This time we made sure we were on the mountain at 3:30am. This got us almost right at the Gateway and more importantly, leveler ground than half a mile down the road on a steep clutch killing incline. We were through the Gateway promptly at 4:00am and were well on the way to Devil’s Playground when we were stopped at the lower pit area by an angry man with a beard and a walkie talkie. He shut down everything going up which rightly got some folks really pissed. After about fifteen minutes of looking for somebody with more authority to let people up that somebody was found and traffic once again began to flow. Which is good because we were down to the wire to get to the pit area before they closed the mountain. Five minutes after we got there, the cars were running.
The breakdown for the day was the cars would be running the top section of the mountain and the specials including the electrics were running the middle section which ended at Devil’s Playground and the bike were running from the Race Start to the middle section.
With the early start it was going to be a long day. We’d checked out of the hotel and were going to ride straight back to Moab once we’d gotten breakfast under our belt. It was going to be a long haul.
The pits of course were jumping as teams prepped their cars for the practice run. I took all kinds of pictures of this 914 for my buddy Tom.
The pits are n exciting place to be first thing in the morning. Yet surprisingly quiet. It’s as if everything is being saved for the road course.
And just like that, things are off to a fast start…
I moved up to a new spot higher up to catch the next round.
I reset myself on the lower slope to watch the Specials. It was good to sit in the morning sun though you had to keep turning into it because whatever side was in shadow was freezing.
The electrics were pretty cool though even if most of them were fitted with car alarms because they were so quiet.
And just like that practice was done and it was time to get down off the mountain. We stopped in at Uncle Sams to grab another of their great breakfasts and where I had a if not weird encounter. I’d been wearing my US Army Grey DIGIPAT BDU pants. I like the fact they tie off and don’t go into my riding boots but they are the real deal and they’re damn comfortable when you’re doing long rides and this day was going to be a long riding day. So I’m sitting there in the waiting area and as some guy finishes paying for his breakfast he turn around, sees me, sees the pants I guess, makes the wrong connection in his head and thanks me for my service. I really didn’t have a good response and then he was gone. It kind of set the rest of my morning on a weird tangent. Well that and trying to get out of Colorado Springs which is a total pain in the ass and took a good 45 minutes to get clear of its clutches.
Still once we were free and clear and because we were already in the mountains we had a two pretty major passes to get through before we were back onto the the flat plateaus of Utah. We went back through Royal Gorge and up Highway Fifty. At Poncha Springs though we stayed on 50 and kept onward and upward through two mountain passes, one of which was a bit windy and sketchy. Tar snakes were a real issue almost taking out Kelly at one point. We did make sure to take regular breaks which of course stretched the day out, though we knew we’d be getting in late to the campsite. Of course the time of day did lead to us seeing a pretty fantastic sunset.