THE 93rd ANNUAL "RACE TO THE CLOUDS" CONQUERING AMERICA'S MOUNTAIN
As Race Day approaches it is important to understand the rich history it holds...
In 1915 Spencer Penrose had an ambitious vision of turning Pikes Peak into a large tourist attraction for all travelers coming to Colorado Springs. He requested permission from the Secretary of Agriculture to reestablish a toll road to the summit of Pikes Peak. Penrose's request for $283,000 was granted and by the completion of the project in 1915 he spent $500,000 to upgrade the original carriage route so it could be used by automobiles.
In order to publicize his adopted hometown and his new road he devised a simple plan; run an automobile race to the summit of Pikes Peak on the new highway.
The Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb was first held on August 10, 11, and 12, 1916. Through the years the road was widened and some sections paved. It is now fully-paved after work was completed in 2011, and this summer’s race will be the fourth on all asphalt for the competitors.
The track is a grueling 12.42 miles, containing over 156 hairpin turns, elevating skyward over 4,700 feet in a matter of a 10 minutes to the 14,110 foot summit of America's Mountain. The race has been ranked as the third most dangerous race in the world and is becoming increasingly enticing to the international race crowd.
Much about the history of this renowned race can be found here at The Broadmoor at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum. The museum is not only full of rich history but amazing icons of the race's past. The museum’s extensive collection contains 31 horse-drawn carriages and 13 motorized vehicles, including Mrs. Penrose’s 1928 Cadillac limousine. Among the exhibits are two presidential carriages, including an 1841 Williamsburg Brougham used for the inauguration ceremony of William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the Unites States.
There is also a beautiful replica of the Penrose Trophy created from over fifty pounds of silver that is awarded to the winner of the race are held in the museum. The reason that there was a replica made is because the original trophy is held by the Lexington auto group who won several Hill Climbs. Penrose stated that if someone won the race more than one time they could keep the trophy instead of having to bring it back the next year. This trophy is roughly $40,000 worth of silver today which created a great incentive to win the race and to come back time and time again for the chance to get rich.
The Penrose Heritage and Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum are located in the same building here at the Broadmoor adjacent to the parking garage attached to Broadmoor Hall.
The Museum is open to the public and is FREE
of charge Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
To contact the Penrose Heritage Museum, call (719) 577-7065. The Museum is located at 11 Lake Circle, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Click here for directions.