Race to the Clouds

On Sunday it was the 86th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), or as it is more locally called the Race to the Clouds. It is the second oldest vehicle race in the country after the Indie 500, I believe! Pikes Peak is one of Colorado’s 14ers and we live near the foot of this glorious mountain and absorb its beauty every day! Pike’s Peak is where Katherine Lee Bates was inspired to write America The Beautiful and there is a commemorative statue of it at the peak. A road runs all the way to the summit and this is the route for the race. Much of the upper turns section is not even paved and there is no barrier along the side of the road. In a word, it is dangerous.

Every year the race is run in July. This Sunday we were lucky enough to have two VIP tickets to the race and so I graciously bowed out and John and Jeremiah went and they had a blast!

They were excited that they saw nearly everything (they missed the trucks because they needed to get off the mountain for a movie date we all had at 4 PM). They were fed and watered with energy drinks and steaks (all run by Texas Roadhouse) and they got a couple of photos but not many.

The weather this year was not ideal for the race although you would think it great without a cloud in the sky. There is most always some rain and sometimes hail and snow too but not this year. It was really dry! It got hot even at the summit and the unpaved sections are covered in bone dry dust and loose rock and gravel. This made for very hairy conditions and there was a lot of slippage. Again, very dangerous on a road with hairpins and a mountainside drop off! There were 14 stoppages in all during the race, which is a record, apparently. There were several tires blown out too, although, incredibly, many still finished with them in that condition.

I think there were a few injuries this year and certainly one serious – Brandy Connolly, a passenger, was life flighted to Denver with a suspected broken back. I hop eand pray that she will make a full recovery. John and Jeremiah were at this accident and it really hammered home just how precarious it could be. They could already see that spectating was something to be taken seriously. Your safety is in your own hands and you have to be vigilant! The Connolly car literally snapped a tree that was at least 40ft high and brought it down, the impact was so great!

So here is the map of the course so you can get an idea of the bends etc. It is steep and narrow and windy. I drove up a couple of times a few years ago to pick up John after he hiked up with the dogs. I think it took me at least 40 minutes or so. Not for the racers though! Even with the road conditions as they were the fastest did it in only 10.18! At 80 -130 mph, Tajima made mincemeat of it again. He didn’t manage to break his own record that set last year of 10.01 and everyone was rooting for the 10 minute barrier to be broken, but it seems he was happy with the result regardless. The picture at the top of the post is of the boys infront of Tajima!

If you pop onto the PPIHC website that I linked here and at the top of the post you’ll be able to see video taken at some of the races in the past. I recommend the one called Climb Dance – except for the dated music, it is an awesome film taken from the air and from car mounted cameras and it documents the 1988 record breaking drive by Ari Vatanen.

Anyway, that was it for the race. The boys picked me up and we went to the movies to see The Dark Knight! That’s for another post though.

Jeremiah leaves tomorrow. It will be strange not having him around again and we’ll be sad and miss him loads. Luka will stand outside the door of his empty room and cry in the mornings just like he has been and he’ll do this for a couple of days until he realizes he’s not coming out to play and then he’ll mope, and then he’ll pester me incessantly!

Jeremiah is an awesome kid, he’s so friendly, funny, and polite, everything you would want in a son. John is very proud and I don’t blame him! All kudos to his Mom though, she certainly is doing something very right raising him. He will be a teenager next year – I hope it lasts through.
Miss you already Jeremiah! Hope your flight is good and that you eat something other than the candy I packed for you! I love you xxxxx

One thought on “Race to the Clouds

  1. Anonymous

    Looks like J&J had a good old time. And yes,he is a great kid Angie and John should be proud. I bet the doogers are not the only ones to miss him.Dad xx


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