Padova Grand Prix 2011

Padova Grand Prix 2011

Campionato del Mondo

Teolo, Italy

Teolo is a municpality in Parco Regionale Dei Colli Euganei, an enormous national park outside of Venice. The region is surrounded with wineries, and is a popular destination for the weekend bicyclist.

The course starts in Castelnuevo and ends in Teolo. But this year a portion of the track was washed away. The road was closed for several months as it was rebuilt. It was reopened just weeks before the race! A good majority of the road was repaved.

The course in Google Maps.

Thursday, August 4

Teolo is about a half hour or so from the train station in Padova. On the way we passed a couple of banners, including a huge sign on the back of a truck.

We got up to the top of the course in the afternoon. There was some problems with my hotel reservation, so I took some time to get registered.

They take registration very seriously, including photocopying our ID! We got a small grab bag of goodies, including some bearings and a tshirt. Apparently there was a mistake in the ordering, as the tshirts were women's tshirts!

Fortunately by the time I got through registration, my hotel reservation was squared away. After I got settled in and got my equipment together I went downstairs to hang out with everyone. A few people went through tech.

I left my stuff upstairs, and just chilled out, watching the sunset.

There was supposed to be a dinner set up. It finally got set up about 9:00 PM. I went over to check it out,

but it was mostly cold cuts and cheese. A few of us decided to eat dinner at the hotel. The hotel served up a delicious Italian meal.

Friday, August 5

We were supposed to start riding about 9:00AM. I noticed that tech was already going at 8:30.

We got start a little late, but not too late.

Since the road was always open, you went as soon as the starter said you could go. At the bottom you jumped onto the next open van. The vans were small, with seats for 8. I generally jumped in the back with my luge. We squeezed in between 14 and 16 people into each van. The vans took a side road back to the top. You hopped out, and went down the hill again. We were getting in runs every 20-25 minutes! We rarely had to wait at the top to go, and generally only had to wait a minute or two at the bottom for a shuttle.

At noon there was a two hour break for lunch and siesta. We sat down at the hotel for lunch,

and a Coke with ice!

The restaraunt offered a riders menu for fairly cheap. It was nice to relax for a bit, and enjoy lunch, without having to scarf some food down.

After lunch was over, we had a couple more hours of free rides.

One nice thing is there was water at the bottom

and at the top. You could grab a drink while you waited for the shuttle

or grab a drink before you were ready to head back down the hill.

The first round of qualifying start just after 2:00 with standup.

I watched some of it on the jumbo tron at the top of the course.

A few blow up couches were set up in front of the jumbo tron. It took a couple of hours to get through standup. Classic ran next.

It didn't take too long to run through the entire classic class, one advantage of having shuttles coming up the back road.

Street luge ran last.

Tonight is the opening ceremony. It started with the torchlight parade from the top. We were given some glow sticks to carry.

Then we took off, with the lugers leading the way.

I tried to take a few pictures as I rode down the course.

But I realized it wasn't working very well as I was moving. So I pulled over and took a few shots.

I was expecting a large group to come down, but it never did.

A few of the shots were pretty cool.

And then I realized the no one else was coming!

It looks like everyone else was down, so I better get going before I missed the party.

We gathered behind our country flags before marching into the town square.

The countrieds were all lined up.

And then the countries were individually announced. Most of the guys stepped forward, waved their flags, then stepped back. But I decided to put on a show, and I took the flag and ran the length of the square and back.

After the presentation of the countries, the major and some other dignitaries gave a speech.

Some awards were presented to Marcus and David, the president of the inline association.

Once the speeches were over we were told that the free dinner was about ready to be served. I was starving, and it was late, so I high tailed it over to get into line.

As soon as the square was cleared, the roller club started their performance.

It took a few minutes to get served.

We got some cold cuts, with pasta, and a salad. It was a fine meal.

After dinner, we hung around chatting. Once the roller show was over, several skateboarders and inliners took over the square working on tricks.

Saturday, August 6

The weather today is cloudy.

The good news is it should be a little cooler, and it doesn't quite look like it will rain. Things got started a few minutes after 9:00. But when we got to the bottom of the hill, and started to pile into the shuttles, they made us get out of the back. The police and paramedics and the bottom were insisting on one person to a seat.

This meant only 8 people in a van. There were only six or eight vans, so it didn't take long to fill them up. But the problem is, with the number of people at the bottom, it was impossible to get into a van. If I put my luge in the back, the van would be full before I got in. Some of the guys just carried their luge into the van with them, which I thought was rude and inconsiderate as it took up a lot of space. I finally walked back up to the finish line and complained to the oragnizer. After that things were changed. The guys at the bottom either helped load the luges into the back, or they would hold a seat. They also used the quads to bring the inliners back up the course.

This is a bit unfortunate as it defeats the whole point of having an alternate route. A few more shuttles would solve the problem. One advantage of this new format, was the lugers got to run together.

But we got in fewer runs than we did yesterday.

Just like yesterday there was a two hour lunch and siesta. I think a few people went into town for lunch. There are a few great restaraunts down there, but I was lazy and just ate at the hotel.

After lunch the IIDA ran the inline race.

The IIDA race consists of the best of two timed runs. Because this was the actual race, both of their timed runs would be run today. After they were done, the second round of standup qualifying started.

We ran classic next, and then followed it up with street luge. I was one of the early ones down so I watched the remaining lugers from the bottom. Marcus and Luca commentated the qualifying runs. It was easy to do because they could watch the runs unfold on the jumbo tron.

Mahdzan had an incredible run and set the course record, laying down a time of 1:57.290.

There was a discussion all weekend on whether the new surface was faster or slower. A lot of people felt that the surface was actually more slippery and thus slower. But with the course about 20 meters longer than before and Mahdzan setting the course record, I think we could say the course is just as fast, if not faster.

We were running in reverse order from yesterday. And so far most everyone was beating yesterday's time. Mahdzan was the number siz qualifier from yesterday, so would each subsequent rider also break the record? Marcus did a great job of keeping the tension up, and making it sound exciting. Each rider came down, beating their previous time, but not beating Mahdzan. Echegaray came close. He was the first rider, after Mahdzan to break into the 1:57s but he ended up being less than a tenth of a second back!

Stephenson was the final rider to come down. He looked like he was doing good, but he looked a little shaky coming around the final turn.

I thought he blew any chance he had. He said he say his time on the scoreboard, it was 1:56, but it was a 1:56 for a long time. And then he flew by the finish line, did it tick over or not? He ended up just under 1:57!

It was very exciting, and it was made all that much more exciting with a good announcer and a jumbo tron.

The day was over. It was time to clean up and go to dinner. Free dinner was being served again at the square in town. But as usual the dinner was late, and so a few of us decided to get some pizza in town. On the way to pizza the skys decided to open up!

It poured. Things will be interesting tomorrow. There was going to be an awards ceremony, so after we ate we went to the town square. As we got there it started to rain again.

It was announced that the ceremony was cancelled. I decided to check out the dinner tent, to see what was going on. Turns out the dinner was just being served!

After dinner was served, it was decided to go ahead with the ceremony. The top qualifiers received a medal. I think that is the first time I've seen it, and it was pretty cool. Of course some people don't quite know how to deal with a podium. Stay up there long enough to get a few photos!

Sunday, August 7

Earlier in the week the weather forecast mentioned rain this weekend. I was hoping that all the rain came last night. It was a little foggy this morning, but it looked promising.

It was looking like it would be sunny.

We started the morning off with a couple of warmup runs. Street luge and juniors would race before lunch.

I didn't make it past the quarter finals. But I got to watch the semis and the finals from the bottom.

The final was exciting. Echegaray got out in front, but Stephenson and Mahdzan were right behind. Apparently Robert bumped Stephenson, knocking both of them out of contention. Mahdzan tracked down Echegaray and caught up to him by the final hairpin. It looked like he had a chance to overtake him. But by the time they came onto the next camera, Echegaray had extended his lead and won the race.

Stephenson held on to take third.

After the two hour lunch it was time to start the juniors

and the women.

Smith was the hands down favorite to win the juniors, but he got tied up in some loose hay on the exit of a turn and went down. Standup started left. Inline and classic would start after a couple of rounds of standup. I watched the race on the big screen.

And then it rained. We would be starting classic soon, so I quickly changed my wheels. I didn't have any rain wheels, but any wheels are better than fresh wheels in the rain. As I was changing my wheels, someone asked me if I still wanted to race. I said sure, we race rain or shine, and I didn't feel the course was unsafe. In face I felt it was probably the safest course we had. If we couldn't race this course in the rain, what course could we race? After I finished changing my wheels, I heard my name being called. I thought I was being called to the line. So I grabbed my board and my helmet and rushed out to the line, only to find there was a meeting. Someone called for a vote to decide if we would race or not.

It was decided 10-8 that we would not race. I was shocked. There was the high speed straight, but after that the course was fairly safe. We just needed to brake harder for the first hard corner. There used to be a time that the only people who raced in the rain was the lay down disciplines, especially classic. Now it seems like we are the only ones that don't race in the rain. Of course after the decision was made, some of those that voted to race thought they could still ride.

But if we can't race in the rain, then we can't free ride in it either.

Looks like my day is done, time to head to the bottom and enjoy the rest of the races.

The sad thing is the rain didn't last long, and while it stayed fairly wet at the top, the rest of the course dried quickly. The inliners

and standup

continued to race. Patrick Switzer pulled off another WC win.

The awards ceremony was going to take place almost immediately after the race. It took a few minutes for things to get set up, so Marcus did some improptu interviews.

Things were finally set up for the awards ceremony.

The ceremony is quite elaborate. There were trophy girls that held the trophies.

They would pass the trophies to a dignitary, who then gave the trophies to the winner. Meanwhile flags were hoisted

to the winner's country's anthem.


Switzer, Tongue, Garant-Rousseau

Women's Standup:

Neilson, Gemperle, Bougard

Junior I Standup:


Junior II Standup:

Conan, Fouz Rey, Piton

Street luge:

Echegaray, Mahdzan, Stephenson

After the awards ceremony Norm Kinnish called Marcus up to the stage.

At the beginning of the European season Marcus announced that his wife was due in October and that this will be his last year travelling and running the events for a while. Norm will be taking over as the race director in Europe. Norm presented Marcus with a skateboard signed by many of the atheletes.

Marcus said a few words, thanking everyone. Then we watched a farwell video that Yvon Labarthe put together.

It was a nice way to thank Marcus for all the hard work he has done to create the IGSA and the World Cup race series.

Manby people were surprised that awards were not given to Classic. The organizers were disappointed that the classic lugers decided not to race. So the organizers decided to not give out trophies. They felt that since the race itself was not run, they also decided to withhold the prize money!

While the course is not the best course in the world, the event is a good event. Watching the race on the jumbo tron makes the event a better and more exciting event. There were no major accidents.

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