Once again we return to the sleepy Austrian town of Jungholz for Almabtrieb. While the town has three banks in it, it doesn't have a grocery store! Fortunately there are a few restaurants, and a swimming pool.
The course starts out next to the fire station down a gentle slope around two long sweepers. Towards the middle, the course drops away heading first to a small kink in the road. You can make the kink without braking, but it does take most of the road. The course continues past a restaurant heading for the 90 degree left. With almost no time to set up is a hard right, which is almost immediately followed by a left hairpin. Exiting the hairpin gives you time to set up for the right hand caraousel. The carosuel empties on to a bridge. Hanging a hard left takes you across the bridge and into Germany were the finish line is.
Tuesday, July 15th
We just left Peryagudes and barely had enough time to get here. We did spend Bastille Day in Paris, and spent most of the day traveling. The train on the last leg was out, so we had to take the bus. The good thing about the bus is it dropped us off in front of the hotel in Jungholz! We got in late in the afternoon, but it was early enough to register.
As I walked down the hill towards registration, I noticed how nice the weather was. I was thinking how this might be the first year I get to ride on the first day. The last few years it has always rained on the first day. I got down into camp, and found out that Andres had car troubles. I had put my luge in Andres' van, so I wouldn't have to lug it half way across Europe myself. Now it looks like we'll have nice weather, but I won't be able to ride! Roberto stepped up and loaned me a buttboard! After getting settled in and eating dinner, we hung out at the tent, sitting by the fire.
Wednesday, July 16
There was breakfast at the pool for campers.
I had breakfast in the hotel, so I don't know what they had, but I heard it was good.
Marcus started tech early,
but since my boards hadn't arrived yet I didn't get in line.
With incredible weather, we got a ton of riding in. The bus would drive down the course,
then drive around the back way to the top. We took a nice long break for lunch.
There was a nice snack bar set up at the pool, serving a lot of German fare. After eating
a few guys took a dip in the pool.
We had a bunch more runs in the afternoon.
I am pretty sure everyone was having a blast, even the ritualistic Ewok dance was performed.
While dinner was served at the Pool area, I ate at Gsathof Lochbihler, the restaurant at the first hard corner. Stephane Risch had taken over the organization of Almabtrieb.
He led off the riders meeting.
He also gave away another one of his helmets.
After the meeting Eimer opened up his shop.
Eimer started selling some IGSA logoed items to help defray his costs of attending and running the races. He had shirts, patches, stickers and popular post cards.
Thursday, July 17
The schedule for Almabtrieb was one day of practice, two days of practice/qualifying, and the last day is the race. I woke up to a very wet road. Without my luge (which also had my rain wheels) I decided to sit the day out.
I started off having a long leisurely breakfast. Someone stopped by and told us that the schedule for the day changed. It was decided that both luge qualifying runs would take place today. I argued that it wasn't fair to change the schedule on such short notice. Marcus made an executive decision and said the schedule wouldn't change. Except that it was already announced that no standup qualifying would take place. So it was decided to run only one luge qualifying run today, and run the rest of qualifying tomorrow. The weather was supposed to improve on Friday, but it might not. A few people decided to ride anyways, especially since luge would do one qualifying run.
I met Michael Brooke,
publisher of Concrete Wave, at lunch. He had come out to watch the race, and he seemed excited about what he saw. I finally subscribed to the magazine, something I've been meaning to do for ages. Go figured, I fly half way around the world to subscribe to a magazine!
After lunch I went out to watch a little of the practice.
There were maybe a half dozen lugers and a hand full of standup guys.
I don't quite understand the decision. It is unsafe to do qualifying, but it is ok to do free rides? It was cold and wet
so I hung out in the bar at the pool for a couple of hours.
It was warm and toasty in there.
Because there were only a few lugers who were going to qualify, they waited until late in the afternoon to run the qualifying session.
I know the dozen or so guys that did decide to ride got plenty of runs in. They rode until it was time for the cows to come home.
After dinner we had another riders meeting.
And then it was time to party.
Kurt DJed for us,
and he did a great job. I think the evening was one of the best parties we've had. We danced until fairly late,
especially considering the standup guys have two qualifying runs tomorrow.
Even an impromptu break dance session broke out.
I think everyone had a stellar time.
Friday, July 18
The ground was still wet when I got up.
Wet or not, with only one qualifying run left I would have to practice and qualify today. At least my board showed up. The weather wasn't that bad, just a little cool with the road wet from yesterday's rains. Fortunately it looked like the road was drying quickly.
We got a couple runs in, and unfortunately the first hard corner was taking the longest to dry. By the time we started qualifying the road was mostly dry.
We got buttboard and street luge done by lunch.
Standup qualifying took most of the afternoon, as they had to do two runs. After standup was finished they did some free rides.
Apparently anyone or anything was allowed to ride?
We got a couple of hours of free rides in.
Riding until almost 8 PM!
After dinner the German Championship trophies
were given out at the riders meetings.
These were given to the fastest German's based on qualifying, with one trophy going to the youngest.
The party didn't last as long as it did last night. Apparently many people are taking racing more seriously and are actually getting sleep the night before the race.
Saturday, July 19
The morning was incredible. A few light clouds in the sky, but otherwise a great day. Perfect for a race. We started off with buttboard. There was a mistake in the brackets, apparently #2 was marked down as #12, or something like that. Eimer gave us a second free ride while it was being sorted out.
The buttboard race finally got under way. I got knocked out because Robert arrived late last night and didn't qualify. He is a good rider, but he got placed in my heat and of course knocked me out. Everyone got a chance to free ride after the buttboard heats.
We had fallen a little behind schedule so the standup race started after the buttboard race.
A couple of us stopped by the pool for a quick lunch break.
I wandered down the course to watch a few rounds of standup.
Most of the spectators hung out in the grassy area between turns 2 and 3, but the beer garden was up by turn 1.
I'm not sure why, but there seemed to fewer spectators than in previous years.
Free riding was allowed between heats.
It is always a tough decision, do I free ride, or do I watch some of the racing? I watched a couple of rounds before I had to head back up to the top for the street luge race. I got back to the top for the semis and the girls race.
It is customary to acknowledge your fellow racers on the line. Generally you fist bump or shake hands, and wish them a safe ride. The girls have different ideas.
While waiting for the finals to finish up, I bought a lovely piece of cake from the bake sale.
It is always a tough decision, there are so many good looking cakes. The money goes to the local school. Yvonne Lebarthe has been filming the races for years. He sometimes follows the semi and finals down
on his luge to film it.
Our warmup run followed the finals down, so I got a chance to see Scoot's celebrate his first WC win of 2008.
Standup was finished, so they would free ride behind the luge heats.
Several people kind of goofed off in the free rides, including Mischo.
I loaned him my board for a run. He loved it, but there is a different view from down there.
I think I qualified 17th, about a half second behind 16th. That was how I finished up, it looks like #16 crossed the line about a half second before I crossed it. I just couldn't get through the turns fast enough.
The awards ceremony was held later that evening.
The multilingual Sami hosted the ceremonies.
Torunissac, Deltour, Lebarthe
Lacey, Tournissac, Nlottier
Davies, Luginbuehl, Vogler
Smith, Reimer, Ulrich
After the awards were given out the Sector 9 team got up on stage. Today is Sami's birthday, and they brought some presents.
This got the party started.
We did a bunch of dancing, and a bunch of hanging out.
Kurt was given a pany keg of beer that he shared with everyone.
The party was starting to die and I left about 4AM.