Streets of San Francisco

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Streets of San Francisco

San Franciso, CA

The third and perhaps final Red Bull - Streets of San Francisco, once again took place on De Haro St in down town San Francisco. More of an event than a race. More about jumping 100 feet. More about partying.

The race course was identical to last years, except that the Red Bull tent

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was placed on the street at the bottom of the course. The top section of the course, before the first jump had been repaired, but the cheese grader, the section below the first jump, was still in existence. Early in the year, we had a chat on lllv.com and we decided that this year the Big Air jump would be a 5 inch jump, with a 2 inch jump added for the races!

About a month before the event

I got home from work and found a box on my doorstep. The box was about the same size as the box we had last year that held our wheels. I opened the box and read my invitation. The invite mentioned that we would have a party registration at MoMo's and we would pick up our wheels. So what was in the box? I dug through the bubble wrap and found a chunk of street! The street was stamped: "Know your Enemy." Later I found the chunk of street came from the top section that was repaired.

Friday, July 27th

This year the hotel was in downtown San Francisco. I arrived at the hotel Friday afternoon, enough time to get settled in, picked up my copy of Highland Wheels Extreme video from Pete Eliot, put my board together, and walk around the block before heading down to MoMo's.

Saturday, July 28th

Its finally here, Red Bull, Streets. I've been waiting for this for a full year! We got up fairly early to get an early start on the hill. This year we had a truck to transport the luges to the course,

I got back to the pits and found Auld with a bandage on his thumb. Apparently he had split his thumb open putting on his number plate!

Looks like there were some suspension luges this year.

Let the carnage begin. We lined up six deep, and they wanted to test the starting gates. The gates were shut, the countdown began, a horn went off, but only one gate opened. Orton heard the horn and pulled as hard as he could. Technically his gate didn't open. Orton took care of that as he broke through the gate! I also had problems. My board wouldn't behave, it was veering to the right, the more I leaned to the left, the more it veered to the right. I ended up sitting up and riding the board down, and passed Fisser on the way down. I think he broke the first truck of the day.

I don't think that is going to be structurally sound. Meanwhile I had to solve the problem with my board. I knew the trucks were on correctly, so I didn't know what the problem was. I decided to loosen the trucks up. Turns out that my trucks weren't perfectly straight. I tightened them down SO much, that they wouldn't turn at all. Since they couldn't turn, they couldn't self-correct themselves! Let this be a lesson, even if you need to go perfectly straight, loosen your trucks up a tad.

We had a round of qualifying.

I think I got more air of off the small race ramp during qualifying than I did off of last years Big Air ramp! When we were done qualifying, most of us went back up the hill to watch! Red Bull provided lunch for us at the cafe.

Time to race. First was the super mass,

It must have helped, as he won. The tv crew was trying to get an interesting shot. They were having the reporter say something like "Welcome to San Francisco, This IS streetluge." and then the gates would open. She did this over and over again. But something went wrong each time. She finally succeeded on like the 8th try!

I didn't last long. I'm still not sure what happened, I think the front end of my handles caught something when I landed. I ended up tipping over on my right side, I was literally riding on the right hand edge of my handles, and the bottom of my right hand. I managed to tip the board back over, which caused it to ride on my left handle and hand! I lost the race, and bloodied my knuckles. I thought my day was finished. I called for the paramedics, and the guy took about five minutes to mosey down from the hill. He poured some water over my hand and bandaged them. I thought I was done. I didn't qualify for the mass, and if I was going to wreck like that on the small jump then what was going to happen on the big jump? I was pretty bummed. Then I had a great idea, I'll tape some risers to the back of my hands. That'll protect them. Forsythe came to the rescue. He had some wrist guards, and the back comes up to the knuckle. Perfect. We put the left one on, and then had a hard time putting the glove on. So for my right hand, we put the glove on first, and still somehow managed to put the wrist guard on.

I watched the rest of the race with these wrist guards on my hands. It was VERY difficult to take pictures. Before the final, Lee comes down missing something.

Ha, we'll show those Brits just how to use duct tape. It was enough to get Lee his third Streets of San Francisco Gold. 

I raced in the four man, as enough people dropped out. I blew the start and then Mason drifted over in front of me. Chris Chaput was in the lead in most of his runs.

And then it was time for Big Air.  Mason tried to organize things differently this year. He would go first, because he wanted to watch everyone else. Then the people who thought they would go BIG would go last. Everyone else would go by numbers. I think we had about 20 Big Air riders. I was going 6th or so. Mason was sitting on the starting ramp, waiting to go. A bunch of us were standing next to him, we wanted to watch him go. When we spotted a yellow thing out on the course. We were trying to figure out what it was, when we realized it was the TOP of the Red Bull arch that had been added over the Big Air ramp!

I always had a problem hitting the cheese grader, and last year I had to slow down so much I almost didn't take the ramp. This year, our announcer Johno and suggested I NOT catch air on the first tier. So I tried that, I think I went too slow over the hill, but as I approached the ramp. Well it wasn't exactly a fear, it was just a "Oh My god I'm going to hit the ramp" I tapped the breaks, thinking over and over, "I'm going to hit the ramp." They had told us to hit the right side of the ramp for maximum tv exposure. I veered over that way, thinking "I can't believe I'm actually doing this." And then I hit the ramp, and flew, and flew, the crowed was cheering, and I flew. I hit the ground, barely felt it, and I went off. I screamed and hollered to the finish line. Jumped up, still excited, and realized NO ONE, I mean NO ONE was around. Actually it turns out there was ONE couple walking by, which is fortunate cause I needed help removing my helmet. What a rush.

Each person that came down went bigger than last.

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A few of the guys hitting the Big Air wrecked. Someone (was it Smouse?) lost his trucks.

 

Red Bull had some beautiful trophies to hand out.

Super Mass Podium:

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Dansie, Chaput, DeKeyser

Mass Podium:

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Chaput, DeKeyser, Schonzeit

Big Air Podium:

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Waldo, Chaput

 

Tom Mason wanted this year's Big Air event to more spectacular than every. While we had all hoped to top the 100 feet mark, that didn't happen, but this event was bigger and rougher than ever. Chris Chaput broke or damaged over a dozen trucks. Fisser went through a few trucks,

Fortunately thanks to Moe's special Big Air trucks, my equipment held up. 

Now it was time to party. We headed to a small nightclub, where Red Bull fed us dinner,

Most of us stayed until we got kicked out at 2.

Sunday, July 29th

Fun Day

Steve Pearl has been organizing runs at Dinosaur Point, about an hour and a half south of San Francisco. He was having one today, and hoped that several pros would show up. I wouldn't miss this for the world. My original plan was to get up early and get down there before 10. By the time I woke up, and breakfast and got my rental car it was about 10:30! I still got there for plenty of runs.

The course is about three miles long, I clocked a top speed of 75 mph on my gps. The road is fast but not technical at all. It is an all out drafting blast. As usual we had a few amateurs and newbies. But everyone was having fun. This year we had an international crowd. I would estimate that over 20 people rode the hill, we never had more than about a dozen riding at a time. We all fit in the pickup.

One thing that was cool was someone was filming it, and had each of us give our name and hometown. That was pretty cool.

We tried to have a speed contest. Each person would take a single run and Steve would radar them. Problem was we had trouble with the radios, so about half way through we just ended up going down together. I think Steve clocked someone at 71 mph (or was it 69?) but I don't think he was at the fast spot.

After the day was over, Steve once again held a raffle, giving away many fabulous prizes.

One of the most coveted items was a board. Like last year, this item went to a newbie!

It was time to pack up and head home. I had a plane to catch in San Jose at 9:15. We were about 50 miles from San Jose, by the shortest route. But Gilmore, about halfway between San Jose and Dinosaur point was having the world famous Garlic Festival. It took me about an hour to break my board down and pack. I left at 7pm, Steve recommended taking the 101, through Gilmore, rather than the longer route via 5. So off I got to Gilmore fairly quickly and stopped at In 'n Out for dinner. Sure this would probably cause me to miss the plane, but it would have been worth it.

Right outside Gilmore I hit stop and go traffic. Its now 7:30, I watch the clock tick down, as I creeped along the freeway. I start getting worried at 8:15 when I was still in stop and go traffic. Finally at 8:30 I figured I had between 10 and 15 miles to go. I was doing 10 miles an hour. I did the math, I wasn't going to make the plane. I knew I was going to miss the plane, but I still had to try. The frustrating thing was I wouldn't know if I missed the plane until after I dropped the car off! I see an exit 1/2 mile ahead. I whip out my laptop, and turn it on. It was taking a while, but 1/2 mile goes by pretty slowly at 10 miles an hour. I started my automap streets. Found the freeway I was on, and discovered about a mile off was another freeway that ran parallel to the one I was on! I got of on the next exit, got over to the other freeway. This "freeway" was a regular road with traffic lights every mile or so, but it was moving along at 55 mph! I got to the airport, dropped off the car, and got on the bus. The slow bus, the bus was going to make me late. I ran up to the ticket counter, and asked "Did I miss my plane?" it was 9:17. The plane was just leaving, the last plane was leaving! I wasn't happy, but wait they could get me on the other plane that was just boarding! Turns out the 7 o clock plane was delayed, and was in the process of boarding! I arrived home only a few minutes after I was supposed to!

 

Once again Red Bull provides us with a fine event. And Steve topped it off with a sweet run. Tom Mason perhaps said it the best when he said he had only ONE athlete go to the hospital. Dave Auld got stitches in his thumb, and he cut it putting on his number plate. He made it back in time to qualify. That wasn't quite true. Darren got speared and got a hole in his shoulder. He went to the hospital after the event was over. While there was a ton of carnage, busted trucks, bent boards,

) and several wipeouts, there was only one serious injury. We went big, but we did not go home! Unfortunately we are told this will be the last year for the Big Air, but Tom promises something wild and crazy for next year. I can't wait.