Hill climb championship added to national calendar

A new hill climb event will make an appearance on USA Cycling’s National Championship calendar for 2016.

The inaugural Hill Climb National Championship will ascend Pikes Peak on Aug. 13, 2016 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“We have considered this as a championship event in the past, but now we are finally adding it,” said Micah Rice, USA Cycling vice president of national events.

Rice said every year he receives questions from members about whether a hill-climb event will be included, and he hopes that the new event will be popular in 2016.

The race will be a mass start for each category, Rice confirmed. Riders can enter a pro/open category as well as age group championships from 17 to 75.

An avid hill climber, Nathaniel Davis (Sabino Cycles Racing), said he is excited for the event.

“A national event sounds great,” Davis said. “I think it was something we were missing.”

But Davis said he isn’t happy with the championship being held at Pikes Peak.

“The altitude and length are all wrong for it to be somewhat of a level playing field,” Davis said. “Short, steep and close to sea level would be more competitive.”

Beata Elan Vitt (Jobing.com), who recently won her state championship hill climb in Arizona, said she hadn’t thought about competing in a national hill climb championship.

“I think it is great and all the climbers will love it,” Elan Vitt said. “I heard Pikes Peak is really hard – maybe too hard for me. Obviously all the Colorado riders would have the advantage. I like climbing, but I would like to get better at it.”

More information about the event will be posted on USA Cycling’s national calendar as it becomes available.