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The 99th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) was crazy, exhausting, dangerous, and one of the greatest motorsports event you can see. Fifty-two drivers and their crew had spent close to a month preparing for the annual time-attack hill climb near Colorado Springs. We arrived for the fun part: the last four days of practice and qualifying, leading into teams’ final attempts on race day on Sunday, June 27. Snow and ice at the top of the mountain cut three miles from this year’s climb, putting even more pressure on drivers to do more with less. The runoff area along this private road’s most dangerous sections is measured vertically. And so are the mistakes.
PPIHC is best described as an event as dangerous as any World Rally Championship stage, but stitched together with the spirit of a 24-hour endurance race. No part of Pikes Peak mountain harbors fools or pretenders. The only people on the mountain on race day were race drivers, race cars, race teams, race fans, and three bears who would have identified as at least one of those. Everyone here is only here because they want to be—especially the bears.

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