Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Practice Day One - Devil's Playground
There are four practice days before the race. The last practice day also serves as qualifying. The road is split up into three sections. The first section is roughly the first half of the road, from the start line to Glencove. The middle section stretches from Glencove to Devil’s Playground, and the top section from Devil’s Playground to the finish line at the top. The cars are divided into two groups but the motorcycles stick together and our first day of practice was on the top section. Practice starts at sunrise and ends at 8:30am when the road opens to the public. This means we have to be on the mountain, all setup and ready to race before sunrise. The trip from the hotel to Devil’s Playground at 12,500 ft takes about 45 minutes so we make sure to get an early start from the hotel, just after 3am. This is our first day of practice and none of us have quite adjusted to the elevation. We quickly lose our breath as we unload the bike, lift anything moderately heavy, or walk any faster than a casual pace. On top of that, it is literally freezing at the top. There are still snow banks around the road and the wind chill is not helping. Luckily I had the foresight to bring a space heater and electric kettle to help warm us up while we sat in the van. Having some spare, retired Zero battery packs and 2500W inverter sure come in handy for powering these creature comforts!