Maryhill Festival of Speed
Once again the gravity sports world decends on Maryhill for the Maryhill Festival of Speed. Just outside of the small gorge town of Goldendale, overlooking the Columbia River is a small private road that has become one of the American Meccas of downill. The course is 1.8 miles and sits on privately owned land. The road was repaved a few years ago, but with mild weather and almost no traffic the road is in decent shape. The course has a constant grade and quite a few turns with almost no straights. The speeds are relatively low, and with the constant grade means it is more about pure racing.
Wednesday, June 29
Every year I make plans to get down to the course the day before the event starts and get registration out of the way. Every year I fail to make it, generally showing up just after registration closes. This year was even worse. I had car problems, friends had credit card problems, I drove to the airport and back twice, and ended up leaving Seattle about three hours after registration closed. We pulled into Goldendale just before midnight. With two days of practice I wasn't exactly ready to go. I was driving down the road to the hill at 9:00 am, when things were supposed to get started. I noticed the truck heading up the hill at 9:07 AM! I think this is probably the earliest the festival has ever started.
I missed the first few runs getting registered and
teched. I noticed that my luge has been getting heavier, centrax and money hax will do that I guess. Chaput's Old School Bus was on the premises. I guess Abec 11 was a fairly major sponsor this year.
I also broke out my new leathers.
I wantedLas to get a picture of them before they've been riden. Unfortunately I went to a tailor to get measured, and the suit fits like a pair of slacks! It is a little big on me.
Taking a cue from the Maryhill freerides, the trucks were sent down after the last riders. As soon, or even before they got turned around, people started jumping into the back of them. It only took a few minutes to load the trucks, and they were off.
Minimum turn around time at the bottom, meant more runs down the hill. I thought it was late, because I missed the first few runs, but I still managed to get in three runs before lunch.
While there were a lot of vendors on site, only one was a food truck.
They did have a bit of variety with hamburgers and tacos and fruit cups. While they served cold beverages there was also free water for the atheletes.
At least it was supposed to be for the atheletes, I think a lot of spectators snagged a free drink as well.
Riders were still arriving all day.
Bob Ozman continued to run tech throughout the afternoon. A five day event is a long event, and some people get worn out with all of the riding we get. We finished the day with 14 runs. The most ever we got in one day at the festival. This is due in part to quick load time at the bottom of the hill, and sending groups down sooner. I just wished the trucks didn't insist on driving to the end of the parking lot at the top of the hill before letting us off.
I wasn't really in shape, and Maryhill is a long hill, I was getting tired out. My abs were in better shape than they were for the freeride, it was just my endurance. I sat out a few more runs in the afternoon, and still got several runs in.
Riding stopped shortly before 5:00. The day was still nice enough that some people went to the pool at the hotel, or the city pool. I actually got a little sunburned and was a little dehyrated. I wandered over to the local grocery store
for the BBQ supplies for dinner. After dinner I drove down to the campsite.
This was our fourth location in five years. Last year's location was probably the best as it was the furthest from residences yet still near the town. This one was actually closer to the center of town except it was part of an RV park. This was the closest to other residence we have ever been. Shortly after I got there the cops came by and told everyone to stop shooting fireworks, as one of the residences had been hit! It was getting late, so I turned in.
Thursday, June 30
Today was the second day of practice. I wasn't too sore from riding yesterday, unlike at the freeride where I could barely walk after the first day. I showed up to the track a few minutes later, and the first truck had already went up the hill. I managed to get on the next truck, I wanted to try and get more runs in.
We got another half dozen runs or so before breaking for lunch. While I eating lunch I spotted someone doing an interview with some of the younger riders.
The kids were really getting into the interview. They were all under 13 and yet have been riding for a few years. I think the future of at least downhill skateboarding is going to be good for a few years.
With two days of riding, some people were having a little bit of fun. There was a big parade run for Canada Day. One guy carried down a large radio, boom box stytle.
The parade run wasn't quite as large as the freerides, but there were 30 or 40 skaters coming down at once. After another half dozen runs (the claim is we got 14 in) it was time to call it a day.
There aren't a ton of restaurants in town. Tonight was a planned dinner at the Azteca Mexican restaurant. They had a special for like $7 which was a taco and enchilda and rixe and beans (or you could order off the menu for full price.) The place didn't look as full as it has been in the past.
After dinner I headed over to the campsite and watch the fireworks. Some of them were being shot properly,
but most were being aimed at other riders.
The cops were out in force, so the carnage wasn't as bad last year. And I guess some residences reported being hit.
It looked like in was just a few groups shooting at each other.
I did hear reports of someone getting their windshield broken by an m80 and a few fires were started.
Friday, July 1
Today was going to start with standup qualifying. There were about 180 standup riders, so I decided to sleep in. I wokeup about 9 or so, and got to the track about 10:30. Standup qualifying wasn't even halfway over. There is an overlook from the main highway that lets you see more than half the course. I stopped there on the way in, and watched some of the qualifying runs. I was amazed that with essentially only one rider on course I was still able to hear the wheels!
I had an hour or two to kill so I checked out the vendors that were set up.
Abec 11 was a title sponsor and had their Old School Bus at the finish line. They were actually low on wheels and didn't have any for sale, but they did have some event shirts and hats.
Cindrich was there with aluminum longboards.
I thought the boards looked real nice but I'm not sure I would want to ride some of them. He also had a slew of Randal replacement trucks.
The hangers and baseplates are compatible with Randals.
Loaded was running various contests through the weekend to give away product.
One of them the kids had to take their leathers off
and turn them inside out and put them on, or put them on backwards.
They were also doing things like drawing on funny faces with a permanent marker and running a red light/green light race aroud the mess tent.
About one o'clock it was time for luge qualifying. We were given a warmup run and then started qualifying.
was trying to line us up to go, but was nice enough to let us chill out in the shade after placing our boards in line. We qualified based on our rankings, so I was one of the first down the hill. I wasn't riding very well so I figured I'd probably be one of the first tomorrow as well.
Immediately after luge we did classic.
My classic time wasn't that great either. Partially because I could barely touch the ground to push! After classc qualifying we got in several more practice runs.
The first two days of practice Art tried to get the laydown disciplines to go down first. But today the skaters jumped on the line and went first.
It was nice to go first, gives us some time to sit in the shade at the bottom.
But going last gives me some time to watch everyone else go down the hill.
The downside is the slower skaters get in the back of the pack, and sometimes you can catch them.
At the end of the day, when most people were packing up to head back into town, Chaput got his team together for an Abec 11 team photo.
There was a BBQ dinner back at the campsite, put on by the town. Last year they had some tables set up, this year we had to find our own place to eat. It was chicken and rice, and for $6 it was pretty tasty.
The campsite was next to a park that included a small skate park. Gullwing Truck sponsored an event in the half pipe.
There was about an hour of practice before the competiton. I thought some of the best moves came out in practice.
The guys were broken into two groups and had ten minutes or so to throw their best trick.
A few of the downhills were drafted to judge. I think a local kid, with a mohawk won.
He had some of the best moves in my opinion. The crowd to watch it wasn't very big, but then I don't remember it being announced anywhere. I happened to know about it because the organizer, John Ozman, walked by me on his way to watch it. Perhaps next year there will be a bigger crowd.
After the vert event was over, it was back to the campsite to watch the fireworks.
Again there was a way between a couple of the groups. Shooting each other with various fireworks. A few landed fairly close to me.
A cop came through at one point at told people to aim the fireworks straight up. The battle died fairly early and then later in the evening a group set off a dozen or so fireworks for Canada Day.
Saturday, July 2
Today started much like yesterday. Standup would start the day off qualifying. Again I showed up around 10:00 AM or so and watched some of the qualifying. Things were going a little smoother and we got started about noon with a warm up run for luge.
The day was a little warmer than yesterday and most people improved their qualifying time. I thought I had a decent run and yet only improved about three seconds. Maryhill is a challenging hill and takes a bit of stamina to do well on. At least I improved both my luge and classic times.
Immediately after classic was done, the repecharge race started. This race was for standup riders who qualified 93-141. It would be a 48 man race. The main idea is to give some of the slower riders a decent race experience.
The qualifying times were posted.
I went up to Cowzer's Corner to watch the race. I was surprised how close the first few heats were.
In a typical bracket the first round has the fastest guys racing the slowest guys, and there is usually a fairly large gap between the two. But in the repecharge the gap wasn't very large and the groups were quite tight.
When the weekend started we had three uhauls taking us up the course. The uhauls weren't too crowded, until towards the end of the third day when one of them broke down! Because it is the end/beginning of the month, there were no more uhauls available. A big flatbed truck was used as a replacement.
The truck was quite tall, and I once ripped my leathers getting out of a tall flatbed. So I decided to stay in the uhauls.
After the repecharge it was time for the King of the Hill races. These races pitted the top six standup qualifers against one another, and in a separate race the top size lugers raced. Brycin interview the standup riders
and Yvonne for street luge.
The street luge King of the Hill was run first with McIntyre triumphant over Labarthe.
James Kelly pulled out in front and won the standup King of the Hill.
Awards were given out for the repecharge, fast qualifiers, and King of the Hills. While the awards were being prepared some swag was tossed out into the crowd.
The winners of the repecharge were announced, these four will skate in tomorrow's race.
got their King of the Hill trophies. Then the fastest standup qualifiers were announced. Rebecca from Switzerland was the fastest women and Ramon also from Switzerland was the fastest in the open class. Finally the fastest juniors, junior I
and junior II.
The festivities for tonight included a band and an authograph session at the local Legion. Food was going to be served, but we ended up eating elsewhere. We weren't sure what the food would be like. I thought missed Loose Tooth, but apparently they didn't play. We did catch the end of the autograph session.
There was another band playing for a little while.
After the bands stopped playing the place cleared out fairly quickly. The food looked pretty good though, we might have to eat here next year. I wandered over to the campsite for a bit. The campsite was a little more mellow than previous nights. I think a few people are getting ready for race day. Before I was getting ready to leave I kept hearing some cheering. Turns out there was an impomptu westerling match set up.
Sunday, July 3
I had to get up early today. Classic luge was going to be the first round, and there was supposed to be a rider's meeting at 8:30 follwed by a warmup with racing starting at 9:00.
I decided to skip the warmup run. Maryhill is brutal enough, I didn't need to get tired out taking a warmup run. The race started with junior I.
Bob Ozman explained the start procedure and went over some racing rules and etiquette.
My classic race went pretty much as I expected. I got blown off on the start, and I managed to follow them down the course.
I got to watch rest of the heats.
I watched the rest of the classic race from the finish line.
I decided to walk up to Cowzer's to watch the junior II race.
Some of the heats were pretty close.
Maryhill was deemed the World Championships for juniors, and had a field of 62 juniors!
After the junior's race, I think loaded ran another competition.
The kids were jumping a kicker ramp, I guess competing for best trick. This only took a few minutes before the opening ceremonies. The Boy Scouts came out with the flag
and Zak Maynum sung the National Anthem. After the anthem the top twelve standup qualifiers
were introduced and given a quick interview. The top three women were also interviewed.
After the interviews the standup warm up and race begun.
There were a couple of rounds of standup before luge would start. So I went back up to Cowzer's to watch.
Some of the heats were pretty close.
Cowzer's is a great place to watch, as you can see them take the left turn, then dive into the hairpin. I wasn't exactly sure when luge was going to head up the hill.
We went up
for our warmup run during the quarter's and started our race after the semi final. Bob first gave us a little talk.
The gist of it was to go over the rules on passing, such as it is the overtaking rider's responsibility to pass cleanly. I didn't have a great start and everyone beat me off the line. I was able to overtake one of the riders and thought I had a good chance to finish 3rd as I couldn't catch the two lead riders. But coming into the repeaters and I was apexing in the right hand turn the guy behind me slammed into me, and even grabbed me to pull himself by! I wasn't able to catch him and finished 4th. And the bottom I asked him about it, and he said if he didn't do that he would have run off the road. I tried to point out to him that his behaviour was exactly what Bob said not to do!
The semi's in luge where run next, followed by all of the consi and finals. Junior's and classic went first.
consi was won by Spencer Smith. He crashed hard, dislocating his shoulder on the first day. He rode conservatively which is why he didn't make the final. Women's followed ] and the it was luge. McIntyre took the luge race
with Ramon taking the skateboard race.
All six skaters came around the last turn heading for the finish. There was some rubbing and bumping and Kyle in second went down. Seigrest had a hand on him when he went down, went on to finish second. But there was a protest,
and Seigrest ending up being DQed.
The awards ceremony was set up to begin almost as soon as the race was over. It took them a few minutes to get everything organized so Art tossed out some swag.
There was even a few boards to hand out, including Maynum's signature model. They calld Zak up to give out the board.
I don't remember who got it. A few boards were actually tossed out, and one practically fell into my lap. So I reached up to snag it, turns out I was fighting with the board manufacturer over the board (and with one other person) I looked at the manufacturer and asked him what he was doing. He had a big smile on his face and responded with "just having fun". It was finally time to hand out the awards.
Labarthe, , Huey
McIntyre, Labarthe, Conoway
Junior I Standup:
Junior II Standup:
As soon as the awards were over people started to clear out. Another good festival was in the books. Despite the road being a little slow I have come to enjoy riding and racing Maryhill. Standup had a few dislocated shoulders but there were no other serious injuries.