Remarkable both for its longevity and for its intensity, the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be celebrating its 90th run in Colorado Springs this summer.
The Hill Climb is the second oldest motorcycle race in America. Also known as the “Race to the Clouds,” the race was first competed in 1916.
This year the race will take place on Sunday, July 8, with race related events occurring all week leading up to the competition. One of the largest, Fan Fest, will happen on Friday, July 6. Featuring motorcycle jumpers, two beer gardens, a chili cook-off, live bands and the Denver Bronco Cheerleaders, organizers expect it to draw a crowd of over 35,000 people.
The Hill Climb is run on a 12.42-mile course featuring 156 turns. The first begins at an elevation of 9,390 feet and concludes at the 14,110 summit of Pikes Peak.
As the racers climb in elevation, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. Motorcycle accidents sometimes occur through simple exhaustion. Rider fatigue is not the only difficulty, however. Because the air is so thin, the engines lose 30 percent of their power by the time riders reach the summit. These harsh conditions demand both riders and machines be in top condition.
If you are in the area, the Hill Climb is an event worth seeing. Between the festivities and the extreme racing conditions, visitors are bound to have a good time. But if you are competing, remember to ride safe and stop if you need to.
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