Kozakov Challenge

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Kozakov Challenge

Kozakov, Czech Republic

Away from the crowds in Prague lies a small hill in the Czech Republic. The top of the hill has some radio and TV antennas. A few small villages dot one side of the hill. Down the other side a road runs into the town at the bottom.

The road is the race course. The course starts at the crest of the hill. The top part of the course is the high speed section. The middle starts with a hard right, immediately followed by a left hairpin. Two more hairpins finish the middle of the course. Another high speed straight leads to a hard right before the finish line.

Tuesday, July 19

We took the train from Prague to Turnov, which is at the bottom of the hill. It took us a while to arrange transportation to the top of the hill. By the time I got up there registration was underway.

We got a little goodie bag that included a Kozakov towel and a sticker. We were also given a number for our helmet.

The campsite looked a little empty, I guess more people will be showing up later.

and the bar was serving for the evening.

Wednesday, July 20

When I woke up the next morning the road was wet, the clouds were low and the forecast called for rain. I decided that I wasn't in a hurry, especially since race day was supposed to be nice and sunny. We were supposed to start riding about 9:00,

We actually started riding around noon. The road was a little wet in the forest, and suprisingly enough the final turn, out in the open, was wet.

Although the road in the forest was wet, the three hairpins were dry. The braking zone leading to the second hairpin was wet and made braking interesting, but most of the rest of the trouble spots on the road were dry. As we rode the wet spots dried up as well.

Since we had a late start there was no lunch break. After several runs I decided to skip a run to grab some lunch.

During dinner time, someone set up an exampe of the Verson Barrier.

This is supposed to be replacement for haybales. It has a water bladder in the bottom to hold it in place, and an air bag in the back. A few people tested it out by running into it and a few flaws were found. I think it is an interesting idea, but it still needs some work. I'm also not sure how well it would work for luges.

After dinner there was a riders meeting

When the meeting was over, people stayed in the tent drinking and catching up.

Thursday, July 21

I woke up about 4:00 to pounding rain and thunder. I think it was even hailing. The forecast claimed the weekend would be nice, so I decided to sleep in a little.

acond before 2:00 it was apparent that we weren't going to ride today.

Because of the wet weather, the grill at the caters wasn't working, plus it was cold in the tent. A lot of people ate lunch in the restaurant.

Friday, July 22

The forecast for Friday wasn't much better than Thursday. So when I woke up I took a look out the window and could barely see across the street.

We can ride on a wet course, but not on a foggy course with low visibility. We had a long breakfast before heading up to the camp.

Things didn't look good when we got to the start line.

This meant the start line would be further down the course, so people would be taken down in groups. We would start with standup, and if there was time we would do luge and classic. The main reason to start with standup is there was going to be a cut, while all the lugers and classic would race.

The riders used the main tent to get ready.

and there were a lot of crashes. Unfortunately, with only one qualifying run, almost everyone who crashed was eliminated. When standup qualifying was finished, it was decided there wasn't enough time to qualify luge and classic, so we will try to qualify first thing in the morning.

There was a riders meeting later in the evening.

But it made for a fun party.

Saturday, July 23

Since the schedule was going to be full today, I knew we would start early, no matter what. I got up early, and the weather was clear, it should be a good day. Things got under way a few minutes after 9:00 AM.

I decided to grab a quick bite to eatJuniors and women standup was going to be run next. I grabbed one of the last klobassa's and sat down in the shade to eat. While I was sitting in the shade eating, they began to tear down the tent, and hauled the grill off! I guess they didn't expect the race to go on for so long, but I would have thought they would have stuck around for a few more hours. The juniors

ran while I was eating lunch.

Classic was supposed to run in conjuction with the juniors, but there was a crossover.

So classic ran next. Unfortunately in the quarter finals Phil Champion too a bad spill and had to be rushed to the hospital. It was over an hour before racing continued. It was getting late, and there was still standup and luge to race! Of course Dr. Serek triumphed for another World Cup win.

Standup and street luge were going to be raced simultaneously, but we had to wait through the first couple of rounds of standup first.

we took our warmup run.

While we are at the bottom of the hill, the next round of standup was run. Switzer, one of the favorites to win it, came around the corner next to two other riders. I overheard him saying something about getting stuck behind the two of them coming into the turn. At first I thought he was eliminated. But then he told me the story. He was stuck behind the two other riders higher up on the course. As they entered the corner they both foot braked and Patrick didn't. But the two were in front of them with their arms spread wide, air braking. So Patrick crouched down, slid between the two foot brakers, and was home free.

It was finally time for the luge race.

It was a long day, and we managed to get everything down. Of course we were supposed to be down hours ago, but I think we had the road till 8:00PM. And the weather held out.

With the caterers gone, we made a mad dash to get to the restaurant before it closed. I think they were supposed to close at 8:00PM, but I think they stayed open later for us.

The awards ceremony got underway a few hours later.

and then mentioned that his wife was expecting in October and this will be his final Europe trip. He will try to come to the World Championships, but he won't be able to continue to work the races. Norm Kinnish will fill in for Marcus next year in Europe.

Then it was time to give out the awards.

was given to the person with the fastest time on the hill. Every race heat was timed. Mikel Echedegaray set the fastest time, in the street luge final.

Junior I Standup:

Gires, Kalb, Schickor

Junior II Standup:

Smith, Molin, Piton

Women's Standup:

Neilson, Havnevik, Bougourd

Classic Luge:

Serek, Echegaray, Labarthe

Street Luge:

Echegaray, Labarthe, Naude

Standup:

Switzer, Shapiera, Raab

After the trophies were given out, some coldcuts and other finger food was brought out

The course is a good course, but this is the second year in a row the event almost got rained out. And it wasn't so much the rain, but the fog. There were a few dislocated shoulders, and one horrible injury, a broken leg.