America’s Mountain is the ride of a lifetime. It’s, possibly, the hardest climb in North America. More than 300 riders took part in The Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb held just five days ago. The route is fully paved and incredibly intense, with an elevation gain of more than 4,800 vertical ft. At the top, Colorado’s most famous mountain reaches a height of 14,115ft. The ride is approximately 1.5 miles to the original toll gate, which has an altitude of 7500 ft. Cyclists, who are racing against the elements up a very steep climb will descend for a total of 24.5 miles. With 40 mile per hour winds, and heavy fog, this year’s event was truly epic.
The Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb takes place every summer, it is fully supported, and attracts cyclists from all over the world. According to the Bicycle Racing Association, the following cyclists from Colorado Springs rode in 2015, and perhaps set some new records.
- Cody M Hoggatt raced for COS Racing
- David Subka raced for Southern Colorado Velo
- Jacques LeMond raced for Team Vitesse
- LeRoy Popowski raced for Groove Subaru Excel Sports
- John Macleod raced for Southern Colorado Velo
- Mark Noble raced for Southern Colorado Velo
In past years, this race has also been called the Assault on the Peak. Previous winners include Katie Compton with a time of 1:30.46. Compton is known as one of the top cyclocross racers in the world. She says, “It’s relentless.” She did not compete in the event this year. In the Men’s category, Leroy Popowski won in 2014 with a time of 1:08:36. This year was his third win, with a time of 1:12:59. He’s an optometrist in real life and looks forward to the race every year. For Matt Schuzer, the ride wasn’t about winning. Just 3 months earlier, Schuzer was having surgery to remove his prostate. Cancer was not going to stop him from riding in the race. It was a longtime goal of his, that became a reality. He trained while in recovery and built enough endurance and strength to participate. The unique part of this ride is the additional race for “fun ride.” Amateur cyclists are welcome to compete in a 5km, 10km or the full 20km on the same day as the pro cyclists.
Summit Cycling Productions, LLC is the Colorado Springs based company who created this event in 2010. They specialize in event management, with over 25 years of experience in the planning, promotion, and management of sporting and cause-related events. Former world-class cyclist, Pat McDonough, leads Summit Cycling Productions, LLC. Special projects manager Jeff Mosher said, “The participation numbers were low so we’d like to increase those. So we’re going to do some extra promoting and campaigning.” Next year’s event date will be announced November 1.
The Pikes Peak Highway operates under a Term Special Use Permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service. Included in the operation are the associated visitor facilities including the Summit House, Glen Cove Inn and Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop, and the Pikes Peak Recreational Corridor for activities such as hiking, picnic grounds, and interpretive trails. Revenue is primarily generated from Gateway entry fees and concession fees. These fees provide visitor and ranger services, highway maintenance and construction, facility maintenance and construction, and interpretive and educational services. The 2016 preliminary city budget says the average operational cost is $16.00 per visitor.