Local cyclist completes ‘hillclimb’
Westborough – Westborough resident Dan Ball, of Ball Financial Services, recently completed the 36th annual Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, a 7.6-mile race up Pinkham Notch. The race, held Aug. 16, was a fund-raiser for Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Conway, N.H.
"I made it to the top without stopping and it took me one hour fifty-five minutes and fifty-six seconds," Ball said. "I was the 444th rider out of 600 to cross the finish line."
In addition to the steep slope, which has a 22-degree grade at the end, according to Ball, this year's race had another challenge: the weather.
"It had been sunny for most of the climb and when I had half a mile to go, it started to hail," Ball said. "Fortunately for me it did not increase in intensity until about 20 minutes after I reached the finish line. Then it turned into pebble-sized hail and pouring rain accompanied by lots of thunder and lightning. The last hundred or so riders had to finish in that weather."
For Ball, the grueling race up the mountain came two weeks after completing the 194-mile Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) Aug. 2 and 3. The PMC is an annual fund-raising bike-a-thon. In 2007, the PMC raised $33 million, and, since 1980, it has raised more than $204 million. Proceeds are used for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. The goal for 2008 was to raise $34 million.
It was Ball's 19th year participating in the PMC and he is grateful for the inspiration he gets from supporters every year.
"As always, we had a lot of people on the side of the road cheering us on throughout the ride," Ball said. "That is one of my favorite aspects of the ride. You see signs people have made saying things like 'Thanks for riding, from an eight-time cancer survivor.'"
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