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Steve Goeglein of Falcon, Colo., makes his way up a stretch of Pikes Peak near Devil's Playground in a 2002 Chevy Camaro as the sun rises during the third day of practice for the 97th Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Thursday morning.

Follow along as Gazette reporter Lindsey Smith and sports interns George Stoia and Evan Petzold journey to 14,115 feet for the 97th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Time: 3:42 p.m.

Location: Summit house - 14,155 ft. 

LS: George was right about the ominous cloud. 

Severe weather impacted the lower portion of the track with rain, hail fog - and goats, according to drivers, then moved to the summit as lightning caused a red flag and forced drivers to head for cover. 

The finish line was moved to Glen Cove with about half of the field left to race. 

On top of it all, we received official word at 3:40 that Carlin Dunne, who crashed his 2019 Ducati Streetfighter V4 Prototype just before the finish line, has died. 

So much sadness at 14,000 feet. My thoughts are with his family, friends, teammates and the entire motorcycle community.

Time: 1:52 p.m. 

Location: Media buss, Pikes Peak summit - 14,095

GS: Well, this is likely to be the peak of my internship (no pun intended). Besides ruining my Vans, it's been a successful morning. I've eaten two donuts and am about to have more. 

It's amazing seeing this drivers go by. Rhys Millen just broke the Production record by eight seconds in a 2019 Bentley Continental GT worth over $200,000. That's absurd. 

Looks like we may getting some bad weather soon, with ominous cloud hanging above us. I guess that means time for more donuts. 

Time: 1:29 p.m. 

Location: Media bus, Pikes Peak summit - 14,095

LS: To give you some perspective on the sheer insanity that is the summit on race day - I hit my 10,000 step goal at 9 a.m. 

It has been basically nonstop since the race began (aside from what feels like a dozen red flags). I haven't really had a second to breathe, or write since we got underway at 7:30.

I tell people this is the craziest, extremely exciting days of the year, but it hasn't all been fun today.

Around 10:30 a.m. I had one of those moments, a true tunnel vision moment. 

I was watching Rennie Scaysbrook celebrate his time of 9:44.63 as the second-fastest qualifier in the motorcycle race, loving every second of his powerful celebration (which included a few excited expletives), when I realized the fastest qualifier, Carlin Dunne, had not yet come to park his bike.

Then the medical helicopter started circling. Then ambulance lights were seen by the finish line. 

Something is wrong. 

I run over to the finish line, climbing the pile of boulders as fast as I can. I see an ambulance, a stretcher being pulled from the back, panicked looks -- but no Carlin. 

We have been told by his Ducati teammate Codie Vahsholtz that Dunne is moving and he "heard from another teammate that he was going to be OK."

Anything can happen on America's Mountain - but I surely hope no one has to endure anything like that again. 

Time: 7:49 a.m.

Location: Glen Cove - 11,440 ft.

The first racer of the day, Mark Bartle of Peyton, Co., kicked off the 97th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb around 7:35 a.m. on a 2018 Honda CRF450. Around 7:45 a.m. we received reports that Bartle crashed in the Glen Cove area, around what is known to racers as 'rookie curve.'

The race was under a red flag as safety vehicles assessed the situation. At 8:10 a.m. we received reports that the Flight for Life helicopter did not launch, and safety vehicles are headed back to their initial position. 

Reports indicate that Bartle was not seriously injured in the incident. 

Time: 5:50 a.m.

Location: Pikes Peak summit - 14,155 ft.

LS: We made it! 

Meet our Gazette summit team for the 97th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. 

It was around 49 degrees when we arrived at the summit, just in time for a beautiful sunrise. 

Time: 4:06 a.m.

Location: Southeast Colorado Springs - 6,124 ft.

LS: My alarm buzzed a 2:50 a.m., merely three hours after I forced my body to sleep. I moved a sleeping cat from my chest, showered, gathered my web of power cords and made a strong pot of coffee. 

I was out the door by 3:30 with a nostalgic first-day-of-school kind of feeling settling in my stomach. 

It's race day. 

A year ago I covered my first hill climb, and return for my second season as a 'veteran' of The Gazette's group of five talented journalists venturing to the summit, marking the most expansive hill climb coverage in years. 

Follow along for updates throughout the day from our group of writers, and keep your eyes on social media and Gazette.com for scenes from the summit from our photographer Parker Seibold and videographer Katie Klann. 

       — Lindsey Smith



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