Alpspeed

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Alpspeed

Thun, Switzerland

Thun is a small town on the edge of Thunersee. The town is dominated by an 800 year old castle. The course actually starts just below the village of Homburg, a few kilometers from Thun. Homburg has a small store, and dairy farm that makes cheese.

The course started off fairly slow, passes the camp and makes a left turn. The speed picks up and heads to a hard right turn through some trees. A long sweeping left leads the course into a straight. Another hard right turn, a short straight and another sweeping left. The last left brings the course to a long straight before ending in front of an auto mechanic's garage.

Wednesday, July 18

I followed the signs

As usual we got off to a late start. But despite the rain from last night, it was nice and sunny and dry. The campsite was down near the first turn,

They provided a hose on the side of the carport to provide us with much needed drinking water.

We got a couple of runs in before  we broke for lunch.

We broke for the day at 5:00 PM, and then it started raining.

I used the free showers, which were about a 10 minute walk through the village. I am guessing they were in the basement of a school, but it felt like walking into a bomb shelter. You had to be careful, because the high pressure showers could strip your skin off!

It wasn't long before dinner was served.

Once the sun went down, the first riders meeting.

Once the meeting was over, the bar was opened. People hung out drinking beer and slowly melted away to their sleeping bags.

Thursday, July 19

The day started off with free breakfast.

and close the doors. It was always very refreshing to get to the top and open the doors.

One cool thing about having multiple days of practice is you have the ability to play a bit. Yvon Lbarthe (www.yvonvite.ch) has produced two awesome DVD's with video he has shot from past races and get togethers. He does some good filming.

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I did a little filming myself with a a new camera mount. Unfortunately the mount is essentially attached to the rear truck, so every little vibration is magnified through the mount.

After lunch we got in several more runs.

The clouds helped a bit, cooling it off, but it meant the rains were coming. About 4 O'clock, an hour earlier than yesterday, it started to rain.

After the day was cut short due to the rain, we head into camp to hang out for dinner. Two masseuses were brought in to do free massages.

But vegetarian dinner (and lunch) was provided on special request.

Since we had an early dinner, we still had plenty of time in the evening before our riders meeting. We do a pretty good job of entertaining ourselves.

Since tomorrow would be qualification, the serious riders meeting got underway.

Andreas decided to go to the hospital.  He had hurt is foot earlier in the day, and just got crunches from the paramedics, but now he could barely walk. Since pretty much everyone that knew him was drunk, I ended up taking him to the hospital. After a couple hours, they decided he was ok. No broken bones, just a sprain.

Friday, July 20

Because it has rained every afternoon, it was decided to run the standup qualification in the morning.

We broke for lunch after standup finished qualifying.

After lunch we took a warm up run.

After the women's standup and the inline board,

The van was down in the area where we waited, so it was easy to see the clock, if you were just standing there. Unfortunately you couldn't see the clock from the road! And the clock didn't always work.

When we got back to the top, it started to rain.

The rain started about an hour earlier than it did yesterday, this isn't boding well for tomorrow. Because we qualified in the rain, we actually finished later than yesterday.

Tonight would be the first set of live bands to play.

Saturday, July 21

Today is race day, and the weather is looking good.

The races were held. First they got skullboards

With a 64 man bracket I was able to watch the first few rounds.
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I was getting happy because as I was watching the standup races, there was blue sky to be seen.

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Album: 

Luge was run next.

It was amazing, the forecast called for intense thunderstorms, and yet it looked like we could get the entire race finished on a dry road! In my quarter final run, I didn't get the greatest start, but I blew by Läng and Ben just before the first turn. I couldn't catch Tournisac, but I finished second. I stopped and looked around, there was no one behind me. I waited, and waited, still no one came. While it is nice to transfer, the worst thing is to get to the bottom of the hill, and not see anyone behind you.

Turns out Läng and Ben slid out in the very first turn, a turn I thought was the easiest on the course. Läng held on, and narrowly missed the wood, but Ben hit the wood hard.

We all jumped on the trucks, and rushed to the top. We wanted to try and get the buttboard race in the books before the rain arrived. We got to the top, and the rains arrived.

About 10 minutes or so after the rain started, the buttboard race was cancelled. The rivers of water washing across the board were also washing large rocks and branches across the road! I think I was the first to congratulate Riley on his win, as he was the #1 buttboard qualifier. A few of us buttboarders cleaned up the garage before heading to the camp.

That night we had another live band,

Turns out Ben broke his lower back in the accident, despite wearing a back protector.

Women's Buttboard:

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Nobre, Schmit

Women's Inline Board:

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Gravity Bike:

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Johnson

Women's Standup:

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Nobre, Vogler, Hodel

Inline Board:

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Hutler, Bandholz, Pfister

Luge:

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Forschner, Tournissac, Marasco

Women's Luge:

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Schmit, Nobre, ?

Buttboard:

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Riley, Labarthe, Tournissac

Standup:

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Erban, Lundberg, Edstrand

A large pillow

One smart thing someone did, was cover the floor with several busted up hay bales. It kept the mud to a minimum, as the rest of the camp was pretty much a swamp. It wasn't easy to get to the outhouses, without stepping into a large muddy puddle of water.

Sunday, July 22

Amazingly the party died down fairly early. I had a lot to do today, and I wanted to try and get to Munich before dinner, so I got up to the camp early, in time to see people packing up.

Despite how hard some of the people worked to put the race on, Alpspeed wasn't the best race. The course was slow, and not challenging. The weather this year was miserable, which almost caused the standup race to be canceled and the buttboard race was canceled. While there were several wrecks, the only serious injury was the broken back, after surgery he is walking again.