The alarm went off at 3:00 this morning. We had to be through the gate at Pikes Peak by 3:45am. Luckily last night we got the vans loaded and prepped so that we could pretty much roll out of bed and jump in them to leave.
It is very dark when we unload at the starting line area. But we have generators and work lights so we can get the tire warmers on and chains lubed, then we put some heat in the motors.
As it gets lighter the Race Officials call us to the riders meeting. They remind the riders of the safety rules – a primary one is that this is a one way course – downhill traffic is only allowed behind the safety rider. Then it is back to the bikes to take them off the stands and head to the start line.
The first run is done at a slow speed in a bigger group. The purpose of this is to give the riders a chance to give the course a once over before they come at it with some speed. Even with this cautious approach, one of the other riders goes down almost immediately. Luckily he is not injured.
The second run is done at a higher speed and both Alexander and Greg come in and report that the course is very slick today. They are starting on pavement and transitioning to dirt and at the point of transition they are really having to pay attention to their riding.
The next runs see more riders going down. We hear that one suffers a broken collarbone, and another a broken wrist. I think of the saying that a race is not won in the first corner, but many are lost there. Greg and Alexander continue to build their speed over the runs, but in a slow and measured manner. Neither is pushing their motorbikes as fast as they can go.
Then the race officials give the signal – the next run will be the last, and it is the qualifying run. Because of the nature of the timing, each class will have to do their qualifying runs when they practice off the starting line area. It is just the luck of the draw that the motorcycles will have to qualify on the first day of practice.
Greg and Alexander both increase their speed for the qualifying run, and it pays off – they qualify well. Greg takes the 1st position and Alexander the 3rd. Between them is a Buell which is ridden by a pretty fast Pikes Peak veteran. Their times are GT – 5:22:659, and AMS – 5:46:405. The Buell is less than a second faster than Alexander – 5:45:470. The race is on!
But first, of course, there are tires to change – we head back to the Mecca to get more fresh rubber, then take the wheels and bikes back to Pikes Peak Motorsports and their handy tire machine.
Tonight – team barbecue feast at the Mecca, and early to bed. tomorrow we are wheels up at 3:20 am. We’ll be riding from Cove Creek to Devil’s Playground – thru the W’s – it’s a fast part of the race course. It will be interesting to see how the Multi’s are in that section.
For now – good night. ~Becca