Watch Our Pikes Peak Hill Climb Footage From Atop Glen Cove

Only the camera chopper had a better angle from which to watch Pikes Peak.

James Gilboy

I am a lifelong resident of Colorado. My body is acclimated to an altitude of greater than 5,300 feet, where atmospheric pressure is 82 percent that of sea level—and even I know how real altitude sickness is. At altitude, the parched air pulls moisture from your body with each exhalation, and the lesser air available to your lungs has the side effect of dulling the brain. Being starved for oxygen is not unlike having had too much to drink, an observation shared by everyone's favorite trio of British car show hosts, though it's less pleasant than polishing off half a box of wine on your own.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb starts at 9,000 feet, and terminates at the mountain's summit: 14,000 feet. For race day, I was well up the side of the mountain, at an area called Glen Cove, boasting the longest straight on the course. To one side of the road is a pile of rocks a couple hundred feet high, and there is where I spent at least six very long hours, with only frigid mountain wind as my company. Due to the lack of oxygen, the camera gear, and provisions I had to cart up along with me, the ascent took a half-hour, with many stops to catch what little breath was available. The trip back down had me convinced I was fated to tear something in my knee, or roll an ankle.

It was worth it. From atop my lonesome, stony throne, I had at least a mile of mountain tarmac in clear view, and to my right, a flat, high speed corner just across a chasm. There is no need to seek this spot out for yourself—my trek up was to record as much footage as my camera's memory card would allow. In the video above, you will see everything I had to see, but without having to pray for the warmth of sunlight in the cold of a Rocky Mountain morning. Enjoy.