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!


Practice went surprisingly smooth and the bike performed flawlessly. Our team was still getting settled into our roles but it was priceless having a few extra hands. Other teams were having a few problems with their bike, including one of the electric teams, who we assisted as best we could. We may be competitors in the race, but we’re all friends off the track and the camaraderie between our small electric group is strong. This year’s PPIHC VIP, Guy Martin, was having an especially hard time getting his custom turbocharged bike to make even one clean run up the mountain.

View from Devil's Playground

Not to get too sentimental, but standing up at one of the highest point in North America and watching the sunrise across the Rocky Mountains, I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be be here among some of the world’s greatest competitors in motorsports. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUzusWLyR54

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