Mark your calendars for the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race on June 27th. The Hill Climb is the second oldest motor race in America and is appropriately referred to as the "race to the clouds."
The race course is 12.42 miles long with over 156 hairpin turns uphill. Just a few of the additional challenges include loss of strength and slower reflexes as the drivers climb to over 14,000 feet. The engines lose over 30% power in the thinning air. Every vehicle has to endure a rigorous inspection prior to competing and qualifying for the race takes place Wednesday to Friday 5:30 to 8:30 AM.
Despite the challenges of altitude and dangerous track design, there is no shortage of categories. The race this year will include over 11 classes including 250cc motors to the big rigs. For those history buffs the first attempt at driving and pushing a vehicle to the top was undertaken on August 12, 1901, by two Denver men named Yont and Felker. Their trip was done in a two cylinder locomobile and took a little over 9 hours.
Other than some widening and some pavement, the track is essentially the same as the original in 1916. Drivers have experienced the unique and ever changing weather conditions on the track including everything from sunshine to hail, rain, sleet, fog, or blinding snow. The first champion was a 22 year old from Washington named Rea Lentz who entered with the smallest vehicle and was the youngest competitor.
For those wanting a front row seat spectators are allowed on the mountain prior to the race although specific guidelines must be followed. The race starts at 9 am but spectators must be in place before 8 am and will not be allowed off or on the mountain during the race times. There are areas marked off that are high potential crash zones and spectators need to heed these warnings. Bring enough supplies for the day and be flexible. For more information visit the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is just one of the outstanding unique summer events provided here in Colorado Springs.
My thanks to the extensive information provided by the board members and website of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.