PPIHC 2017 - Update 6

If one thing sums up today, it’s that you can’t have good without the bad. Coming off the high of yesterday’s successful testing on the middle section of Pikes Peak, the team was excited to get on the mountain at 3:30am and see how Rob and RW-3x performed at the top of the mountain. However, problems were almost immediately encountered when the team’s rental high-roof cargo van broke down right after passing Glen Cove near the middle of the mountain. There was no shoulder for the van to stop on, so the team members driving had no choice but to pull into the oncoming lane in order to let the uphill traffic continue on to the staging area at Devil’s Playground near the summit. This was obviously a terrible situation to be in, and with no cell phone service throughout the mountain and limited range on our walkie-talkies, lack of communication made this already stressful situation even more tense. If we couldn’t get the bike up to the pit area and on tire warmers, there was a potential to miss out on practice laps that were absolutely crucial for Rob. With only four to five runs per morning practice session, these are not something we can miss.

Thankfully, the PPIHC officials worked with us to get the cargo van on a tow truck and transported up to the top of the mountain before the sighting lap that marks the start of the practice session. Unfortunately, the van did not make it in time to get the tires to the necessary level of heat to run an official practice lap, making us miss the first of four laps today. However, we’re grateful to the people who helped us out and mitigated the severity of the situation. We are also thankful for large tow trucks with an ability to summit mountains with a fully loaded high-roof cargo van.

With all of that aside though, once we got Rob on the bike and running again spirits were lifted. Rob is still placing consistently in the top 6 in his field, which consists of two other electric bikes and many more gas-powered bikes and quads. Much like yesterday, in every practice lap out this morning he shaved off more and more time, and we believe he could have been faster with more time on the section. There are still a few issues we are trying to work out, with one of the most important ones being determining what the exact tire configuration we’ll need to be most successful on the mountain, but we are confident that, come Sunday, RW-3x will be as refined as possible.

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