Highland Wheels Extreme

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The Highland Wheels Extreme

Aviemore, Scotland

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.

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While the town is small it has plenty of good restauraunts!

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.

The bottom part of the course is a series of chicanes before hitting the finish.

Thursday, May 30

I got on the plan last night in Seattle, spent the morning in London, and got to Inverness around 4 pm.

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Jo and Do were waiting for me. We hung out at the airport for a bit to pick up Dave Rogers. It was much easier to fit the four of us into the car, than the four of us and Kurtis, like last year!

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.

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We've got a much smaller group than last year.

Turns out that Pete Eliot lost his luge, so he decided to take a hacksaw to one of the Britsh Rogers Bros knockoffs.

I headed up to my hotel room to put my board together. I was pretty tired, and was falling asleep as I put it together.

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,

For some reason the bus driver drove to the ski resort to turn the bus around.

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.

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After sweeping most of the corner, one of the spectators offered to give me a ride to the bottom!

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.

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Life is so much easier when you can get your lunch right on the course.

In the afternoon we did the street luge qualifying.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Several guys showed up for the gravity bike race.

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Ian had a fairing, and qualified almost minute faster than the the next bike, and just seconds slower than Dave's streetluge time. He decided to remove the fairing to have a more interesting race. He still won!

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.

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Round, Bates, Farrow

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Snowdon, Warburton, Rogers

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Lott, Rogers, Gilder

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Rogers, Auld, Lott

Dave batted for the cycle, taking home quite a bit of loot.

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Rumor has it, a lot of people got drunk on some cheap (read free) Scotch at the after party.

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.

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And then we partied.

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.

Now I'm off to France.

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!