Argonay World Cup
EDI's European race was held in Argonay, France. The town is a "suburb" of Annecy, which is quite a large town on Lake Annecy. The town is about a half hour south of Geneva, Switzerland.
The start line of the course is near the finish line of last years course and heads down through the town. The hotel
we stayed at is about 3/4 of the way down the course! The course is about 3/4 of a mile long, and is super technical, with top speeds in the high 30's! The course starts with a left
which leads immediately to the first hairpin,
to the right.
Next up is probably the longest straight on the course,
of about 100 yards!
What follows is a series of three hairpins. The second hairpin is a left hander.
There is barely enough of a straight shot
to set up for the right hand hairpin.
There isn't enough room to really get set up for the last hairpin.
Which exits with a right hand 90.
The second straight of the course follows, and sets you up for the speed bump.
There is a granite curb that's got a fairly square edge. I think when they put in the road that we took, they chopped the curb down, but it left a small edge in the street. The city came out to put a layer of cement over the it. Instead of putting a small one inch layer of cement, they put it a full fledge speed bump.
So we headed down the straight, past the hotel, and made a left turn over the speed bump in front of the church.
This area was flat, before a final right turn
led to probably the steepest part of the course. A big sweeper, where the finish line was, and ending at a round a bout.
Friday, June 7
I actually got to France yesterday, but I figured I would spend the day in Geneva. I was going to head into France late in the afternoon, when I heard that DeKeyser needed a lift. Since I was going to be in Geneva on Friday I figured I would go pick him up at the airport. I got to the airport and the first person I see is Waldo! Fortunately for us, Waldo had lost his luggage, so we were able to get our luggage and the three of us into the car.
I had made reservations for a hotel in Annecy, so I figured we would head there first. My hotel was near A41 (the major freeway) and N260 (or something). Well, the maps mention N260, but none of the exit signs did! After driving around for about an hour, we figured we would head to the hill. We stopped at a gas station and bought a map to figure out were Argonay was. Once we knew the general direction of Argonay it was fairly easy to find, as every intersection seems to have signs pointing to a nearby city.
The course was easy to find, as it was the main road in Argonay. And lo and behold there was a hotel right on the course!
We decided to stay there. It wasn't a large hotel, but it had rooms available!
Saturday, June 8
We got up around 7 AM and head downstairs for some breakfast. I sit down in the bar, and they give us a basket of bread, and ask if I want coffee. I'm thinking, no I just want the rest of breakfast. Well turns out, that's it! Coffee and croissants.
We are supposed to have a riders meeting at 7:30, but that never materializes. We do find out that the two day event is going to become a one day event, because Sunday is an election day, and apparently everything is closed.
Our pit area was at the top of the course, the same area we used last year.
It was threatening rain, so the plan was to do all of the standup first followed by streetluge. I was planning on walking down the course to take some pictures, when I noticed other lugers were suiting up. I hung out, to discover that they were going to let the lugers get some practice in!
We had a large bus at the bottom, that took us to the top of the hill via a different road. The view was incredible.
We passed a couple of pastures.
One had this building in it, I have no idea what it was for.
The bus dropped us off, literally, at the top of the hill. We had to ride down last years course to get back to the start of this years course.
After a couple of practice runs, it was time to qualify Standup. I went down the hill and got some pics at one of the hairpins. Just before the middle set of hairpins there is a niche in the side of the road that normally has a religious icon. Well it still has one, just of a different sort.
I went back to the top and was told that standup racing was next. I spied some "buttboarders."
So I went back down to the first hairpin to watch the racing.
And what do you know, they let a group of streetlugers get a practice run in! Waldo still didn't have his equipment, so he borrowed DeKeyser's luge, and someones leathers and took a practice run.
Before the finals started, it began to sprinkle. It was decided to do the luge and buttboard qualifying, and see what happens with the weather. It stopped raining, and the course dried up fairly quickly. We went ahead and did two luge and two buttboard qualifying runs. There were a couple of booths
set up at the bottom,
along with a medical tent.
They were also selling sandwiches, t-shirts, and beverages. That was my lunch.
I'm not sure why they continued to do luge and buttboard qualifying, even though the course was dry and it wasn't raining. But it began to rain again before racing started.
We started the race in the rain. Because Ams and Pros were going to race in the same round, Waldo was left without a luge. He ended up riding my buttboard.
I managed to pull Biker and Rat in my three man heat. I was in last place as we approached the second hairpin, but both Biker and Rat were riding conservatively. I flew past them at top speed, slammed on my brakes, and JUST missed the turn. I'm thinking oh well, I took a gamble and lost. Turns out both Biker and Rat ALSO missed the turn. Biker and I paddle out, but I guess Rat's luge got stuck in the fencing that lined the track.
Gerhard was attending his first race since contracting deadly Lyme disease last year. He easily took first place in luge.
We still had the buttboard race. EDI's first buttboard race!
We had 11 people signed up, but I guess two people had already left because of the weather. I was in the last heat, so I was getting lined up way in the back, when I noticed everyone else was getting on the front line. We were going to do one run. Seven were on the front,
with me and someone in the second line.
I made it to the middle of the pack before we all layed down.
Unfortunately I was in the first set of casualities as someone bounced off the hay in the first hairpin, right into my path. As we get back on the board, I noticed two lugers fly by us. A bunch of lugers thought we were going for a fun run, so they took off with us! I'm pretty sure I passed a couple of other buttboarders who had wrecked in the lower hairpins.
Because of the rain, the finals for pro standup, and the entire am standup race was not run. Finishes were decided by qualification.
It was time for the awards ceremony, but first we had to wait for someone to return from the hospital. The ceremony was held in the basement of the hotel, and someone broke out with a couple of kegs.
Every medallist was to receive a bunch of goods as well.
First place in each event got a nice cup.
Lanz, Dekyndt, Pouzet
Tournissac, Medjaher, Castagne
Burel, D'amico, Dekeyser
Dekeyser, Medjaher, Nunes
Ok was this actually the buttboard podium?
After the awards were given out, a bunch of goodies were raffled off. With the race numbers being pulled out of the hat.
Of course you had to remember what your race number was!
The after party was held at Madigans, an Irish pub a couple of miles from the course. After we got kicked out of there at closing time, a bunch of us headed to a Disco. I had no clue how to get back to the hotel, so I drove around until I found the gas station we stopped at yesterday. Then I knew how to get back.
Sunday, June 9
We were supposed to luge today. In fact Waldo and I were going to sit on Waldo's balcony and watch the standup race.
Several people got kicked out of the hotel. Someone said we made too much noise last night, I don't know how, as we were all at the party. Turns out anyone who hadn't paid for Sunday night was kicked out, as the hotel proprietors were going home for the day!
Well we didn't really have any plans, so Waldo, Kahn, Lisa and I
drove around Annecy. The town itself,
is a pretty neat old town.
There were a lot of swans around. At one point there was this blue box near the river, and some swans behind the fence. I thought there was some feed in the box. So I was going to feed the swans. Well, in reality the store was a pharmacy, and the blue box dispensed condoms. The swans apparently didn't fancy the condom.
At one point, there was this really neat building the water.
I thought it would be cool to get our picture in front of it. We asked a passer by to take a picture. We were on one end of the bridge, the guy took our picture, but only got half the cool building. Well I really wanted one with the building. So we centered ourselves on the bridge, and asked someone else. Now we are on a completely different part of the bridge, the building is squarely behind us. The latest picture had even LESS of the cool building in it!
The day wasn't a very nice day,
but the lake looked like it could be a lot of fun, if it ever was a nice day. We spotted some paddle boats that had slides attached to them. Waldo had to try them out.
Waldo wasn't really intending to go into the water, but he slipped.
The week before Annecy hosted an International Animation Festival. A lot of the signs were still up. We found this bird in front of one of the signs, and thought it would be a cool picture. Waldo took this shot, it is way better than the picture I was going to take.
The bird is standing there on two feet, but I'm not sure if it was actually alive.
Now a days, I wonder if its possible to even mention a streetluge race, without mentioning cows?
While we were meandering through the town I saw a post card of a castle on the lake. So we went looking for it.
We had a hard time finding it.
Monday, June 10
Everyone else has already left, I had an 11 am flight, and Waldo was going to stay with Wagner in Geneva as he leaves tomorrow. I get up and Waldo, who is already up, tells me if I notice anything missing. Turns out the city had already come out and removed the speed bump!
Waldo I headed to the airport where Waldo used his luge has transportation.
This event had its up's and down's. It lacked sorely of organization, but it was a fun little course and made even more interesting with the rain. It was too bad that the standup guys lost out on their race. Once the course was dry they should have immediately finished standup, and finished luge and buttboard latter. I believe one of the standup guys went to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder (or similar injury.) But because of the slow speed of the course, the were no other injuries.