This year marked my fourth year at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. It’s a photographers dream…awesome cars, cool trucks, fast bikes and more, all racing towards the summit at 14,110 feet above sea level. Each racer hoping to not only record the fastest time but to conquer the hill, with her ever changing conditions. It has always been said, that those participating in this annual event must first race the mountain! The same can be said for those of us that hope to capture that perfect snapshot of the action.
I set the alarm clock for 2:00 a.m. on the third day of practice. I would venture higher than the previous two days. With my camera bag in hand and several layers of clothing for protection against the harsh winds and cold temperatures, I made my way from the motorcycle pits at Devils Playground to a parking spot near Boulder Park, 13,380 feet above sea level. It was still early so I waited in the car with Adam, another photographer.
It was his first time on Pikes Peak so I filled him in on my experiences and we chatted about the scenery. I reminded him to use caution at this altitude, as any quick movements can throw you off balance with the low oxygen levels. We drank water and talked until there was enough light in the sky to venture away from the car and scout our locations for the day.
The sun rose on the horizon with stunning beauty as the wind howled around us. An air-horn sounded in the distance signaling the first run of the day. I watched with anticipation as the motorcycles, quads and sidecars appeared around a series of tight corners, quickly approaching my spot on the boulders. Adam was perched a few feet from me as the first few bikes passed by. They would make several more practice runs before the day was over. I took several hundred photos that day, including the one great shot I had hoped to capture.
Every year I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the second oldest motorsports race in America. This year was no exception as I not only had the chance to do what I love, I was fortunate enough to meet several very talented photographers and reconnect with old friends. No other race in the world compares to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The majesty of the mountain and the determination of the racers trying to tame her are awe inspiring.
Here are a few favorites from my day at Boulder Park…