Fall Festival of Leaves

Bainbridge, OH

The last race of the 2000 season has held in a small, three traffic light town about two hours from Cincinnati called Bainbridge. The town holds an annual street festival called the Fall Festival of Leaves that draws quite a few people. The nearest hotel is about thirty minutes away in Chillicothe.

The race course was over a mile long. It started with a big sweeper that leads into a sharp right.

Most everyone wrecked in this turn. The rest of the course was fairly straight, except that it had a few ups and downs. There was one corner that wasn't too hard. But just before turn 4 has a wicked patch in the road that caused many people to get thrown for a loop.

There was a small lip at the begging of this black patch the was not fun to hit. The dips were interesting, as one led to a turn. Its kinda of scary go up over the road, not really knowing whats on the other side.

You can see one of the dips here, between the two telephone poles. This is what it looks like, at the bottom of the dip from a luge eye view.

The course in Google Maps.

Friday, Oct 20

Bainbridge is about two hours east of Cincinnati and about and hour and half south of Columbus. It was much cheaper for me to fly into Cincinnati. I arrived earlier on Friday, spent some time in the city, and then made the long drive to Bainbridge. I didn't get there until after dark, but I still checked out the hill. I ran into Bob Swartz, the mastermind behind the race, still putting hay on the track. If we hold this event again, it may be faster to take the interstate straight to Chillicothe.

Saturday, Oct 21

Why can't every hotel have continental breakfasts? It sure makes life easier. I arrive in Bainbridge fairly early, people are setting up the street festival. I find the school, about a block away. There's already about 30 people here. Waldo and Chris Chaput arrive about the same time I do. This is the wrong way to load two luges in a car.

I'm not exactly sure how they managed to squeeze the luges in there, I didn't stick around to find out how they got them out.

Bama was our tech inspector and starter. He brought his infamous gal Edna.

This race was mostly for fun, a few gravity bikes showed up.

The race was run by IGSA rules, which require a number plate. Chris used the first number plate he found.

I don't think it was regulation size.

We had quite a few amateurs.

The famous PVC luge.

Yes it is made out of PVC pipes! Some people have some really cool helmets.

During practice I get to the bottom and Waldo is jumping up and down, holding his side. He claimed he hit a dog THIS BIG. Turns out he hit a cat, and well, we can't say that no animals were harmed in the making of this race. Waldo ended up with bruised ribs.

When we broke for lunch a few of use walked (er rode) the two blocks to the festival.

Al, Chris and I rode our buttboards, while Waldo rode his luge. We found a sausage stand and had lunch.

While we were eating, we spotted the Festival of Leaves court. They were gracious enough to lets us take their pictures.

The ladies enjoyed the boards.

They even tried them out.

Al went off in search of some Real Men Food.

Back at in the pit area a local radio crew did an interview with Waldo.

Then they interviewed Chris and I. About half way through the interview we got cut off. Turns out they didn't know we were here. Their truck was on the other side of town, and they were a bit out of range. Oh well. Waldo catches a nap before the racing begins.

The amateurs started first. Doug cross the finish line first.

Bob Swartz put the race on, and ran things at the finish line.

The start line.

The pro's start to line up.

My goal was to get through turn 2, and try spend the rest of the race catching up. I failed as I wrecked in turn 2. I was suprised that Waldo was in third place, and sitting up.

Turns out he hit the bad patch in turn 4, and lost the race. I was waiting at the finish line with one picture left in the camera. Someone on the other side of the track talked about what a race it was. Then Jon came into view. By himself, he was smok'n today. I was thinking what race, when I saw the next three riders.

Podium time. Bob had some nice trophies.

The amateur podium.

The pro podium.

It was now time to cleanup. Chris and Waldo learned their lesson, and figure out the correct way to transport two luges in a small car.

After helping load the hay, we headed back to Chillicothe for dinner. The bouncers weren't too happy with us bringing the luges into the bar.

Thanks to Wild Bill for taking, and sending me a copy of the picture.

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