What is the distance of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb?

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By Kristy Tolley

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds, is one of the most iconic racing events in the world. It is a high-altitude, time trial race that takes place annually on Pikes Peak, a mountain in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The event attracts some of the best drivers and riders in the world, who come to test their skills and compete for the title of Pikes Peak champion.

Overview of the Distance

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb covers a distance of 12.42 miles (19.99 km) from start to finish. The course begins at an elevation of 9,390 feet (2,862 m) and finishes at the summit of Pikes Peak, which is 14,115 feet (4,302 m) above sea level. The course consists of 156 turns, many of which are hairpin turns, and features a mix of asphalt, dirt, and gravel surfaces. The race is a time trial, which means that drivers and riders compete one at a time, with the fastest time determining the winner.

Historical Distance Changes

The distance of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb has changed over the years. The first race, which was held in 1916, covered a distance of 12.42 miles (19.99 km), the same as the current course. However, in the early years of the race, the course was mostly made up of dirt roads that were difficult to navigate and dangerous to drive on. In 1947, the course was paved, making it faster and safer for drivers. In 2011, the course was modified to include more asphalt and less gravel, making it even faster than before.

Current Distance and Course

The current distance of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is 12.42 miles (19.99 km), and the course has been modified to include more asphalt and less gravel. The start line is located at an elevation of 9,390 feet (2,862 m), and the finish line is at the summit of Pikes Peak, which is 14,115 feet (4,302 m) above sea level. The course features 156 turns, many of which are hairpin turns, and drivers and riders must navigate a mix of asphalt, dirt, and gravel surfaces.

Altitude and Elevation Changes

One of the most challenging aspects of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the altitude and elevation changes. The race begins at an elevation of 9,390 feet (2,862 m) and finishes at the summit of Pikes Peak, which is 14,115 feet (4,302 m) above sea level. This means that drivers and riders must adjust to the high altitude, which can affect their breathing and performance. The elevation changes on the course are also significant, with a total elevation gain of 4,725 feet (1,440 m) from start to finish.

Challenging Sections of the Course

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is known for its challenging sections, particularly the upper half of the course, which features steep grades and hairpin turns. One of the most challenging sections is called the "W’s," which consists of a series of switchbacks that climb up the mountain. Another challenging section is called the "Devil’s Playground," which features steep grades and tight turns. The final stretch of the course, known as the "Bottomless Pit," is also challenging, with a steep incline and sharp turns.

Record Holders and Fastest Times

The current record holder for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is Romain Dumas, who set a time of 7 minutes and 57.148 seconds in 2018. He was driving a Volkswagen I.D. R, an electric car that was specially designed for the race. The fastest time ever recorded by a motorcycle rider is 8 minutes and 13.878 seconds, set by Carlin Dunne in 2012. He was riding a Ducati Multistrada 1200.

Pikes Peak Hill Climb vs Other Courses

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is often compared to other iconic racing events, such as the Isle of Man TT and the Nürburgring Nordschleife. While all three events are time trials, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is unique in its high altitude and elevation changes. The Isle of Man TT is known for its narrow roads and high speeds, while the Nürburgring Nordschleife is known for its length and variety of corners.

Safety Measures in Place

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb takes safety very seriously, and there are numerous measures in place to ensure the safety of drivers, riders, and spectators. The course is divided into three sections, each of which has its own safety team and medical staff. There are also safety barriers and catch fences in place to prevent accidents. All drivers and riders are required to wear safety gear, including helmets and fire-resistant suits.

Impact on the Local Community

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb has a significant impact on the local community, both economically and socially. The event brings in thousands of visitors each year, who stay in local hotels and eat at local restaurants. It also provides an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate their love of racing and the outdoors.

Future of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb

The future of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb looks bright, with more and more drivers and riders taking on the challenge each year. In recent years, there has been a focus on electric vehicles, with several electric cars and motorcycles competing in the race. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years, as more manufacturers develop electric vehicles specifically for the race.

Conclusion: Iconic Racing Event

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a truly iconic racing event, with a rich history and a challenging course that has tested the skills of drivers and riders for over a century. From its high-altitude start line to its hairpin turns and steep grades, the race is a true test of skill, endurance, and courage. With its focus on safety, community, and innovation, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is sure to continue to captivate and inspire racing fans for many years to come.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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