The Highland Wheels Extreme
The second annual Highland Wheels Extreme was once again held in the Cairngorm Mountains near the resort town of Aviemore. Aviemore is a small town about an hour south of Inverness.
The race course was the same as last year's. The course is the road leading up to the ski resort, and is 2.2 miles long. The course starts off with a short, gentle straight a way.
Thursday, May 30
I got on the plan last night in Seattle, spent the morning in London, and got to Inverness around 4 pm.
I got in and got registered, and picked up a pair of gloves that Chris is having made. These gloves are the type with protected knuckles. We were also given a program with ever rider's picture in it! Later we had our rider's meeting.
Turns out that Pete Eliot lost his luge, so he decided to take a hacksaw to one of the Britsh Rogers Bros knockoffs.
Friday, May 31
After a Full English Breakfast, which could have included blood pudding and hagis, we started to gather for the bus ride to the course.
This year we had a bus to take us to the top,
I was on the start line for the first practice run of the weekend, when I played with my board and realized something to feel right. I looked down, and leaned left, my wheels turned right! They were on backwards. I THOUGHT I could probably ride the board down if I sat up, so I let everyone else go and then headed out. Turns out its IMPOSSIBLE to ride a board backwards, you make so many minor adjustments without even thinking about it. I got down to the Gun Barrel and decided to give up. I did meet a photographer at the corner who took my picture.
We got quite a bit of practice in, even though it seemed like we kept the road open longer than we needed to. On my second to last practice run of the day, I started to high side in the Juice Box, doing about 65. Fritz was right behind me. I don't know if he hit me or not, but I started to tumble, and then he definitely slammed into my side. I rode on the top of my hand for a bit, tumbled a bit before finally sliding off the road. My only injuries were a bruised side, and scrapped knuckles. Now I'm wishing I wore the gloves I bought yesterday!
Saturday, June 1
Today was qualifying day. We had a new bus driver, when we got to the point in the road, where they joined back up, he swung the bus around in a U turn and dropped us off. Everyone on the bus erupted in a large cheer, I wonder if the driver ever figured out why we cheered him? Buttboards qualified in the morning, and we had quite a crowd.
One of the restaurants in town had a tent to sell food all weekend.
In the afternoon we did the street luge qualifying.
Last year Kurtis managed to get a pit crew. The kids came out again this year, and hung out with Kahn and me.
It was decided to run the Standup race today, as it is supposed to rain tomorrow. I stayed in the pit areas and took some pictures at the finish line. Meanwhile our pit crew kept us entertained.
After dinner we had another riders meeting. But first Richard Hod was handing out cake for Pete Eliot's birthday.Dave Rogers took the pole in street luge, and Darren took it in buttboard.
Sunday, June 2
Today is race day, it also happens to be part of the Golden Jubilee. The Brits came out in full force to celebrate the Queen.
The weather didn't look all that promising, but the course was dry, and it wasn't raining as we went up the hill for a practice run. As we got to the top, it began to rain! The practice run was wet, but it stopped raining by the time we got to the bottom.
We started off with the buttboard race. The course was already drying out. By the time the finals came around the course was completely dry. As expected Darren won, with Dave Rogers hot on his tail. I managed a respectable fourth!
I thought we were going to break for lunch, so I bought lunch. Turns out a fun run was in the works, the flag pass. I believe the rules were who ever had the flag had to sit up and hold it out for the someone to grab. [hopefully I've got a pic coming] Darren claimed he had the flag FIVE times! Apparently, you also had to be dressed appropriately.
Some guys have an interesting concept on what a tool is.
Several guys showed up for the gravity bike race.
Finally we have the streetluge race. I think the brackets were a bit messed up was Dave and Darren raced each other in the second round (in my heat none the less!) I just missed getting into the finals, and in an attempt to win the consolation round, took the Gun Barrel to fast and ran off the road. Dave ran away with the race, and left the next five in a fairly tight pack at the finish. Kahn tried to pass on the outside, and ended in the dirt, wrecking spectacularly in front of everyone. Auld and Lott managed to take second and third.
Incredibly for the second year in a row, there was almost no rain for the Highland Wheels Extreme. We had the one wet practice run, and a partially wet course for the beginning of the buttboard race. The awards this year were wheels made out of wood, and Scotch from a nearby brewery.
Dave batted for the cycle, taking home quite a bit of loot.
After we got cleaned up, and had some dinner, we went back to the bar at the hotel for the after party. First we got to preview the video.
Monday, June 3
Time to go home. Most of the people packed up and headed out Monday morning. Since I was going to the French race I decided I was going to spend some extra time in Scotland.
The first thing I was going to do was go back to the Ski Resort. I wanted to see where everyone was headed. Did I ever mention how many cars were waiting for the road to open? Tour busses, cars, motorcycles, a ton of people. Hod and I went up the mountain to check out the Cairngorm Mountain Railway.
Chris Beard and family and friends put on another incredible race. There were fewer people than last year, which impacted the race a bit, but there was some nice touches, like the racing program. While two of the standup guys were taken to the hospital with head injuries, there were no major injuries (they were both sent home, but with recommendations not to ride any more that weekend.) And miraculously the weather held out again!