Black Dome

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Black Dome

Asheville, NC

My first race was Black Dome and took place in Asheville, North Carolina. It was the same weekend as the Bele Chere Festival. This festival is a large street fair that takes up most of downtown Asheville. The race course ends about a block from the festival.

The course was eight tenths of a mile, but it was fairly twisty, with over a dozen turns, although there were no hairpins. The top part of the course was fairly easy, but coming into the bottom there was a steep drop and then a hard right turn, as the course came to a T intersection.

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The finish line was not far from the turn.

The race was run by Michael Shannon under NSLA. I think this was NSLA's first race, previously it was RAIL East. Somehow we got paired up with a local tub kart racing club. These cars were basically gokarts, but with a tub instead of a motor.

The race was only a one day event. We practiced in the morning, then raced in the afternoon. We had about 20 lugers total, so it didn't take too long for the race. We didn't have a qualifying session, names were pea picked for heats.

This was my first race, and really my first technical hill. I had the hardest time with the turn at the bottom. There was a portapoty directly across from the T intersection. Four tires were placed in front of the portapoty. This course was lined with used drag strip tires instead of hay bales. Unless someone went straight, chances are they wouldn't hit the portapoty. Well the first time I came down the hill, I didn't make the turn and I hit the curb about ten feet away from the portapoty, missing the tires. Fortunately the curbs were rounded there, so it wasn't a big deal. Well someone decided the tires were in the wrong place. The next time I came down the hill, I didn't make the turn, but I did prove that the tires were now in the proper place. 

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 This photo was given to me at the next race!

I continued to ride poorly. The course was a fairly open course, with few hay bales/tires placed anywhere. There was a drain part way down the course, near the apex of a corner that kept cause my problems. The drain itself was level but the street wasn't. So the drain would mess you up if you hit it. I don't remember what happen, other than I hit the drain, and ended up going straight. I hit the curb, and sheered off my front truck! Fortunately I had brought a spare.

In my one race heat, I didn't quite make the first turn correctly, and was in third place. I really wanted to do well, so I stiffened my body up, and tried to ride straight as an arrow. Tried to get aerodynamic. Riding stiff isn't the way to ride, so I started to develope speed wobbles. I knew I could sit up to stop them, but I also knew if I did, I'd lose the raise. So I tried to ride them out, and proceeded to get bucked off my board!

After my race I was able to watch the rest of the race, and the pro race. We did have a few spectators in the bottom corner.

The race was finished up by early evening. Shanon had made some cool trophies with half melted wheels.

After packing up, most of us headed to a Mexican place for dinner.

That ended my first, and definitely not my last, street luge race. I think I got a grand total of 5 runs. At the time I was a little disappointed, half flown across the country for the race. I seemed to have spent most of the day sitting around waiting, a harbinger of things to come!