Demons of Downhill
Bainbridge is a one traffic light, one Dairy Queen town, on route 50 about an hour east of Cincinnati. Every year, towards the end of October a small street fair is held, called the Festival of Leaves. The festival has a lot of local crafts, a ton of food vendors, and some kiddie rides. Quite a lot of people check out the festival through out the weekend. Unfortunately none of them knew about the race. The festival is held to celebrate the turning of the leaves. I don't know if it was the warmer weather, but the leaves hadn't really started to change yet.
The course is just up the road from the only traffic light in town. The course starts with a big long left handed sweeper. The sweeper ends with a sharp right handed turn. This is the hardest corner on the course, and braking is absolutely required. From here to the chicane, is a long high speed straight section. Well not exactly straight, there are shallow curves and gentle rises and dips, that makes it a lot of fun to shoot down. Speeds approach 70 MPH as you enter the chicane. A few people made it through the chicane without braking, but most people at least tapped their brakes. Exiting the chicane leads to another chicane, but speeds have dropped enough to make it through without braking. From the last chicane to the finished is a long, draft worthy, flat section. There is one small rise that can steal a lot of speed.
Friday, October 14
We were supposed to get started around 9:30, but things were running a bit late, as we were waiting for Road Closed signs. Meanwhile I got registered
We got two solid hours of practice in before breaking for lunch. Because there weren't very many riders in yet, we got lots of practice runs. At lunch I skated down to the festival.
During the afternoon session, we got ride after ride in. Dean claims we got 22 runs in, most of them in the afternoon. There were only about 20 riders or so, the runs were over fairly quickly. We occasionally had to wait for the course to be rebuilt after some one wrecked into the hay bales.
After a long day of practice, and a short soak in the hotel hot tub, a bunch of us walked over to AppleBee's for dinner. Turns out it was also Rian James' brithday.
Saturday, October 15
I am not sure what time we were scheduled to start, I rarely pay attention to schedules anymore. I figured I would try to get to the course the same time as the day before. I managed to show up around 9:45, minutes before the riders meetings.http://www.whoisadamcoloton.com.
We spent the morning session practicing. But a few more people had shown up.
We had a short break for lunch, to try and get back on schedule. I wandered across the street and had a sloppy joe from the Cheerleaders. Bob got out his Jet Luge again.
I swapped out my wheels as the inliners and skateboarders got their first qualifying run in. The buttboarders went up one the second truck. The skateboarders started their second qualifying run.
I got to the bottom, and ran into the Red Bull girls,
The final discipline to qualify was Street Luge. We only had 19 lugers to qualify, and I was #16. It took a while before I had my chance. By the time it was my turn, we had 7 cars waiting for the road to reopen. Shortly before I left, one lady pulled around all of the stopped cars, and was glaring at the guys standing around. I got to the bottom, jumped on the truck. Someone said there is a car on the course, I looked up the hill and saw the lady flying down the course! Turns out she almost ran over Paul Busse, as he waited at the line, and follwed another luger down the course. The Sherrif stopped her half way down the course. The funny thing, she was asking him to get the police, and he informed her he was the Sherriff. He decided to let her go with a warning.
We finally finished qualifying and headed back to the hotel for the after party. Most of us trekked over to AppleBee's for dinner before the party. The party was held in the conference room of the hotel. We had two bands playing. The first band was a punk band.The hotel kicked us out of the room just after midnight, despite having the room reserved till 1. A lot of the party moved to Busse and Fryer's room.
Sunday, October 16
I don't know if holding the after party the day before the race is a good thing. On the other hand it is about the only way that everyone involved in the race will have a chance to attend the party. But it means either a late morning, or little sleep on race day. I thought we were only going to get one practice run in the morning, so I wanted to get to the course early, so I didn't miss it. While the sky was fairly clear, it was still very chilly. The sun started to rise over the mountain as our riders meeting started,
We practiced until lunch.
After lunch Inliners
Racing was over, time to pack up and go home.
For a change, the awards
Quite a few people headed home after the awards ceremony. A few of us had flights out tomorrow, so we had one last dinner at AppleBee's. While we had fabulous weather, it was the smallest spectator turn out ever. The speeds were up, Rian clocked a 69.5 on his GPS. This road is a high speed road, and can be deceiving to beginners, fortunately there were no major injuries at the race. It was too bad we couldn't get any spectators from the festival.