The second oldest motorcycle race in America celebrates 100th anniversary and faces the largest number of competitors taking part in the race. The so-called ‘’Mount Everest for two-wheelers” summit is an attraction for tourists, bikers and motorcyclists over the whole year, but its popularity is under the spotlight during these few internationally famous rallies and races. The area is amazing, nature breathtaking, but the road is tough and requires physical, mental and technical preparation. The Pikes Peak Road adjusted for racing is 19.5 miles long with 160 turns and no gas stations along the way.
Specific features of the track
The track starts in the area where lush forests prevail, and it ends somewhere among the clouds. Literally. The higher you reach, the tougher conditions are, and all driver’s skills and equipment are being tested. The highest sections of the road are famous after the names Devil’s Playground or Bottomless Pit. There are no safety guardrails along this section due to snow, and irregular terrain and drivers have to stick to the markers to avoid life-threatening risky turns. Since starting line lies at 2800m and the race ends at 4300m, the temperature decreases dramatically along the way. It means that Pikes Peak racing track will cool down your tires and the engines are functioning with less power once you ride into the zone of the thinning air. The same climate conditions influencing vehicle, make various effects to the rider’s body. All of this imposes various skilled approaches to the motorcycle experienced riders are well aware of. Most of the motorcycle riders pass specific training designed to adapt their bodily reactions to riding in high altitude, and the driving skills and tricks are learned.
When the best qualifying time comes as disadvantage
One of the most important features of the racing track climbing Pikes Peak is the fact that there is only one road up and one road down the hill. Theoretically, this should mean that the rider is starting first due to qualifying as the fastest, should gain a significant advantage. But in fact, experienced motorcycle drivers are familiar with a catch. The Pikes Peak race usually starts early in the morning and morning high up in the mountains include foggy air, very low temperatures, and slippery humid passes. All of this aggravates driving and potentially increases risks and makes it harder for the driver to keep the first position. Being the first one to drive through these conditions on the road is a challenging task.
Dark side of the road is not so alarming
The Pikes Peak has well-known the reputation of a challenging, adventurous and prestigious road and many experienced motorcycle drivers see it a great goal and triumph. The terrain is tough, the path long, weather conditions extreme and many sections of the road are completely unprotected. Considering all of this, it’s quite a pleasant surprise to know that Pikes Peak race took only six lives so far. Compared to some other popular rallies, this sounds as relatively safe. However, the road was surfaced several years ago, causing many drivers to increase their driving speed. It remains to be seen if this is going to increase the morbid statistic.