The World Championships returns as Almabtrieb in Jungholz
after a year off. Almabtrieb was not held in 2006 because the road was being paved. Jungholz is a small ski resort town in a section of Austria that is completely surronded by Germany. There is a small grocery store, a handful of restaurants, a ski lift and three banks in the small Bavarian town.
The course starts in front of the fire department. There is a long left handed sweeper, followed by a right hand sweeper. The road drops off, and speeds pick up at the end of the sweeper. A long straight shot, with a slight left handed kink builds up the speeds to a hard left. This left is barely makeable at speed without breaking. Speeds continue to pickup before hitting a hard left turn, immediately followed by a hard right. The hard right brings the riders around a large expanse of grass, with just enough time to set up for a left hairpin. The hairpin empties into a long right steep carousel. The Carousel ends at a bridge. The course takes a left turn over the bridge and finishes in Germany.
The course starts near the fork and knife near Felsenbad, and finishes up near the left edge of the map, just to the left of Habsbichl.
Wednesday, July 11
This year the camp site and tent were a short walk down hill from the fire station, next to the town pool.
The Brits managed to pitch their tents in the pool area! There wasn't a big field, most of the camp was a bit spread out.
When I came in last night, the sky was crystal clear. I was hopeful, but when I woke up the roads were fairly wet. I walked down to the camp to get signed in.
There was a nice registration booth, just outside of the mess tent.
I decided to sit out the morning practice. I didn't want to run in the wet. I walked down the course, to watch from the turns. It hadn't rained since practice started, so the road slowly began to dry.
It stayed the wettest in the apex of the turn.
Not everyone was riding a luge or skateboard, there was a snakeboard
Despite the fact the road was almost dry, there weren't many riders.
I tried to take one run before the lunch break, but had some equipment issues.
Lunch was in the mess tent.
The tent included a stage, a bar
and the infamous fooseball table.
The sun came out after lunch, and the course looked completely dry.
A few more people suited up.
We had a city bus to take us back up the hill. To keep the course closed, the bus took the back way around to the top. The bus drove down the course, so as soon as it reached the bottom the course was reopened to racers. Of course everyone would stand around at the bottom,
waiting for the last rider to fill the bus. Tom Worsley unveiled his massive aerodynamic luge, that Marc Dean nicknamed Shamu.
After a great afternoon session, it was time to clean up and head to dinner. I took the opportunity to take a picture of the banner out on the main road.
I ate dinner at the best restaurant in town, Gasthof Locbihler.
This restaurant is down the course, near the first hard left. After dinner I hung out at the tent.
Thursday, July 12
Once again the skies were cloudy, and it was lightly raining. Again I decided to sit out the morning session. I'll practice after lunch, wet or dry. The day started off with morning calestenics
Despite the fact the sun was shining to cast shadows, it wasn't enough to dry the road.
The sun breaks didn't last long either.
But the road did dry out, not completely but enough that I decided it was dry enough to get some practice in.
There was a TV crew out to do some filming. They ran a POV cam.
During lunch they did some interviews.
They also ran a car down the course, filming out the back.
Fortunately during lunch, the weather was warming up. It warmed up enough that the tent was stuffy, and most of us sat outside.
It also warmed enough to dry the road! Everyone was out in force after lunch.
We got in about a half dozen runs in the afternoon.
And the weather got better!
Rumor has it that the weather will keep improving, and it won't be wet for the weekend. I hope so.
After dinner, I again went down to the tent. Most everyone was hanging out in front of the tent, around a bonfire.
It was a good thing I went back to the tent as there was a riders meeting.
After the riders meeting, most people hung out around the bonfire.
Friday, July 13
The sun was shining, and the sky was blue, very blue! Marcus was running tech inspection.
I figured I would wait until later in the day to have my stuff inspected, as the standup guys were qualifying first. We did free rides after each qualifying run, giving us several more practice runs before lunch. As qualifying continued with standup and inline
Marcus continued to do tech.
The tech line was still long, most of the morning.
So I got a sausage at the grill the town set up.
I also had a chance to check out the cool decks a company was selling.
These decks will make a great race souvenir!
The weather for the day was amazing. It was fairly cold yesterday, and today everyone tried to stay out of the sun.
qualifying was after lunch.
The timing gate had a short arm, placing us fairly close to the edge. I like timing beams better though. Of course, free rides after qualifying runs continued, giving the standup riders a few more runs in the afternoon.
was the last to qualify.
The timing system had a clock at the bottom of the hill.
Unfortunately it was difficult to see when you were riding, and we couldn't see it when we were down waiting at the bus.
After qualifying a bunch of us hit the pool. Yesterday we were all trying to stay dry, today everyone is diving into the pool to cool off. After a dinner it was back to the tent. One of the riders provided the entertainment.
I actually spent most of the evening setting up the brackets, so I missed most of the entertainment.
Saturday, July 13
Today is race day, and the sky is blue! Racing start with dirt surfers
and gravity bikes.
Dirt surfers and inline were in the next group.
The girls ran their own buttboard race.
With the sun out, the day kept getting warmer. People took to the shade where ever possible.
It is hard to believe how different the past two days have been compared to the first two days.
The buttboard race was next.
I didn't make it out of the first round, I let the turns at the bottom get to me. I took the opportunity to grab a steak.
The town also held a bake sale,
with the proceeds going to the school. They had too many cakes to choose from.
After lunch I walked down the course to watch the standup race.
I spent some time at the ambulance corner.
The speeds were pickup up here. I wanted to take some pics from a low angle. The side of the road dropped off, and I could almost standup, with the camera at the very edge of the road. But my camera doesn't do a good job taking action photos. You have to prefocus. The riders were coming in near the center of the road.
So I focused on the center of the road, then waited for the next rider.
Just before Meatball got to me, I snapped the shot, then felt the wind as he missed me by inches. I didn't realize it, but I was standing in the apex of the kink! I decided to move down the road a little. Unfortunately it was still difficult, they were either going to fast or they were out of focus.
We went down to check out the turns. On the way we past the beer garden.
While most of the spectators were hanging out on the lawn in the turns.
Unfortunately the announcer on the PA system
was speaking German. I took a few pictures of the standup race before I had to head back up for the luge race.
It was time to head back up the hill to get ready for the luge race.
I had plenty of time to get dressed. Meanwhile some others had time to play a game.
The point is to climb underneath the bench, and back onto the top without tipping it over. Its rather difficult. Everyone else tried to stay cool in the garage
while they waited for the standup consolation
Martin Seigrist won and was surrounded by media.
It was finally time for the luge race. We ran 6 man.
Which made it difficult to pass, in the corners when you are in last place.
The road was really too narrow to run 6 man, making pushing off interesting.
With the finals underway
the World Championships were over. And now it was pool time.
Pretty much the entire race descended on the pool. You needed to get rid of anything you wanted dry, because it didn't take long to be tossed into the pool.
Since it was a nice hot day, some people jumped in voluntarily.
Gautheir, the winner of luge, got tossed in.
He may have lost something. Anyone who looked like they might be dry were game.
While everyone was jumping in the pool and cooling off, some of the local set up a drum session.
We all decided that having a jump in the pool after an amazing day of racing was an incredible way to end a race. It was a fairly non destructive way to burn off some energy.
As the sun went down, and the day began to cool, people started to get ready for dinner.
Will made the mistake of changing too soon.
I don't think he had much of a choice, as long as the Brits were around, he was going to get thrown in.
Once the sun set, I went to dinner. I knew that the awards ceremony would start late, so I had a nice relaxing dinner. Unfortunately it was too relaxing, as I missed all of the awards! They were giving out some random awards as I walked in.
The trophies were pretty nice.
The World Cup trophies were plaques, and the Almabtrieb trophies were a mountain
with the course on it. Its hard to see, but there is a cross on top of the mountain just outside the village.
Since the price giving was over, the part started in earnest. There was a live band.
Of course there was some moshing. A few people hung around the bonfire.
At one point someone even played with fire.
After the live band played, Eimer DJed, and there was plenty of dancing. I think I called it quits fairly early, sometime around 4am. Probably the earliest a World Championship party ended.
Despite starting the week off with cold and rainy weather, we ended the week with some really wonderful weather. The racing was good, and I think there was only one serious injury.