Hot Heels 10
Hot Heels 10
The 10 year anniversary of Hot Heels was held once again in the Kaunertal, beneath the reservoir about 8 km from the town of Feichten. The road leads up to the Kaunertal Glacier where the Austrian Ski team spends their summer.
The road has 29 hairpins,
July 7 - July 10
I decided to head out a few days early and check out Austria. I flew into Innsbruck
Wednesday, July 11
Today was the last of a four day "camp." The camp was a way to get more riding in. I had decided to skip part of the camp to enjoy more of Austria. I've got to admit that if this is run next year it will be a tough decision. The camp was fairly laid back, and all about having fun. Yet Austria is a gorgeous country.
The camp was about having fun and getting extra rides in on the road, it didn't start to late, with a long lunch hour. For those that camped
I got up early because I wanted to drive the road, and get registered before practice started. On my way out of town I say the cows going out to pasture.
I wandered around the camp a bit. At the head of the camp was a small shrine.
I never got over how beautiful the place was.
We broke for a long lunch around 2, and then it started raining. It cleared up about 3, but it was a long lunch, and it started raining again. I heard that Sunday's practice was cancelled because of the rain. Gerhard decided to have a "wet practice" today, because we may have to race in the rain. So up we went.
Most of us Americans gave up,
We headed back to town before the nights riders meeting. I saw the cows going home.
Thursday, July 12th
Today is the first official day of practice. It was another gorgeous morning, with low lying clouds drifting through the valley.This is only one of the few waterfalls near the town. This place is amazing.
The weather today was incredible, and everyone was here. I thought the bus was full yesterday, today there were twice as many people. At one time during practice, Darren wanted to do some more filming for his movie.
We broke for lunch,
Friday, July 13th
Today was qualifying. Being Friday the 13th should have clued us in that some strange things would happen. Marcus ran a pretty tight ship.
The weather looked promising so far.
Dave Auld notice some wood boards that had copied his designs, so we wandered over to meet the guys. Their boards, made of wood, copied Dave's , down to their paint jobs.
I took a few pictures of the downhillers and inliners.
I always love when we can get food on site. While I never ate dinner at the camp, I heard it was good. But the lunches were excellent. I was eating lunch in "our tent" when one of the camer men came by.
We got on the bus for a practice run before qualifying, when it started to rain! The road was soaked by the time we got ready to go.
I was in the middle of the pack of riders, so I got to see a few of the other riders come down. It sure was wet!
Gerhard had a nice timing system out for qualifying.
It was finally time for butt boarding, the premier event at Hot Heels.I didn't improve my time too much, because I forgot how to do a dry run! I slowed down WAY too much in each turn. It didn't matter, everyone was going to race.
One thing about the valley, the weather changes quickly.
Friday night was the first of two big parties. Each night would have three live bands.The sky was clear, and the the stars were amazing. I didn't stay too late, had to get up early for racing.
Saturday, July 14th
It seems life in the small town is started by the church bell. Last night I asked for a 6:45 wake up call. The front desk tried to set it up, he said if it doesn't work, don't worry the bell goes off at 7. And it's right next door. Today was race day, and I woke at the sound of the bell.
Seeing the cows going out to pasture was pretty cool and just adds to the charm.
If it rains, it usually rains in the afternoon, so skateboarding was going first. A couple of us camped out at the carousel to watch. This is a tricky corner, as you go through the chicane first, you have to slow down to take the corner. Chaput couldn't decide on how to slow down and got fairly squirrelly one time.
While getting ready for the luge race
Butt boarding was the final event of Hot Heels 10. I didn't last long. I actually never recovered from the rain, I forgot the lines and how little to break. I did climbed the scaffolding at the finish line. Unfortunately my pics didn't come out. I didn't get many good pics of butt boarding.
Dave Rogers was on fire was usual. Butt boarding generates the greatest number of smiles.
Meanwhile Darren Lott was not having a very lucky weekend. Earlier he had his bib shredded when it got wrapped around his wheels. I guess when he was turning, his shoulder touched the ground. Somehow this allowed his bib to get wrapped up in the rear wheels. In the butt boarding finals, someone put their foot down in, to brake, in front of Darren, and he ended up doing a somersault. And yet he is still excited.
Nick Duffield went to his first race, and came in third. He was very happy.
After dinner we came back for the awards ceremony and the last party. Hot Heels is a fairly big undertaking, and this year Gerhard didn't have any sponsors. The event was running on a very small budget. They came up with this cool idea of giving trees out as the awards.
Gravity Bike Podium:
Snake Board Podium:
Women's Luge Podium:
Butt Board Podium:
But the fun wasn't over, it was time to party. Nick was overjoyed. He was taking pictures with everyone, including me,The night continued on until the wee hours of the morning, with a huge mosh pit.
Sunday, July 15th
As much as I wanted to sleep in, I wanted to get up earlier enough to head up to the glacier before the tree planting ceremony. But first I wandered around town, but after breakfast. Most hotels in Europe provide breakfast, but this is no continental breakfast. Its a full fledged affair. Meats and cheeses, eggs, several times of bread, baked at the local bakery. Jams, honey, and other spreads. I miss it, but I probably miss the fresh bread the most.
I wandered through town. Every town in Europe seems to have at least one church.
I drove up to the glacier, passing dozens of waterfalls, and cruising through 29 hairpins.
When I got back to the camp, we started to clean the place up.
The original plan was to ride the original Hot Heels course in the afternoon. I don't know where the course actually was, but it's higher up on the road. While we had permission to do it, the road wouldn't be protected in any way. The event has supposed to take place after 5, that's when the traffic dies down. Of course thats when it started to rain.
A handful of us decided to go into Italy for dinner. On the way we stopped at a viewpoint,
Hot Heels is probably the finest event on the tour. The road is both technical and long enough to provide drafting. The scenery is outstanding. The town is lovely. The people in the area love us. Despite the treacherous course there were no major injuries, just a few bruised ego's thanks to the rain. Unfortunately this may have been the last year. I hope not, as I want to do this all over again.