Ride along with Akinori Tetsugo Inoue as he races up the mountain.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a short sprint under grueling, constantly changing conditions. The road is 12.42 miles long, but it climbs to an altitude of 14,110 feet, nearly three miles above sea level. Thanks to Icon Motorsports we can now take a closer look at what racing up the mountain looks like.
Icon teamed up with Akinori Tetsugo Inoue to put a 360-degree camera on his bike and send him for a trip up the mountain so we can share his experience up the mountain. Now that the road is entirely pavement, the machines that attack it can now optimize for a paved surface configuration rather than compromise between pavement and gravel, as they must on Mount Washington, New Hampshire. Temperatures can drop rapidly as the altitude increases, resulting in a cold road with reduced traction. The engines, as well as the riders, gasp at high altitudes in the thin, which can make both of them perform less than optimally. Needless to say, there is always the risk of zigging when you should zag and plunging off the side of the mountain to your doom far below. It's extremely difficult to memorize all 156 turns of the course, so riders must either have an excellent memory or be very good at reading the road ahead.
You can use the arrows in the upper left-hand corner of the video to pan your view left and right, looking through the turns, peeking over the edge of the road to the huge drop below, or watching Inoue's movements and control inputs. If you miss something, just scroll the video back and look over there. Watch closely at the seven and a half minute mark and see if you can figure out why one particular turn goes less than spectacularly.