Almabtrieb 2004

Almabtrieb 2004


Auerberg, Germany

Auerberg is a church and a restaurant that sits on top of a small hill just outside of Bernbern, Germany. This small town sits on the edge of the foothills of the Alps, in Bavarian Germany. Amazingly beautiful, with a gorgeous view of the Alps in one directory, and green pastures in the other.

The race course was about 1.5 km long. It starts with a fairly steep drop leading to a switchback,

but with a wide enough radius and not quite enough speed to require braking. This leads into another switchback that may need breaking. A few chicanes and a fast straight later leads into an open field, where most of the spectators hung out, with a hard left turn, followed by a hard right turn. From here an incredibly steep and straight drop to the finish line.

The course in Google Maps.

Monday, July 5

The four day race didn't officially start until Wed, so I originally had planned on site seeing Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. But they've got something planned for Tuesday, and it took most of the day to pack up and drive from Switzerland (about a 4 or 5 hour drive, with a lunch break.) We decided to get here early and look for a hotel room or something. There was a campsite

not far from the start line, we headed into town and found an "attic" of a farmhouse that sleeps 9. Three bedrooms, a large room to work on our equipment, a washing machine, all for about 50 euros a piece, for the week.

We drove into Munich, about an hour and a half away to see some sites, and have lunch.

At first it was Hod and the Americans, but while we were wandering around we ran into the Canadians. So we all headed to the Hofbrau Haus for dinner.

This is a famous beer house, that servers large pints of beer and sausages.

After dinner he went to the ISPO after party

which was thrown by Yogi's

sponsors Funk. Lots of Red Bull and Vodka

were drunk, and plenty of dancing. This was apparently THE party to go to in Munich that Monday night, and most of the racers were there.

Tuesday, July 6

A special field trip was planned. Hofbrau Munich was a sponsor of the race, and they invited us to Neuschwanstein for lunch.

Neuschwanstein is the castle that Walt Disney based the Disneyland Castle on, and is about 30 minutes from the race course. The event

started with beer and sausages

and lots of tossed coasters

. We had a great time laughing and enjoying the free beer.

After lunch was over, most of the racers took a tour of the castle. I toured the castle before Hot Heels a few years ago (Hot Heels is about 2 hours or so away) So I hiked back for a bit before hanging out at the restaurant.

Freeman showed off his skateboarding skills.

It was a nice way to keep us all preoccupied before the race started.

We return to the race course to find people cleaning it.

There had been a lot of rain recently, and the parking lot was fairly muddy, so a lot of mud had been tracked onto the course.

Not for from the start line, and fairly close to the campsite, an enormous circus tent and been erected,

along with a mess tent. The circus tent was a bar,

and entertainment area.

and the mess tent

provided two meals a day as part of the entry fee.

We had a riders meeting Wednesday night to kick the race off.

We found out that we were going to get transponders,

and all of our practice runs would be timed. There would be no qualifying, our best practice run would be used, and all practice runs would be solo. We got all registered up. We received a Tshirt, a cool water bottle, some stickers that would show up everywhere. One ended up on my rental car, turns out that was the best thing to happen to it, as I was always able to spot MY car after that. Perhaps the most interesting thing we received was a large cloth sticker with our number on it that we stuck to our leathers.

Wednesday, July 7

We would run practice the first day. They started by cleaning the track fairly well.

Practice started with standup.

Everyone ran transponders all day, to time every run.

I sat out the afternoon session cause it rained a bit, but some people came prepared.

At one point, a UPS truck arrives at the top of the course. It seemed sort of strange, there is a restaurant and hotel at the start line, but the truck didn't stop there. It stopped near the top and handed a package to Bradburn.

He won the race the year before, and won a leather suit. He hadn't received it, and had been fitted the week before, and the suit was just arriving! As usual there was a LOT of waiting. We had to wait for the timing system several times.

Some people made use of the local surroundings.

Red Bull showed up for practice day, but wouldn't be around for race day.

Oh well, more Red Bull for us racers then. I know we have picked up at least one racer and many fans from the Red Bull company.

I must say I am pretty sure "fuckuall" is not part of their motto.

After dinner everyone gathered around to see the posted times.

My times weren't good, I was like in the bottom five. But I had been taking it easy, and was fairly happy with my results. I set a goal for myself, break 1 min 40 seconds (about 20 seconds slower than first place for buttboard) Tomorrow will be a long day.

Thrusday, July 8

Today started as a nice sunny day. I climbed up to the church at the top of the hill. There is an observation platform on top of the church, and I wanted to take some pics. The inside of the church was fairly impressive.

And the views from the top were amazing too. The land around here was amazingly beautiful.

Most of the people were staying in the campground.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was cold, a little rainy. Today was gonna be hot.

And as always there was plenty of time for sleeping,

mending leathers,

giving interviews,

and just chilling.

We were supposed to run one at a time, so we lined up

Red Bull provided the athletes a refreshing beverage at the bottom of the course.

Things were kept moving along fairly smoothly with two buses as are transportation.

It was still a tight squeeze, with all of our equipment.

There were a lot of racers at the event, so tech as done as a when you get a chance over the first two days.

Marcus did a fairly thorough job of teching the equipment. At the bottom of the course a timing system was set up.

It showed the riders speed through the speed trap located near the finish line, and the total time. The system was about 100 yards from the finish. Unfortunately by the time you stopped and got up and turned around, the next rider was probably just crossing the finish line.

Friday, July 9

Because we had three days of practice, and because the race was being filmed, a lot of filming was going on.

Lots of different angles were used.

One of the best shots was mounted on a boom  on Daddow's back.

Kessler also provided an interesting perspective.

There were only a handful of Americans at the event, and all of us except for Bob

stayed at the Egg Farm.


and Dean

probably didn't give us Americans the best image, at least we know how to use our tongues.

As I got more time on the hill I got a little more comfortable. There was still a few corners I couldn't get through without braking. After a few hard wrecks, I've been fairly conservative. Racing more for fun that for racing. I manage to hit my goal of sub 1 minute 40 seconds and was very happy.

My 98 KPH was also my fastest (or close to it) run. I tried to break 100, and I think I could have, but I couldn't stop myself from putting a foot down in the last right hand turn.

One of the coolest things about this course was a small hotel and restaurant at the start line. We decided to have a German meal there today.

The weather in the Alps is very iffy. It is very difficult to forecast, one minute it is raining, the next it is nice and sunny. The forecast was calling for rain, on Saturday, so it was decided to run the standup race today, while it was nice out.

After the race start I went to the hospital, about a half hour away to visit some of the injured riders.

Whetherall, in the back, had been injured in a collision, AFTER the finish line. Turns out he was sore but ok, although doctors feared a spinal injury. Waldo, wasn't as lucky, he broke a femur in a South African Video run. On our way back from the hospital

he spotted a helicopter

near the finish. Douglas, one of the Brazilians

was being airlifted out (I think final prognosis was a badly bruised hip, maybe it was dislocated?) Apparently he had wrecked about halfway down the course, hurt himself, but manage to finish the race, and won!

There was a party at the big tent. First the 2003 World Cup Trophies

were handed out.

Gravity Bike:

Kessler Street luge:

Knaggs Standup:


I know Kessler was VERY happy to win, but Knaggs was in Seventh Heaven.

After the trophies were handed out a live band played.

Unfortunately I didn't stay as long as I wanted, as my roommates all wanted to go back to the house to work on their equipment (I guess they were all racing tomorrow)

Saturday, July 10

We woke up to a wet course.

This meant buttboard would run first. We got ready in the main tent for the first practice run.

I sat out the practice run, but decided to "race." That is I decided to take my run, only so I would not get a DNS.  I don't think I even paddled off the line, as I watched the two French racers I was racing with shoot off the finish line as if it was a dry course. I sat up through the first couple of turns. I layed down after the hairpins only to find my board a tad sketchy. I had fairly new wheels on the buttboard. New wheels do not do well on a wet course. I sat up through the Carousel, waving to the small crowd. As I came to the straight for the finish I lay down, and raised my fists as I crossed the finish line to loud cheers. I was happy, it was a successful, non bone breaking race. I got up and turned around to see the next heat not far behind me. I wondered if the people thought I was WAY out in the lead?

I had wanted to get more buttboard pictures, I got the Americans

and the South Africans.

We had a long break for lunch, because there was a wedding at the church.

The wedding ended just before our racing was to resume. The street lugers gave them a send off.

I love group photos, but they are hard to take. You have to organize everyone, and then if you are in the photo you need to find someone to take the picture, it is a little easier when you don't have to be in the photo.

And of course the sun came out and dried the course off.

I spent most of the day at the Window Maker, the large carousel, where most of the spectators watched from.

It was one of the hardest turns on the course, there was a large field for the spectators, and you could see the finish line.

The early morning rain kept most of the spectators away, as they were expected to fill the pasture, but they still lined the course.

I got a few shots, but its hard to take good action photos with a small digital camera.


As in Switzerland there was someone to entertain the crowd between rounds.

After the races were over, a quick podium was set up for the video.

The real podiums and prizes would be given later. Classic:

Street luge:

Women's Standup:

Men's Standup:

Later that evening we had the after party and prize giving. But first was the pole. I saw one of the worst looking wrecks I have ever seen. The top speed of the course happens at the finish line, which then takes a short jog to the left. There is no braking needed to get through this turn, but it is a turn at very high speeds, and would be a tight squeeze with multiple people. I watched this happen from the meadow at the Carousel. I saw two lugers touch just as they crossed the finish line. At the time I didn't know exactly what happen, but I remember seeing the board fly end over end through the air. I thought I had seen the first fatal accident in street luge. At the part I found out the luger had collided with a sign post. Amazingly the sign post is the worse for the wear!

Gravity Bike:

Burel, Kessler

Dirt Surfers:


Martin, Eliot, Lacey

Street luge:

Lacey, Martin, Bieber

Women's Standup:

Men's Standup:

Siegrest, Douglas, Haller

Almabtrieb has something to do with an annual tradition of the cows changing pastures or something. So the trophies were cow bells.

Then the party commenced.

Apparently this became the party to go to, as there were more locals than racers at the party. The racers still had a good time.

Although the table of Jagermeister

didn't quite equal that from Hot Heels.  I am not exactly sure what happened, as I ended up leaving the party about 4 am. I was supposed to be driving to Croatia (about 800 miles) the next day. The plan was to leave around 8 am. I returned to the tent at 8am the next morning, to music STILL blaring, and a few people still partying.

The party was over.

Almabtrieb was a fun event. The road was technical and fast. There were several major injuries, and least 4 people visited the hospital, although I think only one person had a broken bone. Most of the other injuries were not severe. The broken bone happened during a practice run, and perhaps the most severe injury, also happened during practice AFTER the finish line.

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