Wally's Fun Run
Wheeling, West Virginia
Saturday, April 22
Rain. Lately it seems to happen every time I go to a street luge event. Rain. It was raining when I left Seattle yesterday morning, but I was thinking "sweet I'm going to head to the East Coast for some sun and luge." When I got to Washington DC for a layover, it was raining on the tarmac. No big deal I was thinking, the fun run is a couple hours away. Different weather patterns. Couple of hours later, when I landed in Pitt, it was just pouring. Now I am a bit worried, hoping that the hour drive to Wheeling will get us out of the deluge. But if nothing else, I'll hang out with a bunch of friends...
As I went to bed last night, I was told it was supposed to rain all day today, and be nice tomorrow. I woke up to gray overcast sky, with wet roads. Didn't look promising. I spent the night in Pittsburgh at Tony's. Dr No, Kim and I got up early to head down to Wally's for Breakfast. Tony and Victor decided to sleep in a catch up later.
We got down the famous Wally Homestead in Wheeling, West Virginia, just after 8 o clock, and found out that most of the bacon and eggs were already gone! Roland showed up a few minutes later and start handing out green tshirts.
While the rest of us were putting our equipment together.
It took several hours to get started.
We had to figure out how many people we had (about 25 riders) how many vehicles we had, and would it rain again? Fall Mountain Productions showed up to do a little filming.
And the roads were drying up!
Around 10:30 we jumped into 7 vehicles
and took off for the first run of the weekend,
The first run had a rough surface, but maxed out at 65 mph! We were running on open roads, and stayed in our lane, so there was a breaking turn near the bottom. There was a nice wide turn around spot at the top, where we staged.
Our shutdown area was across a concrete bridge.
Concrete has completely different braking than asphalt! The concrete really grips, would make for some interesting cornering.
After taking several runs, we moved to the "next" run, Military. About half way down the hill we were on, the road splits off and heads up to some sort of military base. With this run, we only hit speeds of about 45, but it gave us a nice hard 90 degree left. And it was the first time we put effort into closing the road. We had a person at the bottom and one person at the intersection. I think we stopped on car on each trip down, but only for a few minutes each time. We did this run twice, and decided we had stopped enough traffic, and it was on to the next road. Before heading out, there was a short pitstop at the airport terminal, where some of the riders greeted some fans.
Next up on the agenda was the park. In the middle of this large park, there was a nice road connecting some soccer fields and tennis courts to the rest of the park. The road was about a mile long with a hard left and a pretty tight switchback near the bottom.
This road was a blast, decent speeds, I think I hit 60, with several tough corners to negotiate (although a bit easier with a wide open road.) The road is a bit narrow so we stopped traffic at the bottom (what little traffic there was.) Our host Wally enjoy the festivities as well.
After hitting the park run several times, we decided to grab a bite to eat, and regroup. We had a total of 8 vehicles, several vans and a couple of trucks transporting everyone. We had one van for all of our luges,
and three other vehciles that everyone piled into to get up and down the hills. We hit several fast food places,
and converged back at Wally's.
We decided to head to the local drag strip. What a better place to race two luges? Who says you need gravity. We thought the drag strip was just over the hill and through the forest, but we drove and we drove, and found the strip out in the middle of no where. We took over the stands
to watch Roland and Bob duke it out.
The two lined up
waited for the christmas tree, and took off.
Bob won the first race, Roland claims he missed the starting lights! Unfortunately Bob's jet wouldn't start up, the glow plug was having problems. Bob had to bow out, while Roland took a few more runs. Unfortunately the track was only 1/8 of a mile, and both powered luges are slow off the line. I think they were hitting about 45 at the 1/8 mile.
It took us so long to drive out to the drag strip, we decided to call it a day. We unloaded the van onto the lawn,
Some one trotted out a safe version of horseshoes, bean bags and large boxes with a hole in it. Everyone else hung out on the porch,
waiting for the BBQ'd ribs and chile to be finished for dinner. After dinner Wally and Scott broke out in some tunes.
After several hours of hanging out and talking, people slowly retired to bed. A few people stayed in nearby hotels, while a LOT of people stayed in Wally's huge rambling abode. Every bed and couch and chair and several air mattresses had a body on it.
As I went to bed, it started to rain!
Sunday, April 23
I woke up to the smell of bacon! I expected a lot more people would be up, but I managed to be one of the first non cookers up, and after a quick shower enjoyed a lovely home cooked bacon and egg and french toast breakfast. Thank you Patty!
It had rained off and on through out the night, and the streets were still wet, but the clous were already breaking. It looked like it would be a great day. Since some people would be taking off and heading home early in the afternoon, the plan was to hit a few roads then head back to the park for the rest of the day.
The first set of roads we hit, entered into a valley.
We were going to do both sides. The road itself is pretty narrow, with no staging area at the top on either side. So we had a quick riders meeting,
to discuss some safety tips. We would be stopping traffic from the bottom. We took a quick group photo
and then we were off.
The West Virginian countryside was very picturesque.
I was pretty excited about getting this run in, that I jumped out of the truck and left my helmet. So I got to be a spectator on the first run of the day!
A couple of runs down one side, then he started from the other.
We got two or three runs in
before it was time to go.
One of the locals got upset when we stopped traffic. So we decided we were done, and hopped into our vehicles and left. We regrouped at the local gas station, and decided to try the park again. As we were getting set up, the park ranger drove by, waved at us and continued on his way. We got to the bottom, only to find another person wasn't too happy. We decided it was time to leave, as the park was just too busy, with the sun shinning.
Our last stop of the day was a wide open, high speed, nice long road dubbed Firehouse. We had another quick riders meeting,
were the decision was made to run the road open, and so everyone was instructed to be careful, and stay in their lane. This road was a lot of fun. Just before the bottom we crossed a bridge, and I don't know if I was just picking up speed, or the sound that made as I cruised across the bridge, but it really felt like I picked up a lot of speed as I screamed across the bridge.
After several excellent runs it was time to put an end on a fine weekend with a group shot in front of the firehouse near the bottom of the hill.
We went back to Wally's had left overs from last nights scrumptuos dinner. Most people packed up and began to head out for the long drive home.
This was a fine way to start the season off. We got to hit a half dozen very fun runs, and hang out with a bunch of cool people. I don't think anyone was injured, past a few cuts and bruises. I would like to thank Wally and Patty for organizing the outing, and putting up with over 20 people running through their house!