Paskapoo Downhill Rodeo
Calgary sits on the eastern edge of the Canadian Rockies. Home of the 88 Winter Olympics as well as the Calgary Stampede, the worlds largest rodeo. It is the largest city in the providence of Alberta with over a million inhabitants. Just outside of town is the Canada Olympic Park. The park has ski jumps, and ice luge course and a downhill mountain course.
The access road to the ice luge course was our course. The road starts off with a hard, tight hairpin, but the speeds our real low. A short straight leads to a left hand hairpin, another short straight to a right hand hairpin. Mid way to the next hairpin is a speed bump. The next hairpin is a left hand turn, to a slightly longer straight with another right hand hairpin. The longest straight leads into the final left hand hairpin, where the DJ was staged. The final turn was a hard right hander, and just before the finish was one more speed bump.
Friday, August 10
Paskapoo will be the first race I've driven too! It is a long drive, about 12 hours or so. I decided to take my time and was planning on leaving Thursday afternoon. My original partner couldn't make it due to work. So I decided to head off alone. I packed my car, and was reaching to open the door to my car when Lee Dansie called me, looking for a ride.
We took off a few hours later and spent the night and morning driving through the Rockies. Unfortunately the weather wasn't good, and rained most of the day.
Saturday, August 11
Because this is a single day event, we got up early to head out to the park.
We had our ridings meeting
We start off on our first practice run.Despite the hike to the bottom of the lift, we got back to the top before it was our turn, and before our luges arrived. The luges had to take a back route by car, and took the long way around. It is too bad that we couldn't put our luges on the chairlift like they put the bikes on the lift.
My next practice run I ended up hitting one of the speed bumps just ride to shatter the baseplate of my front truck.
Our last practice run we decided to try out the staggered start. The plan was to race 8 wide in a straight line to race for pole position. Then the second run would be a staggered start. The starting positions were about 1.5 meters apart. The course was pretty tight, and there wasn't a lot of room to pass. Most of the lugers already decided we didn't like the 8 wide idea, and after our practice run we decided the staggered start wasn't a good idea either. The staggered start made it almost impossible for anyone to pass. Because there were less than 16 of us, running four man wouldn't take much longer than 8 man.
It was decided to take chase trucks back up the course and run the luge as fast as possible. There were 15 lugers, and I ended up in the three man heat. We took our pole position run, then took our transfer run. I was in second when the guy behind me hits my back end and we both spin out. He gets back on his board first, but I manage to chase him down and overtake him for the transfer spot.
In the semi finals I got off to a bad start, and never got close to the three in front of me. As we drove to the top, we were all talking about the finals and consolation. We got to the top, and the organizers said it was time for the transfer run. Since five of the eight of us still had to do standup, and since we all just assumed that was the transfer run, we decided to forego the extra runs. We would take one more run to finish the race. Chaput was in the consolation but decided to opt out, to get read for standup. Brian Lee, Ross Baradoy and I were in the cosolation, and through the first few turns we were literally touching. About half way down Baradoy and I hooked up, Baradoy spun out and I lost a lot of speed on Lee. I managed to chase him down, I caught him and we crossed the speed bump neck in neck. I think I manage to pass him at the finish line.
Chaput came prepared. I heard he brought a cooler board to a recent race. This time he brought a board with wheels.
It was just after noon and out day was over! We get to watch the standup race for the rest of the day. I went to the exhibition hall set up at the finish line to get some lunch.
The last hairpin, just above the mini golf course,
As soon as the race was over most people cleared out.
After getting cleaned up we headed out to the Ranch, were the camp was for the after party. Unfortunately we were charged $10 just to get on the ranch. The restaurant was open and was serving food, but we had eaten before spending the hour drive out. Quite a few people hung out around the bonfire, and a few danced to the live band.
The party didn't last too much longer after the awards were given out. Dansie had to work Monday morning, so I wanted to get an early start on the road tomorrow. A few of the riders would hit the slide competition on the morning.
Despite the fact that the race was shortened from two days to one day, and there were a lot fewer spectators than expected it was still a fun event. The hairpin after hairpin course was a lot of fun. But with the small luger turnout even with a $5000 CDN first place price, I don't expect to see luge back next year.
Several riders separated their shoulders.