few hours later,” the 35-year-old Fillion said. “The thing that made me really happy was I made a pretty significant improvement over the last time I did the race. My time wasn’t that much better, but I was much more powerful. The wind was working against us.

    “I wouldn’t call a race like this fun,” Fillion added. “It’s hard to enjoy yourself when you are in constant pain, but it’s a good benchmark to see if you are improving. It’s a pretty simple race. You’re just going uphill as hard as you can. It comes down to who is the strongest rider, and who can sustain their power for longest duration.”

    Fillion’s next race will be four days of action in the Tour of Pittsburgh, which takes place over Fourth of July weekend.

    Racing in the the 40-49 age group, Schlatter took the women’s title for the second year in a row, finishing in 51:38.52, which was also good enough for an 18th-place overall result.

    The fastest local competitor was a youngster, as Lake Placid’s Sam Cowan finished first in the men’s under-20 age group and 34th overall when he crossed the line in 54:47.67.

    The ninth annual Whiteface Uphill Bike featured numerous cyclists from across the Northeast and many more from Ontario and Quebec. This year, three unicyclists also took on the climb, including Rhode Island’s Lisa Edwards, who was the final competitor to cross the finish line. Late in race, heavy winds and rain whipped across the upper elevations of the mountain, but Edwards refused to quit despite the tough conditions. She completed her trek in 2:33:83.

Article Photos

Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Ottawa’s Aaron Fillion nears the finish line to claim the overall title in the ninth annual Whiteface Uphill Bike Race on Saturday, June 19. The win marked the second Whiteface Uphill overall victory for Fillion, who has entered the event three times and was runner-up in his first appearance at the race.



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