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Newb, too

Hey all,

Thanks for the awesome posts.

Me and two friends got accepted to PPIHC 2015 for the first time and we are really excited. We've all been watching the videos and reading as much as we can but theres still a few questions we have. I was wondering if some of the experienced guys could share their thoughts:

1. We've been discussing tire choice quite a bit lately and was wondering what the vets to this race think of tire choice. On one hand we could go as sticky as possible with a trackday focused tire for max grip, or go for a more balanced tire that might give up some grip and handle wet or cooler conditions better.

2.We're all running bikes with carbs. What altitude should we jet for?

3.What is the road/track condition like?

4. After I start can my service crew take the cog railway up the mountain and join me? Can I go down or do I have to stay with my bike?

5.How does the altitude affect you as a rider? Are you out of breath near the top?

Thanks guys!
 

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Hey all,

Thanks for the awesome posts.

Me and two friends got accepted to PPIHC 2015 for the first time and we are really excited. We've all been watching the videos and reading as much as we can but theres still a few questions we have. I was wondering if some of the experienced guys could share their thoughts:

1. We've been discussing tire choice quite a bit lately and was wondering what the vets to this race think of tire choice. On one hand we could go as sticky as possible with a trackday focused tire for max grip, or go for a more balanced tire that might give up some grip and handle wet or cooler conditions better.

2.We're all running bikes with carbs. What altitude should we jet for?

3.What is the road/track condition like?

4. After I start can my service crew take the cog railway up the mountain and join me? Can I go down or do I have to stay with my bike?

5.How does the altitude affect you as a rider? Are you out of breath near the top?

Thanks guys!
1 & 3: This past year the road temp was hovering just around 32-35F in the mornings during practice. I'd recommend the softest/stickiest tires that will work well in the cold. If you run a tire that needs to be 180F to get sticky, forget about it. Tire warmers are a must up there IMO. It's a public road, so if you've ridden a curvy mountain road the conditions are essentially identical.

5: On the bike I would say you wouldn't really notice it too much. But kickstarting or doing any physical work, ESPECIALLY at the top, you'll feel it big time.

Good luck and enjoy it. Nothing beats that first year, it's a big learning experience but so much fun.
 

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1 & 3: This past year the road temp was hovering just around 32-35F in the mornings during practice. I'd recommend the softest/stickiest tires that will work well in the cold. If you run a tire that needs to be 180F to get sticky, forget about it. Tire warmers are a must up there IMO. It's a public road, so if you've ridden a curvy mountain road the conditions are essentially identical.

5: On the bike I would say you wouldn't really notice it too much. But kickstarting or doing any physical work, ESPECIALLY at the top, you'll feel it big time.

Good luck and enjoy it. Nothing beats that first year, it's a big learning experience but so much fun.
The cog rail start point is a fair way away from the pits and takes a while to go up and down. The wait time goes fast just send up supplies in the morning van and wait it out. Some people have an issue with the altitude normally the first practice is at the top so you will know soon enough.
If you jet for 11000 ft you should be good it seems odd but sometimes more needle ( richer ) and a bigger pilot are needed. The bike will feel weak and that's the way it is if it runs clean it's good.
I ran the softest slicks ( when you still could) you can run them the whole week on a 450 no problem you just don't get that many miles in. If you don't want to deal with Warmers ( it is a hassle for sure on race day) recently I've come across some guys running Q3 dunlops on the track and they seem to work well.
Unless you are a pro expert with designs on winning take the easy way and don't over complicate your program the course is really demanding and has no room for error so making it so all you have to worry about is riding and having fun!
 

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Thanks for the awesome info

Hey guys,

Thank you for the info. We actually were talking about running Q3's as they are good all rounders and if its wet a sticky tire isn't going to be much help. The rules say we can run non DOT tires as long as they are commercially available and have grooved treads (not slicks or hand cut tires). I have tire warmers and one of our teammates is making rolling stands so we can move the bikes while keeping the tires warm. It looks like our start order puts us into the middle of the day (lightweights and middleweight) so assuming we get going before noon it should be sunny and before the rain comes, ...ASSuming....

I think irregardless of tire selection we'll run warmers, but the question is go with Q3's or something stickier, I'm looking for max performance more from a safety point of view than a sheer speed point of view. What do most of the experienced guys run?

Also, for the practice days, how many runs will we get, theres some talk that its like 2-4 runs per section. I've been watching videos regularly and its still hard to get all the turns memorized, any advice regarding the track (notoriously tricky corners, etc.) would be much appreciated.

I appreciate your advice regarding keeping it simple and just having fun. Its easy to get fired up and want to make a good result. Our number one priority is making it to the top in 2 pieces (haha) but seeing how deep the experience is in the classes (only 5 rookies out of 20 riders in middleweight) theres the concern we might not even qualify for the race (stay within 15% of fastest time in qualification), lol! Actually, we're just grateful we were accepted, and it'll be what it'll be.

Reading the regulations it says bolts should be safety wired or"Items may be secured by silicone glue or H/D weather strip adhesive in lieu of wiring", as per the tech inspection form. Does this mean just putting H/D weather strip on top of the bolts?

You mentioned the first year is the best year, what would you say is something that most people are surprised to find out about PPIHC, or what was a really cool moment for you?

Thanks again for all the great answers!
 

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+1 on running the stickiest tires you can get. No reason to run anything else, especially if you already have the warmer/generator situation sorted out.

As long as everything goes smooth and there aren't any incidents you should be able to get 6-9 practice runs in each day. If you need to make gearing changes or major suspension changes or something like that, just do it quick or plan on skipping a run. The way the practice works is, basically once the sun hits the road, everyone rides up the section you're practicing that day as a group for a sighting run. Low speed, staying in a group. Then everyone heads back to the pits at which point the course is "hot". Whoever is ready lines up and they let you go at about 20-30 second intervals until it looks like everyone who is going to go has gone. Then they send the sweep riders up, at which point the course is closed to uphill traffic until everyone makes it back down. Rinse, repeat, until about 0800 when the highway is open to the public. The sanctioned practices are a lot more crowded than the testing weekends they offer in the beginning of the month so you have a little more time in between runs but you won't get as many in. Also, be mindful of who you're following. If you're on a bike and there's a UTV or something you know is significantly slower than you, it's better to wait a while unless you want to have to pass them on the way up. Happened to me with a sidecar and a UTV.

I'm not sure what them mean by use H/D weather strip but I ran safety wire on the bolts I could and used RTV on the other ones which passed tech without issue.

I wouldn't worry about not qualifying. As long as you can make it up the hill safely and faster than about :20 you should be fine. :D

Hard to say what was the best part about it, but one of the coolest moments was the descent after the race was over. Not sure what the new spectator rules will do to the turnout but riding through the spectator areas with the crowds cheering and throwing high fives to all the racers on the way down was awesome! It would have been better if my bike hadn't locked up though. Had to push the thing or get pushed most of the way but it was still way cool.
 

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Times getting close

Nice cart, Brian, looks really stable. Our buddy Rob built some for us, and added some wood to raise the bikes a bit. I think we'll be using a tie down to secure them to the cart.

Scott went to tire testing day and said everyone was using warmers, we were wondering if it was worth it to warm the tires during practice and qualifying days. After each run is there time to get heat back in the tires? Or is it heat the tires once and then run up and down non stop?
 

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You will almost always lose all the heat from the tires during practice. They changed up the practice last year and it made it so we got only 3-5 runs each day and they waited almost a minute+ between riders. So when you get to the end of the practice run, expect to wait a while unless you're one of the last few up in the practice run. IR temp gauge is your friend up there. I never went down after each practice run with a temp higher than 80F. (Asphalt surface temp was always close to freezing too)
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Pikes update

Jason and I are done with practice and the race is tomorrow (6/28/2015). Jason qualified 5th out of 17 in lightweight on his yzf450, and I am 6th on my SXV. We get faster each pass, as the road is extremely difficult to remember. I've heard people talk about it, but now I truly understand what they mean. There are a dozen left hand turns that are all blind and look the same at entry. half of them open up to a straightaway, with all kinds of room, and the need to go in "hot" if you want to maintain momentum onto the straight to get a good time. the other half could be medium fast, decreasing radius, multiple linked turns, etc...it's crazy.

To add the cherry on top, a deer ran out in front of Jason in yesterday's qualifying section, and he missed him by a whisker. yikes.

Thanks to Cal for the advice on oxygen. Our Oxygen Factors product is sooooo awesome even halfway up the hill. our bodies are definitely not used to high function 13,000 higher in elevation than home!

brian
 
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