Savannah Ivanitski: Pikes Peak

Well, I had a few minutes to throw together a bit of video and started with Savannah’s video from Pikes Peak. There is a ton of video to wade through still for all the other cars, so keep your eyes open in the near future.
Savannah only got to run to the mid point since SOMEONE crashed and they shut down the top of the course…

I had a great week with Savannah and Val and all the fingers crossed team. Hope you enjoy a bit of a ride along in video form

Pikes Peak 2012, it’s almost time

If you have read back in my posts you know Pikes Peak has been a constant passion for me. I have followed the race, spectated the race, reported on the race and more. I really enjoy the mystique of the race. It just has this spirit that you don’t find other places. The mountain seems to have a personality and moods and each year you can’t quite tell the mood the mountain will be in until race day.

I have never been in the race, I have had a real desire to bring this race out to the world. More specifically I have had a strong desire to bring the underdogs of this race out to the world. There are many competitors on Pikes Peak and there are some who hold records, who break records, who are on the podium regularly and whos names are never mentioned. I enjoy bringing light to their efforts and showing the world what these people are made of and what it takes to get there. Some of the drivers I have highlighted are Dave and Allison Kern, Spencer Steele, Jimmy Olson, Savannah Rickli and her codriver Rebecca Greek. Others have been featured in my videos and photos as well and as much as I enjoy the big name drivers that come to this race I am proud of the exposure I have given to these smaller name drivers so people can see what it takes to make your own way to the race. The endless hours of fabrication, the endless hours of counting pennies to get all the parts that you need to make the big day and the final push to make it onto the mountain.

As with other years I have helped the RaceKern team in preparation for the year. Unlike last year however I have had my own car to work on and therefore I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I have in the past. With the accident last year the car had a definite need for body work. Lots of dents and dings and some more serious stuff as well. The decision was made to simply cut all of the body work out and make carbon fiber panels to replace it. We were taking a 4 door EVO and making it a lighter weight coupe. After all the work and all the effort the final result is pretty incredible. It looks like a factory body, but when you touch it you start realizing it really isn’t. each panel on the side of the car is 4.5 lbs. So both panels together weigh about 1/3rd of one of the two doors we removed. After you factor in the other steel that was removed this was a pretty significant weight savings and in addition there is a mold so more panels can be pulled at any time.

When the race date for Pikes Peak came around fires were ravaging Colorado Springs. 350 homes were lost and many were displaced in the aftermath. The race was canceled, there is no way that they could have a race with such uncontrolled chaos going on nearby. Soon afterward I received a phone call from Valentin Ivanitski. Val’s codriver couldn’t make the new date and he hoped I would be interested in giving it a try.

My gut reaction to his request was “YES.” But I decided I needed to be more responsible than that. Check the schedule. Check the vacation time. Sort out work needs as well. In the end the answer was Yes! This of course put me in a tizzy. I have things to get, my helmet isn’t the proper certification, I don’t own a hans. I needed to get the right shoes since mine were torn. Socks, yes you need fireproof socks too and finally a physical for the race. Things keep delaying the completion of these tasks and of course are just stressing me out. But I think I have this all under control now and I am psyched to get on the road, tomorrow, to go race.

This past Saturday Val and I took a trip down to the peak. We did Recce runs, or basically, we took the pace notes we have and we made sure they worked for us. It was a good thing we did all this because we found a few quirks and those quirks we had extra time to go through and correct. I am feeling very confident in the notes now. It is interesting how the notes turn from a bunch of left and rights to actual turns you recognize when you get on the mountain. It is interesting as well how turns you have never really noticed before become the turns that seem most critical when you start seeing the road at race pace. You can feel the pucker factor and if anyone says that they don’t have nerves going into a race then are lying. But as this quote says “beyond fear there is freedom.”

I am really excited for the week and I am looking forward reaching the summit and posting a good time. Keep your eyes on the site and I will make sure to keep you updated this week on the mountain.

Cadet Chapel and Pikes Peak

If you can’t appreciate natural beauty then you must appreciate architectural marvels right? On the 4th of July, we decided to take in both in the same day!

Air Force Cadet Chapel

We started our morning by heading down to the Air force academy in Colorado Springs. I had never been on base before and wasn’t exactly sure what hoops we’d have to jump through to get through their checkpoints. It was a simple process and no cavity searches were performed so the day started off nicely. You can see the Cadet chapel from the highway, though the closer you get to it the more impressive it seems. The chapel stands in distinct contrast to the other buildings there. It has a very modern look with metal and glass standing in a sharp point aimed to the sky.

Air Force Cadet Chapel

Melanie is here from Germany studying religion in America and wanted me to join her at one of her church experiences so I asked her to select an architectural masterpiece to visit and this is where we ended up. I am sure you can imagine that we looked maybe a smidge out of place with me looking around at all the architecture and the design and Melanie taking notes through the service. I suspect nobody noticed in the end however. We were able to check out the inside of the building as well however and it is pretty amazing. The background on the building is that it was built from 1959-1962 and designed by Walter Netsch. The chapel is constructed of tubular steel, aluminum panels and colored glass. One of my favorite things is the pews in the protestant chapel, they were designed to resemble WW1 era propellers, both the ends of the pews as well as the seat backs to the pews. The Organ is also on full display in the upper chapel. I have to admit however the cross behind the alter had a lot of resemblance to a sword in my mind and I don’t know how I feel about that.

Air Force Cadet Chapel

Air Force Cadet Chapel

Air Force Cadet Chapel

We made our way downstairs to see the Catholic chapel as well, this is a much smaller space but the walls were nearly entirely stained glass and gave the impression that the ceiling was floating. It is a pretty interesting room. I didn’t know that there were two more rooms downstairs otherwise I would have looked at them as well. The Chapel apparently has a Jewish room and an “all faiths” room.

Air Force Cadet Chapel

Air Force Cadet Chapel

From there we headed to Pikes Peak. Of course I have been there a billion times, but Melanie had never been on top of this mountain and of course, with all my jibber jabber about the race and the road, well she kinda had to see it in real life to get an idea of what all the fuss was about. So we ascended the road and stopped at a few lookouts to enjoy the scenery. The day was beautiful and the weather couldn’t have been nicer! We spent some time at the top of the mountain before heading back down and took a nice panorama from the top as well!


Afterward we rushed back to get dinner with friends and then not watch fireworks because the rain had eliminated them as a possibility. It was a fun day though and it made me excited to see more architecture! I only brought my G9 with me on this adventure. I didn’t want to stick out to much with a huge camera taking pictures at the church!