Swiss Championship

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Swiss Championship

Altbüron, Switzerland

Nestled in the rolling hills of Switzerland, about halfway between Zurich and Lucerne is the small town of Altbüron. The town has one hotel, and a handful of restaurants, and is only a couple of kilometers wide, like most of the towns in the region. It is also surrounded by rolling hills. There are a plethora of roads to ride out here, running through farms and grassy hillsides.

The road we ran was just over a mile long, and the best way to explain it, is as a smaller version of Hot Heels, minus Hells Gate. There are three hairpins at the top followed by a long fast run out. Immediately after the start was a right hand turn. A short straight later leads to the first hairpin.

While music played for most of the day, it allowed the spectators to stay informed.

Friday, July 5

I spent the day in Zurich, doing some site seeing. I left the city a bit too late, and a bit too close to rush hour. Between not being able to find the freeway, and rush hour traffic, it took be several hours to make my way to Altbüron. Fortunately the road I chose to take was the road the course was on! I got to to the camp in time to see hay bales being prepped for rain.

about 1/3 of the way up from the finish, I needed to stay in a hotel. Its hard enough lugging luging equipment half way around the world, without also having to worry about camping gear. Several towns and several Gasthofs later (it wasn't until later that I learned what a Gasthof was!) I found a hotel, about 5 kilometers away, and decided to have dinner. As I was unloading my car it started to rain, it stopped raining by the time I went for dinner. I made my way back to the course around 9 pm, with hopes of getting some night riding in. Apparently the rain didn't make it to the course. The riding was supposed to start at 9, but there weren't enough course workers. It took my longer than expected to put my board together, and people started riding sometime after I started working on my board. Unfortunately it grew dark by the time I finished my board. I went for a ride anyways. It was too dark to see, and I ended up sitting up for most of the run. Its interesting that most of us perceive asphalt as black, yet at night it is white enough to see, if you are high enough off the ground.

Saturday, July 6

I woke up to the sounds of cars driving on wet pavement. I hoped for the best, and hoped that the course was dry, as it was the day before.

Several people arrived in the middle of the night

We finally got some practice runs in. At the bottom of the course was a roundabout and a water fountain (if only all race courses had a water fountain at the bottom.) We waited for the shuttle here.

These twenty wheelers are designed to allow ice lugers practice in the summer. At a previous event they were clocked about 10 seconds slower than a street luge.

The beginning of our second run, the weather wasn't looking good.

Richard Hod and I decided to head to Lucerne for dinner. On the way we spotted a Lego factory.

Sunday, July 7

I woke this morning with light streaming into my room, and no squishy noises. With the sun shining,

We finally got underway. I don't remember how many practice runs I got, it wasn't enough, but it was more than I get some places. We gathered underneath a cross before starting the run.

Just before lunch time, Spiderman showed up.

Streetluge was the first to go.

I was doing decently, and though I had a chance to get into the finals, when I tapped to enter the first hairpin and my foot stuck to the ground, slowing my way more than I intended.

After the buttboard race, we headed down to the second hairpin

 

Today was a very hot day, especially compared to yesterday. Immediately after racing, I jumped back on the shuttle to the top. I was thirsty. We went down to the second hairpin and watch the race. I was really thirsty, and hot. We hopped on our boards and road to the fountain at the bottom, for a refreshing drink and dip.

Podium:

Inline: Montavon, Laffargue, Labarthe

Buttboard: Leander, Gilder, Bücherl

Streetluge: Wagner, Leander, Eliot

Standup:  Bradburn, Schaffner, Labarthe

Its time to clean up and head to Hot Heels. Some peoples jobs of cleaning up were hard than others.

I don't want to see their tent at the end of Hot Heels!

While we got rained out on Saturday, the weather on Sunday was more than perfect. The course was fun to run, surrounded by grass. There were no major injuries this weekend!