For most visitors to Mount Philo, it's all about the view. But for those taking part in Sunday's hill climb, it's all about burning rubber -- all the way to the top.
"People think we're crazy, but it's actually a lot of fun," said Julie Jones, a Hillclimb racer.
"It's a lot of fun -- it's completely addictive," said another racer, Paul Dudley.
Amateur racers of all ages gather at the bottom of Mount Philo waiting for their turn to tackle the one mile track in cars built to take whatever the windy mountain road dishes out. "No one likes to think of it that way -- think about the crashes. No, we think about the driving. But they're built to keep the driver safe in a crash," Dudley said.
And as long as you've got a helmet and a fire extinguisher, any car with a little speed is welcome to race. "I think I did an average of 50, but I'm not really looking at my speedometer when I'm racing. I'm just focused on the road," Jones said.
"I would say the top speed you hit is probably somewhere around 80 in a vehicle like this," Dudley said.
But it's not just the speed junkies enjoying the track. George Rooney, a Middlebury Union High School Driver Ed Instructor, says it's a great time for students and beginners to come out and learn about the road outside of the classroom. "Even if it's just to come and watch, to get a sense for what it's about, because vehicle dynamics is a big part of it," he said.
And getting the best time is also a big deal. The top racers get stickers claiming their place in the race, along with bragging rights. But the biggest prize? "I guess to make it to the finish without crashing -- it's like yay!" Jones said.
So if you're not a professional but you've got a need for speed, next year's Hillclimb at Mount Philo just might be the rush your looking for.
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