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Pike's Peak Adventure 2013

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As usual things were crazy leading up to the departure, and grand plans of having the car repainted prior to the trip quickly became impossible. I thrashed on the car for two FULL days prior to our planned Thrusday departure, having taken Tuesday and Wednesday off before we were scheduled to leave for PPIHC. I parked the 505 because the rear axle was cluncking quite badly, and the front struts were totally blown - so at the very minimum that's what I had to do.

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Rear axle was replaced with a good used one, and the front struts were replaced with some low mile ones off a total loss 88' 505 GLX I bought years ago. I'll need to rebuild the original struts that came off the car and reinstall them when I do the wheel and brake upgrades. The rest of the car was in great shape with plenty of pad life on all the brakes, brake fluid was fresh from a few months back, as was the diff and tranny oil. Decided to just top up the diff and tranny, but the engine got synthetic Castrol 5W-50, and a new Purflux filter. Reset the TPS and idle switch, and confirmed timing was still spot on.

Once the major known issues were corrected I attended to the electrics, and cosmetics as best I could. Front right park light wasn't working, fog lights were blowing the fuse, side skirts were off the car since being repainted, and the car was really looking neglected. Front park light was a corroded connector at the left fender park light connector, driving lights were shorting out because the left Hella driving light light was making contact inside between the bulb and the grounded bulb clip. Gave the car a VERY thorough wash, and then installed the side skirts - I just had to get new hardware to installed them. Had the car done LATE Wednesday night - like hadn't started packing yet, and didn't finish packing until well past 1AM!

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My friend Dan got off his night shift at 6:30AM Thursday morning, and drove straight over. My other buddy Gary lives across the back alley - so it was a convenient departure. Loaded up the car and headed for Colorado at 7AM. Once driving the car wasn't quite right - the only driving I did in the last two or so months was just back and forth for repairs at another buddy's garage the previous weekend. Brakes felt funny, and the engine just wasn't as smooth as I remembered it. Nothing to be worried about, but I was extra leary as I had two friends in the car and if the car broke down I'd never hear the end of it!

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Trip was planned with a very direct route, and we thought it'd be fastest to stick to secondary roads like we did on our return trip in 2004. Sadly we didn't even think that road construction would be that bad and we had a heck of a time with delays the whole trip down due to road construction. We also didn't give much thought to Saskatchewan only having a front plate, and Wyoming being pretty strict about having front plates - got stopped for doing 72 in a 65, but as we waited for the cop we noticed then everyone had front plates. Got away with a warning thankfully.

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As the trip progressed it was clear the only real issue was the mid to high 80's temps being in a black car with no AC! It was pretty hot in the car, but the fresh air system kept us from totally melting - that, and the stop where we tried some F'real milk shakes - they really were good, and hit the spot nicely! With three guys in the car - we made excellent time. Drove non-stop with just the odd meal breaks, and an unfortunate GPS detour when we tried to find a BBQ place listed in the GPS that was a vacant lot when we arrived... Ended up eating at a Taco John's when the Subway line-up was too long...

Once the sun set, it was comfortable in the car again and we were still making decent time until we hit the interstate construction about 1 hour from Colorado Springs and our hotel. The last hour was the most delayed part of the whole trip of course, and the traffic that late at night was another big surprise. Finally arrived at the hotel at ~11:30 PM and prepared for the how to spend Friday. We knew we were going to miss Friday practice as we were just on the road for almost 18 hours, and would essentially have had to have gone immediately to the hill to line up. But sadly I had been mis-informed about there being a Saturday practice and our plan was to see that practice. Didn't find out until Friday during the day that Satureday was a rest day - D'oh!

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Probably a good thing in hindsight with how busy and sleep deprived we were anyway. Friday morning tried to sleep in late, grabbed a big breakfest, and find Mach2Racing's shop to check out the new car... Race team wasn't there, but chatted with the shop owner (Wagner's Prop Shop), and he advised to do the summit as early as we could to avoid traffic - so that's what we did. I hadn't heard from Marc, and I didn't have his number in the car, so we waited for contact as long as we could before deciding to do the run to the summit as early as we possible. (Found out later I gave Marc the wrong number for my buddy's cell!). Summit run was breathtaking, and the road was simply astounding. Go-Pro'd the ascent, and took some nice pics at the top. The road, and the steep grades are just not properly communicated in videos. The tight 180 corners have especially steep ascents with 1st gear and floored throttle barely being able to keep a 25 mile an hour speed limit.

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Spent a good hour on the summit and saw a couple cool cars - one being a 914! Really nice father and son that drove 6hrs away. Chatted to him about his car, and and took a couple pics. He admitted to taking pics of my car earlier - so I knew he was a good kid. :)

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On our way down we stopped at Devil's playground and I hung out by the car as the altituded was giving me a head ache.

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Kind of funny when I noticed a mini-van turned in and came straight to my 505. Driver jumped out and started taking pics of my car - Naturally I had to capture the moment.

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I'm used to taking good natured abuse from friends ALL the time about driving Peugeot's, but this trip was the absolute best one ever for getting waves, thumbs up, and people just walking up and checking it out. He was from France and was happy to see a 505 after so many years, and thought it was great I drove all the way from Canada to see the race in it.

Coming back down we quickly had a pattern set up to pull over and let the slow cars in front to get ahead, and before the next slow car came, we'd drive out so that we could enjoy a quicker pace down the hill. Nothing crazy mind you, but some of the cars decended at speeds that meant I had to ride the brakes all the way down in 2nd, or decend in first... So it was much nicer to just get a gap so we could decend at our own pace. It was a great plan until I found out about the brake temp check at the bottom - surpise! We had a decent gap so there was some decent braking into the last corner before the check, so temps were 382F and we were asked to park and let them cool. (Wasn't really an issue with 600F fluid in the car and Ferodo pads - they felt absolutely fine) It did make it easier for the young guys in a gutted WRX wagon from pulling up and complimenting me on the car however... :D

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Headed back into Colorado Springs to stroke off another To-Do item which was to eat at The Keg in Manitou Springs - it was the default supper location in 2004 for the race team, and we had to see it again. It was there that I was able to make contact with Marc and he met us there for supper. Heard him pull up and immediately had to go out and check out the car... SO SWEET. After supper we went back to our hotel to park the cars as Fanfest was within walking distance, and once there we took the first pics of our cars together.

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Walked over to fanfest and took in the sights. Found the RS200 guys first and caught up with them for a while, and then Marc and I wanted to head straight for the Peugeot Sport tent. Got there to find a HUGE line up on both sides of the table with Seb signing autographs like mad. Dude in front of me was a genious as he had two 1:18 diecast Citroen rally car models - one in full livery and one in white that he got signed. He was pretty distracted the whole time in line and looked anxious to go, but I did get to talk to him very briefly when I showed him my camera with the 505 and 205 side by side - told him I drove from Canada and the 205 from California... He looked, smiled, and continued signing autographing post cards. I assumed he was going to put them down so I could get one, but he took them with him and left... No sig on any of the posters or postcars which kind of sucked - but not a big deal.

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Marc and I both wanted to see what the chances were of getting a photo op with the 208, so we pestered anyone we could in the tent to see if there was a chance to arrange a time where we could come out to wherever they were prepping the car in order to get a photo op. First guy took Marc's card and said he'd try, but suggested getting one on the way up to the race. Second guy actually sounded more promising and we found out where they were, but he never did call us which sucked...

Checked out the rest of fanfest, then got caught in a pretty decent downpour and found ourselves in the Kern Racing tent. Chatted a little with people under the tent, and then when the rain broke we met Marc's bro at Chicago's pub. Hug out there for a bit, then checked out another suggested by our awesome waiter. It was a Barcade! Small little pub with a quite a few old school video games - pretty decent concept. Hung out there for a bit, and then walked back to the hotel to call it a night.

Saturday we had breakfest, then met up with Marc to do the summit drive again. We were just a few cars apart in the line up, and just after the toll gate we pulled to the side and mounted up the Go-Pro's and then started our ascent. Dan jumped in with Marc and off we went. That was the first time I ever saw how well a 205 drove, and he just walked away from me. I likely had more power for sure, but that little 205 was so agile, and it had so much tire he simply never slowed down! It looked great going up the hill, and I tried my best to stay with him - but that meant much more time in boost. At the first stop we noticed my car was boiling it's coolant out the reservoir - temp gauge was hot, but not crazy hot, but I had simply driven it too hard for the cooling system to keep up in that thin air... Got it cooled down, and added some mixed coolant - then resumed the trip up without further issue - and without trying to stay with Marc!

Got up to the summit and got some great pics of the cars together. Again got lots of compliments, and saw lots of people taking pictures of both cars - but the 205 was the belle of the ball! It's such an awesome little car, and really is the rarest of cars anywhere. Thankfully my car still shows decent enough in pictures that it looks pretty decent.

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Headed back down and and this is where we started shooting pictures of Marc's car in action.

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And of course as we crossed the start line we had to pull over for some more photo ops.

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This is where the Peugeot pits were, so we parked in their spot since it was clearly labelled Peugeot parking only.

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Once down, Marc and I really wanted to make the attempt at crashing the location of Peugeot Sport's - Bay 14 at Pike's Peak Speedway, but stopped for a Sub first. Drove all the way out there only to see the car being pulled to the hill by the team on an open trailer... No way to turn around and catch it as it was pretty heavy traffic - plus it was clear the team just wasn't interested in working with us on a photo shoot or simply didn't have the time to do anything off script. Headed back into Colorado Springs as we were all starved - and we saw what looked to be a pretty cool place we wanted to try out - Colorado Mountain Brewery. (Ribs were awesome!)

We split up so that we could get some shopping done for spectating Sunday. Got our groceries, and then headed to the hotel to try and get some rest before we had to go line up. Initial plan was to go out around 3AM, but decided that was much too late, so I think we were out there closer to 1 AM. While in line we saw a 208 that was driven all the way up by Peugeot Mexico staff. The were very nice and pulled over so we could take some pics.

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Worked out great, and we had a lot of fun in line - especially with the infamous Bobby.

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Plan was intially to spectate the start line, but after seeing the whole course and checking out Devil's Playground - we quickly talked ourselves into changing plans and going up to Devil's. Problem was we decided on the mountain AFTER preparing only enough food to offset the concession that was at the start line. We figured we had enough to stay alive, and we hadn't come this far to not try to get the best seats on the mountain - and Marc agreed.

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Line up the mountain was pretty crazy, but it seemed to move steadily enough, and we made it up to Devil's Playground. Tried to grab some sleep, but one of the perks of Devil's Playground is seeing the sun rise in the morning - so we did that too. Well worth the effort.

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I crashed pretty hard in the car after the sunrise, and was fighting a headache - so just crashed in my car. Missed the bikes pretty much entirely, but caught the last few. When they announced the unlimited cars were next - I went back to the car and loaded up my gear to capture the event. Decided shooting pics was a bit futile with the distance and such, and went with shooting video of Loeb's run. It was a little funny seeing the chopper trying to follow Loeb, and it was even hard for me to actually find and follow the car until he was closer. No matter though - it was still awesome to see just how fast the car was, and when he accelerated away from us a 16 mile and got the anti-lag pop between shifts and that glorious sound - it was just pure awesome. When they announced the 8:13 time the hill just erupted with cheers and everyone was talking about the times. Even the announcers were amazed! Sadly in the drama of Loeb's run, Dumas' had transmission failure and didn't complete his run. We then waited and watched the other unlimited entries and I tried to film them best I could, but it was starting to get pretty cold. My vid camera doesn't like cold and battery life tanked. Finished up best I could with my phone, but when it started raining and hailing we decided to head back to the car to wait it out.

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It was very wet and very cold, but we'd listen to the radio and when cool cars were coming up we'd head out into the rain and cold and get a glimse of the cars. Shot stills of these as then went by - one of our favorite's was the David and Goliath battle of a little privateer E30 BMW against all the other time attack cars. Guy was really young, and did a HELL of a job on a shoe string budget... Once of the coolest cars on the hill IMHO.

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Once all the cars had run, everyone came out to line the sides of the roads as all the competitors paraded down the hill and the drivers that could reach gave high five's all the way down - very cool indeed.

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After the parade, everybody packed up and it was descent time. They said our lot was emptied first, so in theory that meant we'd be out sooner, but the descent was ridiculously slow, and it was apparent that they were merging everyone at the same time which made for a very slow exit. It also looks like most the compeitors backed up and headed out as well as there was no trace of Peugeot on the way out. 2 hours later we were back on our way to Colorado Brewing Company for some much needed food. We made a friend at the hill earlier in the day when he graciously fed us bacon and fried potatoes - so we invited Ryan to come with. Really nice guy and we had a great supper together - and now we have a friend / contact in Gillette Wyoming... :) (Car guys rule!)

After supper I took Marc's car for a very quick drive as I couldn't not meet him and not ask to drive the 205... :D It really was a go kart... A very cool go-kart. Intial impression was that while it wasn't super fast, it sounded fantastic with the Devil exhaust, and revved very sweetly. Steering was quite heavy with all that rubber under the car, but steering response and shifter feel were amazing. I could see why he could just drive away from me on the tight bits. We said our goodbye's and headed off back to the hotel. While I was packing up I realized I forgot my jacket in Marc's 205. Messaged him on FB, and he did indeed have my jacket, so decided to meet back up at the restaurant so I could get my jacket back... I was ~11:30PM by this point, and we had plans to wake up at 2AM to drive home! Met Marc, and then offered him a drive in my 505 - I never get feedback from anyone else that knows Peugeots - so it was nice to see what he had to say. All good things - but he did say he thought his 505 had a bit more bottom end punch. Could have been the elevation, but I was still happy to hear the car felt great. Said goodbye again - and headed to the hotel for my short nap before packing up and heading home.

2AM came and we got our stuff packed and loaded up the car to begin the trip home. Made a few changes in the route home so that we had more interstate time going North, and headed off at around 3:15AM. We all had massive suppers the night before, so we were in the car a good 6+ hours before stopping for some food. Couldn't find anything good, so ended up at DQ hoping for some ice cream. In total the GPS said there was only ~ 50 minutes stopped time the whole trip back, and we arrived home at 6:30PM. Not too bad time wise. Car was running especially good on the way home - and the car did fantastic.

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Got it all unloaded - gave it a quick clean, and then had my buddy help me drop it off at the body shop to have the fender damage repaired which is where it sits now.

Rabin

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Great writeup and photos Rabin. Looked like a lot of fun! Certainly hope that there will be another opportunity in the future to see Peugeot race in the US!

Also, while I haven't seen Marc's silver GTi in person, I saw his grey one, and boy was that car cool. Hope I get to see this one before the summer's end if we have another meet.

Cheers

Sina

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Thanks Sina! The 205 was very sweet indeed, and Marc could drive the wheels off it. We actually ran into a guy from the UK that had 25 of them, and still had several - I asked him what his favorite one was and he replied the 1.6 GTi just like Marc's.

Nick - We saw the E36 at fan fest, but I didn't see it run due to the crappy weather and us in the car waiting it out. It was DAMN cold on the mountain when it started raining and hailing, and we didn't have full gear to stay out in it. How did Jamie do?

Rabin

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To think I was the closest one to Pike's Peak and my 505 was in no shape to attend.
Good to see some of ours were.

Impressive report! Good job! ;)

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Now that was an adventure. Thanks for being a good story teller, as well. Did you guys compare mileage as in how many each took to get to the Peak from your respective homes?I suppose I could google map it.

BTW

Been there, done that.

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epic post, rabin! this is one of my favorites. i was going to write to you and request a travelogue-type writeup but no need as that's exactly what you did. really gave me the feeling of being there! :)

it would have been cool to have been able to do some sort of photo op with the team but it's totally understandable that it didn't happen. i can only imagine the amount of pressure those guys were under -- not only international-motorsport-event pressure, but company-in-dire-financial-situation pressure on top of that...

andré

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Thanks Andre! Our best chance for a photo op would have been on one of the prior test days on the mountain, so our request was very much a Hail Mary.

I figured our best chance was to find someone on the team that thought it was cool, and that could have fit it into an existing schedule (IE Prior to loading up). I'm glad we tried though.

Rabin

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Wow! That's an interesting story, Rabin!

One good thing about Peugeot is taking you wherever you want to go and bringing you back, peacefully and safely, irrespective of it age. I started observing that when I was using my father's 504 GL. I remember vividly when I packed my 505 V6 for like 4 months without driving it. I just woke up one early morning, swap in my 605 V6 battery in it, started it and drove off from Abuja - Enugu, about 600 km. The car didn't even cough on the journey, likewise while driving back to Abuja few days later. Always ready for trips anytime. Peugeot may not be the best brand out there today, but they can be very friendly when taken for trips.

I have heard so much about this 205 that I always hope to drive one someday. Unfortunately, Nigeria never got the 205. Sad face!

BTW, Rabin, your 505 still look clean. A damn aggressive looking Lion you got there! B)

Ikenna.

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Oh! I forgot to add.

Rabin, I wouldn't have bothered replacing the front ABS struts, if I were you. They can be rebuilt like the conventional 505 strut with the same re-kit parts, just like I rebuilt my ABS strut of my 505 V6 few weeks ago. It cost me about $20 to rebuilt the strut. I used ABRO rebuilding strut oil for it. The oil cost $7 here in Abuja. Am enjoying the car better handling now, since the strut rebuilt.

Ikenna.

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Ikenna - the front strut swap was the quickest way to fix the car for the trip. I'll rebuild the struts that came off and re-install with the big brake / wheel upgrade after the garage is done.

Thanks for the positive responses to the post, it took a bit of time to put it together with pics, but well worth it as it documents the trip which will be cool looking back it later.

Rabin

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Damn 505 blends in too much... I may have to comment on the you-tube vid with a link here. Likely won't change anything, but damnit there were 3 Peugeots that attended!

Rabin

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The only exclamations I know in French are from Painter Smurf: "Sacre Bleu!" or "Zut Alors!" - would they be sufficient for posting my disbelief on them missing my 505 Turbo in thier coverage? :D

Rabin

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