To ring in the New Year, Gran Fondo Guides, the pro cycling news site, named Mt. Baker Hill Climb as North America’s 9th-best race on January 1.
In just it’s sixth year, the Mt. Baker Hill Climb brought 450 riders from around the world to compete in a daunting 22-mile, 4,440-foot climb up Mt. Baker Highway (SR542) from Glacier to Artist Point.
Former professional cyclist Phil Gaimon competed in the 2023 hill climb, and took nearly six minutes off the previous best with a time of 1:14:42.
Gaimon, who authored multiple books on the professional cycling world and now runs the popular cycling YouTube channel “Worst Retirement Ever” said the course being closed off to car traffic was crucial for the safety and enjoyment of all riders.
“It went better than I thought, to be honest,” Gaimon said. “The pack part was super safe, I was nervous about the beginning in the flat part, but a couple of guys set a really good pace and once we hit the switchbacks, it was every man doing their own pace.”
A gran fondo – Italian for “big ride” – is a long-distance cycling race that usually incorporates a mass start for both amateurs and professionals to compete, similar to a marathon.
Touted by Gran Fondo Guides as one of the most scenic and geographically isolated races on the continent, the 2024 Mt. Baker Hill Climb is set for Sunday, September 15.
Riders can save $10 off registration fees by signing up before May 31st, but the event is capped at 450 riders across three divisions, and the race fills up quickly, according to Whatcom Events, the race organizer.
For more information on the race, visit www.bakerhillclimb.com