Saturday, April 14, 2012

Introducing Valencia to Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak, America's Mountain, named after US Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike who first tried to climb it back in 1806 with no success due to a snow storm.  The first recorded successful ascent was not to be till 1820 by Dr. Edwin James.  More historical details/timeline here:  LINK

Today was the day to for Valencia, my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig to ascend and see the world from the top of Pikes Peak.

We left shortly after 7:20AM, enjoying temperatures in the low 40s and by 9:00AM I had paid my $10 fee, been warned by the Pikes Peak Highway Rangers about conditions and was ready to go up.  Conditions were 12°F with 33 mph winds, some clouds but mostly sunny.

Traffic was light as the road had just been opened for the day, I shared the road with perhaps three or four cars but we were pretty spread apart.  Valencia and I pretty much had the road to ourselves....

 Pikes Peak from Crystal Reservoir

 A peek at the top while still under the timberline.

 Now above the timberline, near Mile Marker 13

 Pretty clear day today, you could see quite far
from above 11,000 Feet


One of the final hairpin turns before one gets to 
the top of the mountain.

 Valencia at the top...14,110 Feet
and she was running great!

 The Cog Railway was running as you can see
for folks who didn't want to drive up.

One of the many scenic views from the 
top of Pikes Peak.

I didn't spend a lot of time up on the top of the mountain.  It was cold and windy.  I ended up walking around with my helmet in the closed mode as one would lose feeling of one's face pretty quickly.  Around 11:30 or so I started moving down the mountain as the clouds were getting thicker and that meant a weather front was moving in.

The ride down was pretty uneventful, a couple of idiot cagers not knowing how to negotiate hairpin turns without wandering into the oncoming lane but not unexpected.

 Now descending from the top, here's Valencia

 Next to the "Bottomless Pit" area



 One of the hairpins just before the Rock Pile

 The Rock Pile

 Above and below, views from the Rock Pile



 Back below the Timberline

Back down below 6500 feet again, posing
Valencia at the requisite spot.

I'd ridden down to Colorado Springs via the I-25 Super Slab and it was the same route that I took going back home.  I averaged about 60-65 MPH for the most part and ended up being passed by everyone except for one large truck.  Still, Valencia did great, no mechanical issues that I could see or hear.  She went slightly over 2500 Km on this trip so I'll be doing her 2500 Km service tomorrow!

11 comments:

IRISH Murph said...

Great write up Dom,good photography.

SonjaM said...

I was wondering when you would bring her up there. What a brilliant day for an outing although it still looks darn chilly.

The orange hack is as photogenic as I expected. What a lovely contract to the colors of nature.

Steve Williams said...

Wow. Really, wow. What a great post and outstanding pictures. The only way it could have been better is if you had replaced Valencia with a Vespa.

Pikes Peak looks impressive. Someday I hope to try it out. Any rules about automatic scooters and the road? We aren't allowed on the autoroad at Mount Washington...

Charlie6 said...

Murph...thanks for commenting...I expect similar pics (better, actually) with your rig on the Zugspitz!

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Sonja...it was a tad chilly but not bad once you are below 12000 feet! Valencia really "pops" with her color doesn't she?

Charlie6 said...

Steve, sorry but scooters aren't allowed...I think their CVT transmissions would have issues on the steeper parts?

Thanks for your kind words, means a lot coming from one of the masters. And yeah, Orange Ural...unfair photogenic factor.... ;)

BeemerGirl said...

Wonderful trip! The orange makes a great bright spot against those scenes. I'm just fixated on how close the rig is to the edge...and I never would have the guts to stop there! Makes me edgy just envisioning it. Hehe

Charlie6 said...

Beemergirl, thanks for commenting as well....as to stopping near the edge...you just have to slowly sneak up on it. It's actually a very firm edge to the road as it is carved from rock....(I think).

Near the edge

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Great pictures of what was apparently a great ride. I can imagine the gusts of wind you encountered on some of these curves on your ride to the top.

How does the machine respond to these? Is there a tendency for the rig to take a wide swerve? Do you slow down or speed up in a situation like this?

Have you every taken the cog railway? I'd be compelled to do this and make a video just so I could watch it over and over again. I'd be first on line so I could sit in front. In fact, I'd probably spend a whole day taking multiple rides.

As you requested, I first read this story on the Examiner... But that venue busted my chops about leaving a comment... So it appears here.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roadd

Charlie6 said...

Hello Jack and sorry that examiner makes leaving a comment so hard at times.

As to your question. When a strong wind hits the rig from the right, you can feel the sidecar want to lift somewhat so you have to "hang a cheek" to the right to prevent that. Strong winds, otherwise, just want to push the rig around....nothing major and I don't worry about leaning into the wind as when on two wheels. All things being equal, I'd rather be on three wheels in winds greater than 30 mph.

Last time I was on Pikes Peak, I was on the R80 Beemer and the winds were stronger, more than a few scary moments were had....

I've never taken the Cog Railway, perhaps when you ride on through Colorado enroute to the Left Coast, we could ride it together? I bet that would be a blast. Then, we'd ride motorcycles up and down the mountain of course.

BeemerGirl said...

Sneak up on a sheer drop off ridge? No way! Too often I think of object fixation and am afraid that I will succumb to it. Either that or one slipped foot. Giving me heebies just thinking about it. Nope, unh unh, no way. I will leave you and your sure footed little steed to get this pictures for me. :)