About 10 minutes from the world famous Nürburgring lies the small town of Insul. There are two hotels in town, which are about the only thing of significance. The town is in a valley, with a river running through the town.
The course ends in town. The start is at the bottom of a cow pasture. The course winds back and forth, with five hairpins before making a hard right turn into town. The finish line is immediately after the turn.
Thursday, July 28
We rolled into town Thursday afternoon. After getting checked into the hotel room I headed over to the sports field where the bar
was set up. Normally I would have set my equipment up first, but the board was still travelling from Kozakov. Tech inspection was going on/
But first I needed to go through registration
to get my helmet numbers. The helment won't pass tech without the correct number. Hopefully my equipment will come in later tonight, and I'll tech first thing in the morning.
After a schniztel dinner, I went back to the bar to hang out with everyone. There was a rumor that might be a racers meeting. The meeting was held about 11:00PM
Not a whole lot was said, other than a discussion of the schedule for tommorrow.
Friday, July 29
The weather didn't look all that great when I woke up.
I couldn't tell if the roads were wet, but it didn't look like it had rained. Thins were supposed to get underway at 9:00, but things were taking a few minutes to get started. We were at the top of the hill, ready to ride by 9:30.
The fog was a bit thicker up here, but the course was mostly dry. While the fog was thicker, there was still some visibility.
And then we waited, and waited some more. While we waited it started to sprinkle.
Not a whole lot, but enough to wet the road. We waited for over an hour,
apparently there were some radio problems. The start couldn't contact the finish. It was close to 11:00 when they finally got things squared away and we took off. The road wasn't too wet, the final hairpin seemed the slipperiest, but it wasn't too bad.
We hopped back on the bus and headed back to the top. This time we took off almost immediately. We were getting a run in about ever half hour. The fog slowly lifted, and the road dried out. The road was completely dry by the time we took our lunch break at 2:00. Standup was going qualify first, giving us a longer lunch break.
I wasn't sure how long standup would take to qualify. I figured about 90 minutes. So I went over to the course about 4:00, should have given me enough time to get ready for the lay down disciplines. Apparently things were behind schedule and standup had just got started!
We still had about an hour and a half to wait.
A few people hung out at the Red Bull teepee, pitched at the final corner.
We finally got under way about 6:00, with a warmup run.
It shouldn't take too long to do luge and classic. Classic went next.
With only about twenty racers, it didn't take too long. Streetluge
finished up the afternoon, or rather late evening. There was a rumor that if there was time after qualifying we would free ride. But with the late start, and some other slow downs there was no time for any free rides.
After dinner I went over to the bar to see what was going on for the evening. There was a live band playing.
A few people were listening. Some were hanging out chatting.
Saturday, July 30
The weather was a better today. Cloudy, but not foggy. The schedule was the same as yesterday.
Practice in the morning, qualifying in the afternoon. One we got started, the morning went fairly smoothly.
We were getting a run in every half hour. Practice finished up shortly before 2:00.
There wasn't supposed to be a lunch break, but with two hours scheduled for standup, we had plenty of time. After lunch we watched some of the standup qualifying
at the finish line.
I'm not exactly sure what happened, but standup got started late again. I think we got started roughly the same time as yesterday! The weather was a little better at the top, but it was windy and cold!
Just like yesterday classic qualifying was next. We qualified from slowest to fastest, based on yesterday's times. When we got to the bottom, most of us ran back to the finish to catch our times.
A second monitor was set up so you could catch your time as they were ended. Street luge was last. I didn't qualify very well, so I was one of the first ones down. It gave me a chance to watch everyone from the last turn.
We finished the day off with little time to spare.
Registration included breakfast and dinner for a couple of days. I've been eating breakfast at the hotel, it was free, and I figured it was a little better. Tonight we decided to eat dinner at the bar.
There was roast ham with potatoes, veggies and a salad. Not too bad of a meal. Fortunately the weather was nice enough that we able to eat outside.
After dinner Yvon Labarthe showed some of his videos.
I got to see the Maryhill video for the first time. The video had some interviews in it, so I'll have to watch it again later.
The bar is setup next to the sports field. There is a small building with showers inside. This is where showers were setup for the camp.
But the camp was a couple hundred yards up the road. Apparently a skateboard was a popular form of transportation to the bar.
Sunday, August 1
I wasn't feeling to well last night, so I went to sleep early. Unfortunately the riders meeting was apparently at about 11:30, and there was no schedule posted. I knew things were supposed to get started at 9:00, but I didn't know what was going first. So I got up, to get ready to go by 9:00. By then a schedule was posted. Junior I and classic would go first.
I was there at 9:00 but the bus wasn't.
To get things started they decided to run us up in the truck.
Although there weren't too many of us, it still took two trips. Junior I start the day.
Despite Junior II being scheduled for 11:00, they also ran their first heat, but one of the juniors was missing.
Classic ran next.
We went back up for the second round. When it was radioed up that the junior that was missing finaly woke up. But he thought the race was going to be run at 11:00 as scheduled. It was decided to rerun the heat he missed. One of the buttboarders left his helmet at the bottom of the hill. Since the junior IIs weren't running, one of them loaned his helmet.
Dr. Serek handily won the classic race.
And Spencer Smith won the junior IIs with a sizeable lead. There was supposed to be a lunch break after the Junior race was over. I thought we had until 1:00, but it was announced that the warmup would start at 12:30. Since I didn't have a lot of time, I ate some of the bread that was left over from breakfast.
Streetluge got started pretty much on time, after our early warmup.
As usual I got beat off the start line, and I was done for the day. I quickly got out of my leathers, and grabbed some tasty waffles.
These were made by the family that lives across the street from the finish line.
They sold waffles and coffee. While my waffles were baking, I caught the next couple of street luge heats.
They were awfully close.
I walked up to the next corner
to grab a Coke from the vendor up there. They were selling beer and sasauges. I watched the rest of the luge races from here. In the semi finals Stephenson got squeezed out by Mueller. Stephenson tried to go around Mueller on the outside, but Mueller kept drifiting out. They both ended up in the hay.
After finishing my waffle, I walked back down to the finish, to catch the final. I was concentrating on trying to catch the winner at the finish line.
But I missed the wreck. LaBarthe and Echegaray were almost neck and neck coming around the final turn. But Mahdzan was right behind them. Mahdzan tried to follow them through the turn, but was too close and caught Echegaray's tail end, taking the both of them out.
This gave Eliot a chance to slip in for second!
The standup race was next. I watched from the Red Bull tent for a while.
And the end of the quarter finals, there was along delay. Norm Kinnish was the Race Director for the first time. He was listening intently to a protest.
I think the protest was fairly straight forward, but Norm was making sure he was doing the right thing. But then the semi final came down. The next protest wasn't as straight forward.
Apparently Nicolas Robert dove on the inside of Ramon Konigshausen, taking Ramon out. After discussing it for a while, Kinnish DQed Robert. This moved Roman into 3rd, but still out of the final. Ramon thought he had a chance to win the race, and was upset. As soon as he heard he wasn't in the final, he physically attacked Robert! Several guys jumped between them and separated the two. When the dust finally settled, Konigshausen was DQed from the event entirely.
Switzer won the race, almost unchallenged.
The main reason Switzer wasn't challenged was Tounge and Shinke collided coming around the final hairpin. The two walked down
and then crossed the finish line together. They were trying to send a message that we are still one big family, despite all of the issues that happened today.
With the final two protests taking almost two hours, the even ran late. We hung around for a bit, then we went over to the bar where the awards ceremony would take place. Someone said it was going to take almost an hour before the awards would be given out. So we decided to go to dinner. We ended up missing the ceremony.
After dinner we hung out for the rest of the evening at the bar. It was a pleasant way to end the race.
Insul was a strange event. I think there were seven protests, more than I've ever seen. Even back in the days of the "No Whiners Tour." I've also never seen a skater physically attack another skater. The vibe wasn't good, I hope it doesn't get worse. There were no major accidents.