Deep in the Brazilian jungle lies the small town of Teutonia. The town is home to an Adidas factory, and one street of stores including a surf store! On the outskirts of town, a road heads up a steep mountain. At the top of this road lies a small resort, Lagoa da Harmonia.
As someone pointed out, they found a cliffed, and put asphalt on it, and called it a street. The bottom of the course appears to go straight up!
Pictures just don't do it justice, and don't tell you how steep it really is. The top portion of the course is a bit windy, with an uphill section before heading into a severe drop. The drop brings you up to about 60 MPH heading into a sharp left turn. The sharp left exits onto the cliff.
Thursday, October 22
I flew into Porte Alegra from Igaussu Falls. I spent a few days at the falls, and if you like waterfalls, this is a must see place!
I picked up Andreas and Will, and we spent a few hours in town before heading to Teutonia. We got to the resort fairly late. We were able to register for the race, and the resort agreed to make us a sandwich. I was afraid we would have to head back into town and see if anything was open.
Friday, October 23
We got up fairly earlier to grab some breakfast. I think the shuttle was heading out about 8, but we had our car so we weren't in a huge rush, and we wouldn't be riding for a while yet. It was sunny at the resort,
but that was only because we were above the clouds! The top of the course was a little foggy.
Marcus ran tech before we got started.
The sun was burning the fog of fairly quickly, and tech took about an hour or so to go through.
Once tech was over we had a short riders meeting.
The major was there to welcome us, and the meeting ended in a prayer.
We were at the top of the course, but this course is so fast, the first run is taken from the half way point! We were asked to make our way down to the half way spot, and then stop. Right before the half way point is a fairly steep drop, and not a lot of runout, so most of the standup guys stopped above the drop, and sat on their boards to head down the drop. Saves on foot breaking.
We took our first run from the half way point.
Even starting from here, you can still reach a speed of about 75 MPH! Last year, pretty much everyone tightened up their trucks after the first run. I think this year more people were preparred. I still had to tweak my trucks a bit.
Our second run was from the three quarter mark, just above the drop.
And then it was time to run from the top.
We got a couple of runs in from the top of the hill. All of the runs were solo runs. Because it is very difficult for the standup guys to stop on this course, each person was sent the entire way down the course, before the next person was sent.
Andreas mentioned to me, that someone told him this is a "straight technical course." He said he didn't understand what that meant, until he went down the course. The surface is pretty nice, but there are a couple of rises that unweight you, a couple of patches, and the wind blows your feet up. You fight all the way down to stay stable, and in your tuck.
We had gotten a late start, and we finally broke for lunch close to 3PM. There was discussion that we would run until 8 PM. Lunch was back at the resort,
and was an all you can eat buffet.
Lunch was almost two hours long, so we got started for the afternoon session close to 5 PM!
We got another warm up run before doing our first qualifying run. Street luge qualified first. Then Will and I were shuttled up a back way to take our classic run. I tried to take some pictures, but they skateboarders were going so fast, it was difficult! We had a small audience to watch the qualifiying runs.
Everyone was fairly stoked, and addrenaline filled as we finished for the day and headed back to the resort.
The sun was just setting when we got back.
Our cabins had a cool water heating system. The water heater is built into the shower head.
I question the safety of this system, and the other drawback is the water pressure isn't very high (of course it might not be that high even without the heater) But the advantage is you don't run out of hot water. Unless the power goes out, which is what happened when Will was in the middle of his shower! Dinner was another buffet. There were fewer meat and desert options than at lunch. I guess dinner is supposed to be lighter than lunch. After dinner Marcus showed up with the qualifying results.
Unfortunately he didn't have a printer, so we just gathered around his laptop. The surprise is I had the top time in classic, despite taking only one run! We finished the evening off just hanging out in the living room of our cabin.
Saturday, October 24
Another early start for breakfast.
While it was dry out the day didn't look promising.
The last forecast I heard has rain this evening. We were supposed to have a long morning of practice with a couple of speed runs, and then an afternoon of qualifying.
Andreas was in a hurry, he was first on the line when we got to the start.
We took a warmup run while Marcus set up the timing system.
It was decided to do qualifying right away in case it rained. I took a run on my classic board, because I taped a camera under the board. I wasn't sure if we would get many runs in, so I used my one run for this film run. I recorded a 123 kPH on my GPS! (Thats 76.5 MPH!)
I watched some of the practice runs, and again tried to take some pictures, but most of them were out of focus, they were just too fast.I wished I had filmed some of the runs, you can hear them just whoosh by.
It was time to run qualifying. Again luge went first, but this time they were just going to run Will and I back up the course in a car. My run felt better, but I was still braking too much for the turn.
We took our classic run as the last group, and I got a 124 on my GPS!
As we got on the bus and headed up the hill,
it began to rain! It was pouring by the time we got to the top of the course, our day is done.
After getting cleaned up, we went up to the mess hall for lunch.
Turns out lunch was at the bar at the top of the course.
We decided to just head into town. Andreas wanted some glue
and Marcus wanted to get on the internet to post the qualifying results.
We spent most of the rest of the afternoon just hanging out in the cabin, gluing stuff together and just chilling.
Sunday, October 25
I woke up at 7:30 and took a look outside,
I couldn't see very far so I went back to bed. Things cleared up a bit about an hour later, as we headed in for breakfast, but it doesn't look good enough to race today. If we don't race I'll be pretty bummed, as the only reason I returned this year was to do speed runs, which we didn't get in last year. We took a long breakfast, as I didn't think we had any chance of racing today. The ground was still wet, and while the fog was lifting there were still low lying clouds.
About 11 we headed down to the start line. The resort is a little higher than the course, and the road dried out as we approached the course! I was a little hesitant to take a run not knowing how wet the course was.
The course was dry, but I could see it was still a little damp in the first corner. But I knew they wouldn't let us run if the course was too wet. After some miscommunication at the top, we took off. There was a little water at the top, but for the most part the course was dry.
Immediatley after our warmup run we started racing. We were going to run classic in conjuction with standup. But classic started first, and as the #1 classic qualifier I was in the first heat. I got on the line, I got prepared to start, when I realzied I had no idea how they would start us, or how to say "go" in Portuguese. I was about about ready to stick my hand up to stop, and ask how they would start us when I realized the other guy had already left the line and someone was shouting "go!" I took off, thinking I was going to be upset if I lost because of the start. I managed a pass in the upper section, and finsihed with a decent lead.
In the finals I face Will Stephenson, #2 qualifier only two tenths of a second behind me. I knew it would be a tough heat. Will got a decent push, but probably due to his cold not as good as it could have been. As you come to the drop you want to drift to the right, so you'll be on the outside of the left turn. I was catching him as we approached the drop. I was on his left, but didn't quite have the speed to get next to him before he squeezed me out. I lifted my legs over his head, and shot down the center of the course. While I never managed to take the turn without breaking, I felt it could be done, or close to it, on my buttboard. Originally I planned on taking the turn as fast as possible, figured I had to, to beat Will. But now I'm in the center of the road, still gaining. I decided to try and stay behind him, so I actually sat up early, and broke hard for the turn. Will took the turn faster than me, and at first I thought I let him get too far out in front. I chased him down the cliff, stayed behind him as long as possible, and flew by him near the finish!
After the second round of standup finished we broke for lunch. We ate lunch at the stand near the finish line.
They offered beers and soda and sausages and some fried meat thing that was pretty good.
So far the weather has been holding off, it felt like it was beginning to rain earlier but now it seems to be clearing a bit. After lunch we ran some speed runs! The street lugers ran first,
followed by standup. They decided to run Will and I back up the course after the standup finished. I got a chance to watch some of the standup speed runs.
I tired to get some pics, but they were so fast I usually failed to catch them!
Part of it had to do with I had a hard time hearing them coming, despite how loud they are. Martin Seigrist tried a speed suit
but it wasn't enough to overtake Micsho's 70.23 MPH. Andreas took his classic run when we did our luge run, so Will and I went back up and took our classic run.
The speed runs were probably my favorite part of the day. The course was lined with people who cheered me on. I was actually able to pay attention to the people as I shot down the course, as opposed to paying attention to the person in front of me. I did my best to stay in my tuck. It has gotten a little easier with practice, but it is still challenging. There a couple of spots that will throw the board, the wind is blowing your feet, and just as you get stable you hit one of the humps that unweights you. I didn't find out either of my times right away, although it sounded like I took the top times in both luge and classic! Later I found my speeds were a blistering 80.7 on luge (Will was the only other person to crack 80 with a speed of 80.39) and I set the World Record speed on a Classic Luge at 76.41 MPH!
After the speed runs we ran the luge race in conjunction with the last few rounds of standup. While I had a tough first heat, my #4 qualifying against Brundish's #5 spot, I prevailed. Brundish was offered an interview at the bottom.
I also gave a brief interview. I later saw it on youtube, it was funny hearing my words in Portuguese! We had a fairly long run out, which the stand up guys really needed. It was too far to walk back to watch the race, so we usually hung out by the busses waiting for the rounds to finish. We hund out near a house whose dog we nick named ghetto snoopy.
My next heat was against Will. Again Will had a good start against me, but for some reason I began to overtake him very high up on the course. I initially planned on trying the same manuever against him that I pulled in classic, so I actually put a foot down to stay behind him. After thinking about this, I realized he would out brake me in the corner, so perhaps it wasn't a good idea after all. Unfortunately it was too late, I stayed behind him to the corner, and he did brake less than I did. This time he got too far away from me, and I was unable to catch him.
We had one accident early on, where someone was taken to the hospital. His helmet came off and his head slammed into the pavement. In this last round, we can see about half of the cliff face. Seigrist and Scoot Smith were racing, and apparently half way down, under the trees, so I couldn't see, Smith came off his board. He tumbled and slid for a hundred feet or so. I saw Seigrist win the heat, and come to a stop. He said Smith fell, and I feared the worst. I was amazed a few minutes later when he also finished the head! He ended up with a small raspberry on his butt.
My consilation heat was against Mario Jardim. Mario had a better start than Will and I was just catching him by the corner. I guess I broke harder than I really intended too, and Mario got further out in front of my on the cliff. I tracked him down, and was closing fast. But he beat me by about a board length. My GPS read 134 KPH, or 83.5 MPH!
It was time for the finals in luge and standup. But they stalled, I think to try to drum up the tension, and sell more beers. I think part of it had to do with trying to rush to get the race finished before the rains came. Now it is obvious the rains weren't coming, so there was a need to slow it down a bit. Spectators paid 3 Reais to attend the race,
and I think they wanted to prolong the show as much as possible. I had a chance to walk up the finish line, where I wanted to get pictures of the finish. Meanwhile Scoot and KRhimes took advantage of their celebrity status and posed for dozens of photos.
The finals where held. And after all the anticipation Will came down alone!
Apparently he had a tense battle all the way to the turn. They were neck and neck (or as Will said toe to toe) with Will on the inside. Will saw Borton sit up to brake, and Will decided to go for it. From the inside he pulled the turn off with out braking. Not sure exactly what happened to Borton, but he wrecked in that turn. And then Mischo and Dahula raced, and their race was just as intense!
With the race over most of the spectators started to head home. I knew there were a few spectators, as the course was lined with them. But it wasn't until they were leaving that I saw exactly how many there were.
Someone said there would have been a few thousand more but there was a big football match going on. As we waited for the awards ceremony there were more photo ops
as well as autographs.
The awards cermenony finally got underway.
One interesting thing they did for every single trophy awarded they pulled up someone to award the trophy. As two time classic champion, and winner of both luge and classic speed runs, I was invited up to get a trophy to the Major.
The Major returned the favor by awarding me my first place trophy. Ivandro was the master of ceremonies, as well as the announcer for the race.
I rarely understood what he was saying, but you couldn't misunderstand the tone. He did a great job of hyping the crowd.
McBride, Stephenson, Johnson
Stephenson, Borton, Jardim
Erban, Silva, Reimer
I never got an actual standup podium. Between throwing of hay,
and throwing beer and champange,
the podium never actually shaped up.
After the ceremony, we rushed back to the cabin. Mainly to clean up and eat, while others went back to pack up to head home.
I was rooming with Andreas and Will, and we decided to take a few photos of our winnings.
With a 1st and a 2nd Stephenson had the most loot, including a large check! I was jealous.
Despite winning both speed runs, my haul wasn't quite so impressive.
Stephenson gets the large check, and I'll take the world record.
We chilled out a bit. Said our good byes to those leaving early. Listened to some tunes,
and started packing. There was only a handful of us left for dinner, so it was not a buffet. The table was already set up with eggs and broccoli,
and they served us steak and eggs.
Those of us left had a nice quiet dinner.
I was about ready to buy some ice cream when they brought out some deserts for us. We had a few beers, before heading back to our cabins to finish packing and chilling out for the rest of the night.
Monday, October 26
Even though the race was over, we still had to get up early, to get to the airport. Looks like we were lucky with the weather yesterday. Today was another foggy day.
The breakfast they laid out for us was much smaller, as there weren't many of us here.
And we were the first people in for breakfast. After breakfast it was time for us to pack the car and head to the airport.
Despite the poor weather, we not only got our speed runs in, but we also completed the race. The field this year was smaller than last year, but we had a great time. The course has been described as "straight technical" and while that might not make sense, it fits perfectly. The spectators love the event, and treat us like rock stars. The race is supposed to be held a little later in the year next year, closer to summer time so the weather should be nice, which hopefully will mean more spectators. This isn't the best, most competitve race in the world, but these sort of speeds are something everyone should do at least once.
We had three injuries. The first was a dislocated shoulder, who came back later to qualify. Someone else slammed hard into the pavement, I never found out how bad it was. And Scoot had a 100 foot slide and ended up with a raspberry.