Peyragudes 2luxe Cup
The small ski resort, Peyragudes, once again hosted the Deluxe Cup. The ski resort lies about 10 kilometers above the spa town of Luchon. The resort has a few condos, a brand new hotel (still under construction) and a couple of restaurants and bars.
Only two of the restaurants are open during the summer months for the few hikers that visit.
This year the course starts off on the opposite end of the parking lot from last year. The begging of the course is a right hander
leading into a tunnel.
This leads into a gentle left, into a hard right. The road then drops away heading for the original course. At the bottom of this drop there is a tight hairpin onto the old course. The original course heads out to two left turns, before building up speed to a hard, but wide right hander. The speed continues to build down to the first of several hairpins. A hard right hairpin, a short distance to the left hander, an even shorter distance to the right hander. Another long, fairly straight run to the final hairpin, just before the finish.
Tuesday, July 14
Our original plan was to take the night train to Luchon, which would have gotten in about 7:30 AM. Apparently this time of year, lots of people like to go to the South of France, and we had to take a different train, getting us in, in the afternoon.
The morning weather was wet and cloudy, but things improved a lot by the time we got to Peyragudes. Registration started in the evening.
Before we actually registered, we were asked to have our pictures taken.
I'm not exactly sure what the pictures were going to be used for, but they asked everyone to have their pictures taken. I spent the rest of the evening just hanging out, and catching up with everyone.
Wednesday, July 15
Today is practice day. I got early enough to partake in the first of the meals
that came as part of our entry fee. Breakfast wasn't much, a baguette or croissant and coffee.
The weather was fairly nice, with just some low lying clouds.
The clouds should burn off later, and we'll have a lovely day. Practice got started late, but once it got started things ran fairly smoothly. The change in the course added a lot to the hill. Before the start was into a slow hairpin, down to an easy right. Now you have several turns, and a very hard hairpin.
The middle turn is fairly easy, but the road feels slippery
and it requires a little braking. Of course the hairpin to enter the old course is fairly sharp, and requires a lot of braking.
After getting in a few runs, we broke for lunch.
There are two restaurants. The Terrace, and the one I ate at,
La Panache. When we registered we were given food coupons that specified which restaurant we were to eat in. Although I think either restaurant would take either coupon.
It was back out for an afternoon of riding.
The road is quite long, and takes over three minutes to get to the bottom. The downside to a long course is the long ride back to the top.
Bob Ozman ran tech in the afternoon.
Each time we got back to the top a dozen or so people jumped in line to get teched. Since the lugers usually started off each run, I skipped tech, until later in the afternoon when I decided to skip a run. Three plus minute runs can be quite grueling, especially when it is the first race of the season.
Before dinner we at a Welcome Party.
The major and some other big wigs welcomed us. Some refreshments were provided.
Because of the welcome party, dinner was served a bit late. The coke and crackers didn't do enough to tide me over to dinner. It was funny as several of us tried to get into dinner early, only to be turned away because it wasn't ready yet.
Dinner was finally served, and it didn't take long for the restaurant to fill up. After a long, hot day riding, the food was very good. While we were eating, Jacko wandered through with some tshirts he brought along, to help defray his costs.
His shirts were popular, and the few he brought were gone in seconds.
After dinner, it was back to the tent for the riders meeting.
There was a presentation of flags.
The presentation started off as just that, a presentation. The flags were walked down the aisle, and up on stage. Where a few of the guys got a little flag waving crazy. Once the flag waving died down Koma introduced the cult, and held a short riders meeting.
Originally the plan was to have a half day of practice and one round of qualifying over the next two days. But a bad storm was supposed to be coming in, so it was decided to do both qualifying runs tomorrow. If the weather was nice on Friday, we would have a full day of practice. There was also mention that Sunday might be used as a rain day if the weather was also bad on Saturday.
Thursday, July 16
I woke up to incredible weather, with nary a cloud in the sky.
We didn't even have low lying clouds like we had the last few days. We have a full day today, to get both qualifying runs in. After a delicious breakfast of a baguette and jam and hot coca we got started on time with one warm up run before qualifying.
We started off qualifying with standup. But it took a couple of hours, and the day was turning into a hot one.
Most of us waited around in the shade, or in the comfort of the tent.
Luge and buttboard went last. But by lunch time we got a complete round of qualifying done.
One of the coolest things about this race, is the hotel rooms are just a short walk away.
As I walked up to my room to grab my lunch ticket, I passed some guys trying out buttboarding.
These kids were having a grand time. They would ride down the gentle slope, then run back up and do it again.
Not long after lunch was over, the morning qualifying times were posted.
It is always nice to see what your times are, and what you need to shoot for, before your second run. We set off to get our second round of qualifying in. But with over 165 racers, it took several hours, and involved plenty of waiting.
Standup went first followed by buttboard
and then luge.
We managed to get everything finished, not quite on time, but not too late. Unfortuantely it was late enough that it wasn't worth hitting the pool.
After dinner, we all gathered in the tent for drinks
and a quick riders meeting. With a very good likely hood that we would not ride tomorrow, many people stayed up a bit later and had a good time.
Friday, July 17
When I woke up I took one look outside, and didn't see much,
so I went back to sleep. I got up just in time to catch the end of breakfast. While we usually ride in inclement weather, we couldn't ride with it being foggy out. With it foggy and wet out, we just spent the morning hanging out, watching videos from the last few days.
At lunch time, the fog hadn't cleared much at all.
We ate a long lunch, watching the fog come and go.
After we finished lunch, Koma was explaining to Marcus what he was planning on doing for the buttboard race.
We would run a modified version of the GP format. Instead of everyone racing at once, with 3 or 4 rounds. There would be two heats of two rounds each. Basically the riders would be split into two groups, the odd qualifiers and the even qualifiers. Each group would line up based on qualifying and race down the hill. The second round riders would line up based on the finish of the first round. The top half of the second round would move on to the finals while the bottom half would move on to the consolation round. To start the third round, the winner of the odd group would line up in the pole position, while the winner of the even group would be second, and so on. The final round racers again line up in the finish order of round three. The winner of the final round takes first place. While we were discussing this, Marcus decided we should start the race Le Mans style. Which would require lining up the boards against the wall, and the racers start on the other side of the course. When the gun sounds, they would run across the course, grab their boards, jump on them and go. Le Mans start would take place in the first and third rounds, while a grid start would be used for the second and last rounds.
As the afternoon wore on, the lunch room turned into a geek out session.
A wireless internet connection was setup, but it was only accessible from ther restaurant. We tried to keep ourselves occuppised until dinner. Charlie helped out by serving some Italian wine.
Dinner was the worst (but most talked about) dinner of the weekend. It was sausages and I think lentils. Fortunately I ate a late day snack. After dinner Koma hosted a live internet show,
interviewing several of the top riders. Some people stayed in the restaurant to watch the show.
After the internet show, the riders meeting was held in the tent.
The schedule as well as the new classic format was discussed.
After the meeting, the longskate crew (the organizers of the race) had a surprise. They had a short movie titled Angel to show us. The movie was presented by the priesthood.
One of the props of the film was a skateboard, which someone brought to the race. The movie was great, but the board didn't last.
I'm hoping this movie gets posted somewhere. The party didn't last too much longer, at least nobody who is racing tomorrow stayed late.
Saturday, July 18
The storm blew over, as the morning started with just a few low lying clouds.
We started a little late with a warmup run for luge and standup girls.
Streetluge went first.
In my first heat I got down to the first hard hairpin not to far behind Labarthe. I had been pushing myself harder and harder into this turn all week. I took the turn faster than I had all week, and I think I dove in too soon. I ended up drifting out and hitting the hay! The first time in several years that I ran into the hay! Unfortunately my board turned around. Whoever was behind me also wrecked, but by the time I got my board turned around and pointed downhill he had beat me back on the board. I tried to chases him down, and almost caught him by the final turn. But it wasn't enough, and I failed to transfer. As the day progressed, it got warmer. Quite a bit different than yesterday. Someone was smart enough to put up some easyups over the start line.
The girls ran their standup race in conjuction with street luge.
We had a long lunch break next.
After lunch we ran the classic race. We started with a warmup run, where we practiced the Le Mans start.
We would run across the road, grab our board. Then we had to get on our boards before a line that was placed almost under the bridge.
In the first run, Wagner grabbed his board and ran down the course in front of everyone. He jumped on his board right at the line, and someone ran into him dead on. Almost all of the momentum was transferred to Wagner, shooting him forward. While the person who ran into Wagner ended up running off the road. It was decided to move the start line closer to the regular start line. In my first heat I ended up running into Charlie when we set his board down in front of me. I ended up towards the back of the pack. In my next run I worked my way past a few people before getting behind a pack of five guys. I was closing in on them entering the middle of the three hairpins, and I thought they couldn't get through the turn five wide. I tapped my brakes a little harder than I needed to.
They made it through, and I missed my chance to pass. I was still on their tail across the finish line, but finished 9th. Top 8 transferred to the finals. In the third round, I started in the pole position, but I'm not a fast runner, and had several people passed me before I even got on my board. Serek had a very strong start in the final. He was the first to get his board, and he jumped on it. He landed so hard the board bounced in the air! Several other people tried to copy him, and one ran off the road. But Bouaich passed him for the win.
Standup practice came down with the classic final. After I was done racing I walked down
to the first hard hairpin to watch the standup race.
As the field got whittled down, they stopped using the bus, and started using a faster pickup truck.
I didn't know pickups existed
The race finished up around 7 PM, and we headed straight to the tent for the prize giving.
Koma started off by introducing some of the important figures in getting the race in Peyragudes.
The course workers were brought up on stage.
Then finally the trophies and prizes were given out.
Ladurner, Buxin, Prudent
Christ-Thomas, Philppoteau, Marchand
Labarthe, Echegaray Diez, Eliot
Bouaich, Serek, Echegaray Diez
Luginbühl, Kornienko, Gemperle
Piton, Conan, Galvez Calico
Pilloni, Lundberg, Siegrist
After the awards were handed out, the local government gave Koma
Then it was time to eat.
There was a buffet set up at the back of the tent.
Unfortunately there was not a lot of food at the buffet, not enough to feed everyone. And it wasn't really the type of food you would want to eat, just cold cuts and some apples.
Once most of the food was eaten, a band took the stage.
I'm not really sure who they were, but they got a mosh pit going.
One which I managed to pull a muscle in! It figures that I go to a street luge race, and get hurt dancing! The party continued into the night. At one point the flags hanging from the roof came down.
After the band left someone took over the DJing duties, and the part continued till early in the morning.