Kozakov, Czech Republic
About an hour or so north of Prague, deep in the heart of Czech lies the Kozakov watchtower on top of a 744m high hill.
The course starts at the top of the hill and heads down through the woods. The top of the course has a couple of mild kinks in it,
Tuesday, August 11
I travelled most of the day on the train across the Czech landscape. I got off in Semily, a small town in the middle of the Czech country side. The organizer had suggested to try and take a bus to Kozakov, but the last one ran at 2pm. I tried to give him a call, but he didn't answer. He had already suggested I try to get a taxi. I tried to ask the ticket lady at the train station, but she just shrugged her shoulders. I wasn't sure what else to do, so I grabbed my bags and started walking towards the town center. I got to a crossroads, a sign pointed to the bus station in one direction, the town center in another. I was standing there trying to decided what to do (the bus station wasn't far, but my bags are heavy) when I spotted the bags of the Canadians! So off to the bus station. Just after I said hi, Jan, the organizer called and said he'd be down in about an hour. Fortunately there was a restaraunt next to the bus station. We dropped our bags outside. It was a small pizzeria with a cheeze pizza costing about $2! I wasn't exactly hungry, but I didn't know what the food situation would be later, so I had a pizza. While we were waiting for orders to arrive, a couple Swedish standup riders showed up, and they informed us it was starting to rain!
I was put in the first hotel down the hill, in the opposite direction from the course. It was a small B&B about a mile from the top. It was a small three bedroom place, and I think there was eight of us staying there. After getting checked in, I walked back up the hill to hang out with everyone else in the tent.
Wednesday, August 12
The first day of the event wasn't starting off well.
After lunch the fog had lifted, so practice was getting underway. Our first couple of runs were a little wet, but as the day progressed it quickly dried out. The sun eventually came out, and it started to warm up.
After a small dinner at the restaurant we had our first riders meeting.
Thursday, August 13
The morning started much like yesterdat, wet and foggy.
After lunch it was sunny
After an afternoon practice a few of us
Friday, August 14
I got up early hoping to catch the shuttle up to the top. We didn't have any fog, and the road was dry. But there were some low lying couds.
We had to do qualifications today. A timing company was hired to do rune the timing.
We broke for lunch. I don't know exactly what happened but the standup qualifying
We went into Semily for dinner. Another pizza place. They've got some really good pizza in Czech. We discovered, on the way back, it isn't always best to trust the GPS. We ended up on some sort of one lane dirt cow track. The truck made it, but barely!
The riders meeting started with a discussion of the schedule.There was some concern for the 64th place guy, a Czech. If the race was drawn up properly in the first place, he would have been listed 65th. And he should race harder.
After Dasha's speech, the party started.
Saturday, August 15
As always, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is take a peek outside and see what the weather is like, especially when you've had the weather we've had the past few days. The sky was clear, and the road was dry. It looks like we'll race.I took off on my first heat, once again racing Labarthe. Since I only need to transfer I actively worked hard to stay behind Labarthe. There was no sense trying to risk a pass. As we came down the fast straight at the bottom, I even pulled out of his draft, to stay behind him. We both sat up and broke the final turn, and I dove in, and ran off the inside of the road! I managed to stay on my board, and pull it back on the road. But I shot across the road, and clipped the hay on the other side. Loosing almost all my speed. I was passed about 10 feet from the finish line! This was the second time this year that a nice clean run would have allowed me to advance!
The women lined up for their race.
One thing I like about racing luge and classic back to back is I am done for the day and can get out of my leathers. There was a break for lunch, where I had dumplings,
The standup race finally got under way.
With the race over we hit the restaurant for dinner.
Someone set up the projector again and we watched some of todays videos.
Jan, the organizer, and Eimer the race director presented the awards.
After the main awards were passed out, a couple special ones were given. One for fastest Czech.
With this exception of the issue with the lady standups this was a great event. I think everyone loved the event, so that will make it a problem for next year, as more people will want to go! The course was fast but still technical, the scenery was beautiful. Czech was a cool place. And I am glad to have raced in East Europe's first downhill race.