Swiss Championship 2004

Swiss Championship 2004

Swiss Championship

Altbüron, Switzerland

About an hour from Zurich, the rolling green hills  are dotted with small communities.

Some have a hotel, a few a bakery, but most all have at least one restaurant. The surrounding country is filled with cow pastures and other varies fields. Just outside of Altbüron a twisty road heads down to one of the few bars in town.

The road is about a mile long. It starts with three switchbacks, the middle fairly interesting as you have to make a left before heading into the right handed switchback. The bottom half of the course is a fairly long and fast straights. Top speed at the finish is around 60 mph.

The course in Google Maps.

Thursday, July 1

I was spending some time in Europe, and was driving to Switzerland. I knew the event started July 1, but for some reason I thought it was a Friday to Sunday event. My plan was to arrive Thursday evening, get a hotel room, and hang out with the people who got there the day before. I pulled up Thursday afternoon as a truck was just taking a load of people to the top! The event started today. Well so much for getting any practice, not like I needed any. I hadn't been on my board since I broke my left June 2003.

I jump in my leathers and jump on the next truck.

It is one of the coolest (literally) trucks I've been on. It is a semi truck, but without sides. There was a railing around the edges,

to keep people in, but it was nice to have an open air truck. I managed to get one, quite scary run down the hill. This is probably one of the most technical yet safe courses to ride. There are only two really bad corners, and open field everywhere else. It was late in the day, yet we were all ready

for another run when we were informed that the paramedics had already left. Since we were at the top, there was no way we were going to ride the truck back down. So we all took it easy on essentially a parade run.

Most of the riders camped at the camp ground

near the end of the course. A "shower"

was provided, as well as toilets.

The "shower" is the hose you see in the left side of the pic.

I spent the remainder of the evening wandering around the campsites, and meeting the group of internationals. USA


South Africa




and Ohio?

Other people prepped for the next day, rebuilding their boards,

making new shoes,

or cutting the fields for the spectators.

One of the cool things about this event, all meals were provided.

After dinner, while we were waiting for the riders meeting, someone bought compact skateboard.

I don't know how, but it was rideable.

A short riders meeting was held,

Followed by technical inspection.

The biggest issue was helmets. IGSA was passing a new rule about helmets. Some of the riders were upset as they felt the rule was too American biased. It is an odd rule, essentially it calls for stricter helmets for streetluge than for standup. The gist of the technical inspection was this event was a little more laid back, but the World Championships would be stricter.

Friday, July 2

Up and early, to free breakfast and rain. Leandar met the local "wildlife"

while waiting for the short raiders meeting

I made a decision not to ride in the rain. I didn't exactly come to Europe to race, and because I hadn't ridden since my accident, I didn't feel like I needed more danger. Of course everyone else wanted as much riding as possible.

It didn't rain much once the riding started, but the course was still wet. I hung out at turn #2 and checked out some of the action.


After lunch the sky cleared.

It turned into a beautiful day, but hot day. Fortunately for us there was a nice water fountain

where the truck was waiting. But we were going to do qualifying. They did have a nice timing system set up. with a start gate at the top

a light beam at the bottom and a readout at turn #2.

Qualifying and go slow, and leads to lots of waiting at the top

and at the bottom.

Chaput even found time to either do autographs or design the latest Abec 11 widget.

After a delicious diner there was another riders meeting.

The meeting is held in three different languages. Fortunately one of the languages was English. Of course the meeting turned into a party with music

and a bar.

Saturday, July 3

Race day was a gorgeous day.

Because I was spending some time in Europe I decided to try and travel lighter and only brought my buttboard. So I go to watch almost all of the events

Between runs someone would entertain the crowd by taking short runs and doing some slide tricks.

I was only at the top for my one practice run

and for my one race run.

After the race was over, but before the prize giving. One of the local kids

invited everyone over to their pool.

The water was freaking cold, but we had a blast.

After everyone cleaned up we headed to the mess tent for the after party and prize giving. Things started out fairly mellow, some people were skating, some were tossing a Frisbee

Then of course the beer came out.

It was finally time for the awards. The trophies were chunks of asphalt.


Streetluge: Lacey, Chaperon ,Dekyndt

Buttboard: Huber, Dekyndt, Hodkinson

Standup: Haller, Freeman, Barat

Swiss Champion Standup: Siegrist

Gravity Bike: Kessler, Burel, Garcia

Sunday, July 4

A chance for everyone to sleep in, then tear down the camp and jump on the bus heading to Almabtrieb.

While everyone was packing, those of us who jumped in the pool had been asked to autograph it.

And then it off for a long drive to Germany.

This was a fairly laid back event. For me it was about having some fun. Because I missed practice I only got four runs in. Although it was the first time on my board since my accident a year ago, I was feeling fairly confident by the fourth run, wish I had a little more practice time. There were no major injuries.

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