Maryhill Festival of Speed
For the fourth straight year Maryhill Loops Road will host the Maryhill Festival of Speed. I think this is the eight downhill race held on this hill, by various organizations. The road is the first paced road in the state of Washington, and heads down the hill towards the Columbia River. Once again the campground was 10 miles away in the small town of Goldendale.
Maryhill Loops Road is an unsual road. It is technical, but not incredibly fast. The better standup riders can tuck the entire course. The best luge riders can run the course without braking, and yet many of the turns can barely be taking without braking. The course itself is 1.8 miles long with 23 turns.
Tuesday, June 29
The plan was to get to the course sometime before 5:00 PM to get registered and tech out of the way. We ran into a few problems on the way, and ended up getting there about 10 minutes late! Instead I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, went to dinner and headed over to the campground.
This year the campground was in a small park behind the Ponderossa Hotel, next to the pool. The campers were allowed to use the pool showers. The park itself was next to a small river, and was surrounded a bit by trees, so it should be a little warmer.
While there was already quite a few people at the site, many people were yet to arrive. It was actually pretty quite until close to midnight when Team Madrid showed up. It wasn't so much that they were rowdy, it was just more like, the party hed started and everyone was happy to see each other.
Wednesday, June 30
Since I missed registration yesterday,
the first thing I had to do when I go to the course was head to registration and tech first thing in the morning.
Things got started on time, I had already missed the riders meeting, and the first set of trucks were heading up to the course as I took care of registration and tech. Registration and tech went pretty quick, and I still had some time before the next set of trucks were to head up. I hung out with some of the other riders who were also running late. But I misjudged my timing, and finished getting suited up JUST as the trucks left for the second run!
My morning practice finally got underway. Art
let the inliners, buttboarders, and lugers go first. This gave us a chance to load our luges into the trucks at the bottom first.
I got four runs in before the lunch break, which means 6 runs were made!
We had two vendors on site serving food. One had drinks like coffee and smoothies.
But the main lunch wagon served burgers and tacos and hot dogs.
Monster provide a large tent that we used to shade the tables for lunch.
While I was eating lunch, Big Steve pointed out one of the standup riders had designed an unusual skateboard truck. This truck has no kingpin and no bushings!
The system is basically a small rocker that the truck rests in. Gravity does the rest, providing self centering, and the profile of the turn of the truck. I believe this truck is already patented, but they are still perfecting it.
While tents for Vendor Row were set up. Only Tactics Skateshop was already there.
Tactics is a great shop. As far as I can tell they mostly show up for the riders. Setting up a tool table to let riders make quick fixes on their boards.
We had about an hour break for lunch before heading back up the hill.
The weather was pretty nice, it was warm but not hot. People still hung out in the shade of the tree.
Fortunately we also had a few trees at the bottom as well.
For the first time Maryhill had more classic lugers registered than street lugers! There were close to 30 classic lugers signed up. Most of the classic lugers raced standup or luge as well, with a couple racing only classic, but there were still about eight or ten every run.
The amazing thing is, practically everyone had a different classic board!
We were getting in a run about every 45 minutes.
This got us another five runs for the afternoon session. I don't think I drunk enough water, as I started to get a headache later in the day. The day wasn't incredibly hot, but it was a lot of sun.
Activities were set up for each night of the week. Tonight's dinner was at the local Mexican restaurant.
The restaurant had a special dinner at a discount. Our goal was to try and get there a little early, in hopes of missing the rush.
But it never got completely overrun.
After dinner I walked over to the campsite. This year the campsite was immediately behind the Ponderossa Hotel. Like any campsite people hung out in small groups around the site. There seemed to be two main groups, one around the Loco Express and one around the Madrid van, and then a few smaller groups. I hung out at the Luge Camp with Paul Busse.
With the Fourth of July just a few days away, fireworks could be purchased at the local grocery store. Of course some of the guys bought some fireworks and were already launching them early.
I left around midnight. The camp was relatively mellow and quiet.
Thursday, July 1
Today is the second day of practice. We got up early, with the goal of getting to the track earlier. But by the time we got the car packed and ate breakfast we got to the track at 9 AM. Just in time to miss the first truck. I didn't want to miss the second truck like I did yesterday, so I got ready a little early, and made it up on the next truck.
Today is also Canada's Independence Day, so some of the riders were getting into the spirit.
I lost track of how many runs we got in, I think we got six in again before lunch.
After lunch an impromptu riders meeting was called.
The gist of the meeting was to keep it down and be respectful at the campground. I'm not exactly sure what the problem was, because things were fairly mellow when I left at midnight. I guess someone decided to turn on some music, and things got a little loud.
The weather today was slightly overcast
and cooler than yesterday. We rode all afternoon. Racing down hill in just over three minutes.
Waiting another half hour or so for everyone else to come down. Jumping on the truck,
jumping off the truck, heading back to the start.
and doing it all over again. It did seem like, as the day progressed, fewer people got on the truck.
I guess two full days of riding can take its toll.
As we finished up for the afternoon the skies got a bit darker. It looked like it might rain, and I wanted to get back to the hotel before it did rain. It sprinkled a little on the way back to Goldendale.
My roommate, Will, wanted to swing by the grocery store to pick up a few things. It was lightly raining, but wasn't heavy enough to put my top up. I did spot the Loco Express out in front of the store.
Of course Adam
was messing with the electric system, trying to get it to work.
Back at the hotel Will decided to wash his bearings with soap and water. He used the coffee maker to dry the bearings faster.
Meanwhile Jeff Budro decided to join the classic luge rage by building a board based on an ironing board!
I pointed out the board was illegal, it was made out of medal and it was too long.
Friday, July 2
Today is the first day of qualifying.
I wasn't in a big hurry to get to the course on time, as I assumed we would get a warmup run shortly before our qualifying. Standup was going to qualify first, and I figured it would take several hours to get through the 202 entrants. We got to the course shortly after 9AM, in time to see the last truck head up the hill. I also discovered that run would be the only warmup run, for everyone, before qualifying! Because there were so many skateboarders, they were split into two groups. The juniors and women went up first, followed by the rest of the open class.
It took about 4 and half hours to get through all of the stand up qualifying. We sat around, watched some of the qualifying,
and ate lunch. Some of the other riders rested up
or caught some rays.
Street luge was the next class after standup.
Immediately after street luge, we all jumped back on the truck for classic. Katie was waiting on the truck for us.
. We only had 18 registered for luge, but somewhere in the upper 20's for classic, and it seemed like more wanted to race everyday.
We all got lined up, as we were getting sent down fairly quickly.
I was almost the last one down, and qualifying was over. We still had a couple of hours left so we had time for a couple of practice runs. I had been having problems with my luge the last couple of days. I finally realized, as I was getting ready for my qualifying run, that one of my front wheels was lifting off the ground in the turns. So as soon as I got down with my classic qualifying, I started working on my luge to solve the problem. I worked quickly, but didn't get it finished before the practice run went up the hill. It did give me a chance to watch the USA run. This was a large super mass of American Standups coming down all at once.
One of them carried the American flag.
I was able to catch the last practice run of the day
and my luge worked much better than before!
Before heading back to Goldenale, a few people checked out the times from today's qualifying.
Tonight was supposed to be a pool party and dinner at the campground.
Will and I were heading to the pool, even though it was already getting cooler, when we notice the food was being set out.
Dinner was BBQ chicken, which had been marinating all day. It was very good.
After eating we went to the pool, but apparently everyone was already done.
Back at the campground the fireworks were still a popular attraction.
Although most people were chilling out.
As it got darker the fireworks really started flying. The weapon of choise was the roman candle. Fights erupted between groups all evening long.
It is legal to shoot of fireworks before 11:00 PM. Amazingly as 11 rolled around the fireworks stopped! After the fireworks died down, someone did some fire dancing.
I always love watching these guys, but I think the pictures actually look cooler.
Saturday, July 3
With only one run on my new setup, I really wanted to take the morning practice run. I got up early enough to make it to the riders meeting.
Like the run last night, my morning run went much better than the first couple of days. I wish I had noticed the issue earlier. After our practice run a few of the guys made some modifications to their boards.
I expect qualifying today to go faster than it did yesterday, but it will still take several hours. I spent some time wandering around the pits. Zack had got a box of his new Venom wheels.
I think he is still in the prototype phase. Chaput showed up with his 6 wheeled skateboard
complete with 83mm Centrax wheels.
A lot of the other riders were watching qualifying.
Brycin had showed up last night, and was calmly announcing the qualifiers.
Just like yesterday street luge qualified after standup. My qualifying run went much better, altough I only shaved off about five seconds from my time. Not as much as I would have liked, but at least I still improved. My classic run went ok, but I have no idea what my time actually was.
After qualifying a last chance race was held for positions 93-140. These guys would race in a 48 man braket. The twop 4 would fill in positions 93 - 96 in tomorrows race.
Before the race could get underway it was discovered someone had parked in the U-haul turn around spot (which was blocked off.) So a bunch of guys pushed the car out of the way!
I watched some of the repecharge race.
I climbed up on top of the Seismic camper. They had a great birds eye view of the pit area
and vendors row.
But it wasn't the best view of the course.
Watching from the finish line was a little more satisfying.
After the race was over the King of the Hill heats were run. These were two six man heats, one for luge and one for standup, where the top six qualifiers in each discipline raced. McIntyre cross the line first
but he was eventually DQed for running into Lang, giving Conway the win.
The standup race was much more exciting. I snapped my photo just before they reached the finish line. Maytum is currently in the lead but
Reimer was coming on quick, and was given the win by inches. Shikaze was only about a foot behind Maytum and Switzer a few more feet back. An incredible finish.
Awards were given out for qualifying and for the races.
Before the awards were given out, some swag was tossed into the crowd.
Mischo even got into the action, tossing out a bunch of (I think) Venom bushings.
The winners of the repecharge race were announced.
They all got some cool boards, and get to face the top four qualifiers tomorrow!
Then the fastest qualifiers were announced. Alex for the Juniors
. Reimer set the new standup course record, bettering the old one by almost a second.
And then there was the luge King of the Hill Conway
and Standup King of the Hill, Reimer again.
Tonight the autograph session and the Saturday party were merged into one and was heled at the local bowling alley.
Things ran a little late, and I barely got Will to the autograph session on time, and then I ran off to grab something to eat. The autogrpahing was still going strong when I showed up.
While there was no food, there was a cheap keg and some cupcakes.
Three bands were playing, with the stage being the floor in front of one of the lanes.
Not everyone was into the bands, a few guys watched some skate videos on the big screen.
and others actually bowled!
Loose Tooth headlined the night.
This got a mosh put going.
But they tried to keep people off the wooden lanes, and on the tile floor. I joined the mosh for a bit, but the area was small, and the floor was slick.
The madness continue, but a few people were already leaving. Heading in for an early night (or so I thought.)
It was midnight when things at the bowling alley calmed down. I knew we were getting an earlier start in the morning so I decided to skip the campground and head straight back to the hotel. Apparently I missed one of the largest firework battles of the week!
Sunday, July 4
Our plan was to make it in time for the first free ride. I got up a little earlier, and figured we would end up at the course a few minutes earlier. While we were eating breakfast someone mentioned something about 8:30. So Will and I rushed out, and go to the track just in time.
I had no desire to take the warm up run for classic. Riding Maryhill on a classic luge is very tiring. I think I was the #2 qualifier in my first heat, so I was pretty sure I was getting at least two runs in as it was.
Junior I and Classic would start off the racing, despite Quinn racing in both classes. So classic went first. I'm not exactly sure what happened. We were running a 48 man bracket for about 28 racers. But heat after heat had only three racers in it.
Quinn ended up in my heat, and got eliminated. They tossed him in the truck, and jetted back up to the top so he could do his standup race with the other juniors. On to the second round, we still didn't have full brackets all the way around!
In my second heat I got a slow start, and Castaneda and an incredible start and got way out ahead. I followed McIntrye and Parks down the hill, and felt like I was slowly gaining on them. But as we approached the left before cowzers we got a yellow flag. My first thought was Castaneda was a moron and wrecked. And he was so far out in front. I tapped a little harder than I wanted, but had almost closed the gap. I was thinking of trying to pass in cowzers when I saw the second yellow flag. I slowed down more. I thought I had one more chance to pass before the finish, but wasn't sure of the legality. I thought I couldn't pass until I saw another green flag. I crossed the finish line just feet behind Parks, and noticed that Castanenda was just stopping, so he didn't wreck.
I am not sure if I would have had a shot if the yellow flags weren't out, but I was still upset. Personally I think yellow flags have no place in a race. Basically once a yellow flag is thrown, the race is practically over. I stormed up to Marcus to discuss the issue. It turns out that claim was Condon had wrecked in the previous heat, and they were still cleaning the hay, even though I didn't see any hay on the course. Marcus also said it was legal to pass once the riders had cleared the "incident." Of course a racer doesn't have any idea what "incident" caused the yellow flag to be thrown.
After the semi finals
junior ii standup racing started.
I watched a couple of the rounds at cowzers.
Towards the end of the Junior II race, which had a field of 52 riders, the afternoon disciplines were told to get on the truck for a warmup.
First the last heats of the Juniors went,
the first heat had some issues getting off the line.
We were too slow to get in front of the standup riders,
so we go to see them skate down.
By this point we were running a little bit late. The tope 12 standup qualifiers were presented.
Marcus interviewed them in reverse order qualifying order.
I think I missed the Pledge of Allegiance.
After the top qualifiers were interviewed Zak Maytum stepped up to swing the anthems. In honor of the fact that a good majority of the racers were Canadian, Zak started off with the Candian Anthem. He followed it up with the American Anthem.
and he did a pretty good job!
I didn't catch many of the first round runs. I spent some time hanging out with the other lugers, and watched a few runs from the final corner.
The guys at the orangatang booth were giving out free wheels. But first you want to spin a dial, and then perform the action. One was drop and do 20 pushups, then spin again. I think Max got himself a set of wheels.
It took a couple of hours to get through the first few rounds of the 96 man standup race. Luge went up with the semi final run to start the luge race.
With only 18 guys registered, we lined up in a 24 man race. But several people dropped out, and I think all but one of the heats and three guys in it. It was just my luck that I was in the only four man heat, along Andy Lally, who hadn't qualified. Andy Lally missed qualifying because he went and won a car race at Daytona yesterday!
I raced Stephenson, Conway, and Lally. Lally won last year, Conoway was on fire and was the #3 qualifier, and Stephenson has a better push. I ended up on the short end of the Lally stick, going from the third best in my heat, to the fourth best. Of course I got out paddled, and while I stayed close, I didn't have a chance. Until I came flying around cowzers and noticed that Conway is sitting on his board in the middle of the road pushing! Apparently he went in too hot and hit the hay. I passed him and eeked into the semi finals. I got blown out in the semi final, but go to run in the consolation.
IGSA has been trying to run all the finals at the same time. I think for some of the competitors this can be a bit rough. For example classic was raced earlier in the morning, and its now about fice hours later. But I think from a spectators point of veiw it is fairly exiting as you see all of the consilation and finals in a short amount of time. Classic
and Women's was run first. Everyone else went up to run the rest of the races.
Juniors I consilation started their race next.
Junior's II were next.
The luge consilation was next. I managed to get behind Condon and Parks and follow them down, but couldn't quite catch them. The luge final was sent off while we were on the course, and I missed the final. But I caught the final of standup. Apparently there was a collision in cowzers.
Maytum was the first American standup to win the Festival of Speed, and he did it on the Fourth.
The awards were given out right after the race was over. I guess it took some time to get things ready, so some swag was tossed into the crowd first.
Peer, Focke, Kautz
Hefferman, Neffner, Dobbes
Tongue, Melo, Green
Lally, McIntyre, Hicks
Lally, Castaneda, Switzer
Maytum, Reimer, Smith
Davies, Neilson, Gregersen
It was getting pretty late (although not as late as last year) and most of were hungry. It didn't take long for most of us to clear out, and head into town for dinner. I'm not sure what is still open at 8PM on a Sunday night. A bunch of us headed to the Mexican restaurant.
They weren't expecting this many people. I think at one point they even turned people away! It took us a while to get our food, as we swampped them. James Kelly's brother sang a bit for us as we waited.
He was pretty good. I was thinking of going to the Museum to watch the laser show they were promising. But I was too hungry, and watched various people across town shoot off fireworks. After eating I stopped by the campsite. A lot of people had already left, so it was fairly mellow, but of course a few people were still shooting off fireworks!
This was the fourth IGSA race on Maryhill and it went pretty well. There was plenty of water, and for the most part the campsite was pretty quite. I think there was only a couple of injuries on the hill, one was a dislocated thumb, and there was maybe a dislocated shoulder? The biggest problem was a lack of spectators, probably because it was the weekend of the Fourth.