Copa de Los Andes Tarma
3000 meters high into the Andes lies the Pearl of the Andes, Tarma, Peru. Tarma is also referred to the city of the flowers. There are many flower fields surrounding the city. In April there is the Semana Santa a colorful procession on carpets of flowers.
Tarma lies in a valley in the Andes, continuing up another half hour lies the course. The course starts on a relatively straight section. The top portion is fairly slow leading up to two sets of hairpins. They aren’t quite back to back, but fairly close. Leaving the second hairpin the speeds start to build up heading into a hard left. The road continues in a fairly straight to one more set of double hairpins. For here the road gets a little steeper and the speeds pick up for the final straight. The majority of the spectators gather around the high speed right hand turn and the finish line.
Wednesday/Thursday, October 26/27
Tarma lies about 200 kilometers from Lima. But Lima lies at the foothills of the Andes and the road to Tarma is almost straight up the mountain. It takes about six hours to travel to Tarma. The recommended way is to get there is to take the bus.
Several of us took the night bus to Tarma. We got there in the wee hours of the morning. We took these little mini cabs to the hotel
where we had to wait until the organizers to show up to get checked in.
Registration was set up a bit later.
After getting registered, and getting our helmet sticker, we had to go outside to get teched.
Registration and tech were open until lunch. After lunch we hopped on the bus and headed up the hill.
We had an unofficial after practice session. While there were no course marshalls, the cops did close the road. We got a couple of runs in before it rained.
It didn’t rain for very long, but it did soak the road. I opted out of the next run, and probably could have taken the final run as the road dried fairly fast.
Friday, October 28
There were several lodging options available. Most of the riders stayed in a building behind the main hotel. I ended up at the sport villa. There is a sports complex on the edge of town, with a soccer field, tennis courts and swimming pool. There is also a building attached with some rooms. We figured it was for visiting sports teams. The ground floor had a small café where we were served breakfast and dinner. The breakfast today was rice and eggs.
I guess we were supposed to lug our stuff out to the main road and wait for the bus to go past. I got a ride up from the organizers, but most of the riders at our hotel ended up taking a taxi. We got up to the top at 9:00 AM, just in time for the rain.
The rain continued for an hour or so,
before the rest of the riders showed up. Apparently, back at the main hotel they decided to postpone everything. I decided to skip the morning practice session. I figured there was no real reason to ride in the wet and get everything soaked. But as we waited to get started, the road continued to dry.
Before practice finally got underway about 11:30 the road was completely dry.
I thought we were breaking for lunch at noon.
Lunch was bananas and oranges. But because of the late start we didn’t actually break for lunch. But then it started to rain again.
Fortunately the road was dry by the time we started qualifying.
Street luge qualified first, or at least we tried to. When I got to the bottom I ran back to the finish to see if I could help Norm Kinish. Norm was taking over for Marcus Rietema and this was his first race with Marcus. Turns out there was a small problem with the timing and he didn’t get the luge timing. We got the problems resolved and continued qualifying with the juniors and women.
Standup qualifying started in numeric order, with some of the top riders going first. James Kelly was in the early group and came into the final corner hot. He drifted out, trying to make the turn, and clipped the hay just before the finish line. He flew off his board and slid across the finish line. He had to jump up and run back to his board and ride it across to get a good time. Of course running across the line three times made it a little difficult for Norm doing the timing. But it was a good trial by fire.
Mid way through the qualifying run we were informed, from the top, that an ambulance needed to come down the course. We had to pause qualifying to let the ambulance come down. A little while later we were shocked to see an ambulance coming up the course! We managed to stop the ambulance just before it crossed the finished line, and got him backed up on off the course just as one of the riders came across the finish line.
The crowd at the finish line was quite impressive. There were probably 500 people or more watching the qualifying runs. But the hay bales seemed to present more of an obstacle. Towards the end of the day, I looked up to see a couple climbing over the hay bales carrying a table, as a rider was approaching!
With a late start, and a few problems, standup finished almost an hour late. Because there were only three classic lugers, we decided to fore go qualifying for classic.
Saturday, October 29
The morning started early.
We needed to get started earlier, to get a few more practice runs in. It doesn’t help that the course is a half hour from the hotel. But for some reason we didn’t get started until after 11:00 AM.
We finally got practice under way and got in four or five runs. I ended up riding with some of the top skateboarders. I originally decided to follow a few of them down to video them. But I had a lot of fun riding with them, and ended up riding with them all morning. It is a little different riding amongst standup riders. Approaching a turn, they’ll airbrake a little first, which means they slow down sooner, and take longer to slow down than we do. But they can still corner fairly fast. I had one guy dart in front of me in the middle of a turn. I am pretty sure the bottom of my feet went across the top of his board!
In the afternoon we got setup at 1:00 to start qualifying. We had the first person on the line ready to go. Then the police informed us the road had to be open to traffic for an hour!
We finally got qualifying started, but it was going to be tight to get it finished in time. Again luge and women and juniors started qualifying. I got to the bottom
to a large crowd, and helped at the finish line again. The remaining qualifying went fairly well, with few problems. And we got finished just a few minutes late.
Sunday, October 30
Despite getting up to the hill fairly early, things got started a little late again. After a warmup run we started the day with luge and junior and women’s standup. Because there were four lugers we were going to do three heats. We ran the first heat, and first round of juniors.
We got back up to the top for our second run.
The first heat of women started, and the second heat was on the line. When we were informed that the first heat was red flagged due to an ambulance on course! And it was decided to take the lunch break and open the road for an hour.
We were stuck at the top with bananas and oranges for lunch. An hour later we were getting ready to start when the police
said the road had to stay open until 2:00. And then it rained.
It didn’t rain too long, but it rained hard enough to soak the road. Norm announced that the racing would continue. When the road was closed to traffic, standup started their warm up run on a wet course.
The weather was warm so the road dried quickly.
It was completely dry when the first heat left.
Due to time constraints we ran one heat for classic.
I got blown off the line, but almost caught up at the end. We ran the last two luge heats with the final two rounds of standup. The women’s standup was also run in conjunction with the final two rounds as well.
The crowd at the bottom
was impressive. There had to be at least a thousand or so, and the people seemed to be really enjoying the race. After the final heat I was mobbed for photos and autographs. Meanwhile, Malaga finished 2nd in standup was carried off as the local hero.
The awards ceremony was held in the town square in front of the local church.
We waited a while, as things were being prepared. Switzer found a way to entertain himself.
And then he shouted that Sandberg had free stickers.
He was mobbed! He did have stickers to give out, but he also had to fight to keep his clothes as well! There was quite a crowd for the awards ceremony.
Machado, Riveiro, McBride
Riveiro, Machdo, McBride
Neilson, Aleixo, Murgolo
Junior I Standup:
Junior II Standup:
Paredes, Padua, Pons
Stephens, Malaga, Silva
After the awards ceremony was over, the after party was held in the night club in front of the hotel. There was a DJ stand set up outside, and the party moved inside as the temperatures cooled. The party was still raging pretty hard when I turned in about 2:30.
The course was interesting. And it was different to race at 3000m in the Andes. The crowd was one of the best crowds I’ve seen in a long time, and they seemed to really enjoy the race. In fact the crowd made the trials of getting there, and the organizational problems worth it.
There are only a few injuries, at least one was a dislocated shoulder.