Winsport Canada Cup
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Calgary sits on the Canadian plains at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics. The Olympic Park
was just outside of town with a ski jump
and ice luge course. There is skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer.
The ice luge access track is the course. The course starts right next to the start of the ice luge track. It immediately dives into a right hairpin. From here it is a left hairpin, right hairpin, speed bump, left hairpin, right hairpin, left hairpin (dubbed crash corner), big right sweeper, speed bump, and a straight to the finish line.
Friday, Sept 2
The forecast called for rain today, but a nice weekend. I woke up and the ground was wet, it had rained sometime during the night. But the sky looked like it was clearing up. Perhaps the rain came early?
We were supposed to start riding at 10:00 AM, with registration and tech from 8:00 to 10:00. I figured I didn't need to get there right at 8:00.
There was two people running registration, so it was quick and easy.
We got a small bag with a tshirt and some winsport stickers and a few other small items. There wasn't a line for tech, so everything went fairly quickly.
Shortly after 10:00 it was announced that the road was ready. This course is a fairly unique course, in that we didn't need a chase vehicle to take us back to the top. Instead we would use the ski lift.
First thing we had to do is load our boards into the bike chair.
Then we would grab the next chair, and ride up.
At the top of the lift, two operators would grab our boards.
It was pretty cool, literally, it was nice to ride up the mountain in the open air lift. The only downside to the lift is there was a bit of a walk to the lift at both the bottom and the top.
Thanks to the lift, once things started going, they went quickly. You got to the top, usually only had to wait a moment to give the previous group a little room. Shoot to the bottom, walk to the lift, and do it all over again. There was rarely a wait.
I think there was only one time when we had to wait for more than a couple of chairs. We were getting runs in about every 20 minutes.
We got about three hours of practice before lunch break. There was a snack bar
that was serving burgers and chips. But, during registration, we had the oppurtunity to purchase a meal package. This package was for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lunch for today was lasagna.
It seemed liked everyone got the package. But it didn't take too long to get through the line.
While we were eating, there was a short riders meeting. The afternoon schedule was discussed.
Classic luge was supposed to start the qualifying session, and it was going to start promptly at 2:00. There was only 8 of us, and standup would start immediately afterwards. We were told to be up at the top before 2:00.
And then it started to rain, and hail! I had decided to skip qualifying, if the road was wet. Because the forecase claimed tomorrow would be nicer, and there was no reason getting a wet time in, if we could get a dry time tomorrow. But it was also lightinging. Apparently the lifts aren't allowed to run if there is lighting in the area. So everything got pushed back. The rain didn't last long, although it was hard.
About 1:30 it was deemed the lifts could run again. But the weather was already improving. It was decided to push qualifying back, to give the track a chance to dry. It was felt it might be a little fairer, instead of half the people getting a wet track and half a dry track.
Qualifying was changed to start at 3:30. Quite a few people decided to ride the wet road, but I sat out and watched. But over the two hours, the course dried out. I got up to the top just before we were supposed to start.
It was cold and windy but the course appeared to be dry.
You can't see much of the course from the lift, but the one corner I could see looked dry. So I took of on my qualifying run. The second hairpin requires a little braking. This was the first time on my classic board, and I hit the turn hard. I barely broke, and dove into the turn. As I came around the turn, just after apexing I spotted a small stripe of water coming across the course. It was only about two feet wide, and I didn't think much of it. I figured I could slide across it with no problem. I hit the patch of water, my back end kicked out and I shot across the road. I slammed my outside foot into the ground, I sat up and managed to control my board about a foot from the edge of the road! There wasn't much water, but it was enough to send us out of control.
We had about an hour to wait before street luge would qualify. Unfortunately it wasn't a matter of waiting for the next truck, we had to be at the top when standup finished. I waited for about an hour then went up to the top. Turns out I was a little early.
But they had set up a rider's lounge for us. Near the top is Naturbahn Teahouse.
The building was one of the original buildings on site, and was apparently built for a natural luge course. Inside the tea house was some games, including some video games.
But there were only a few couches, and the house was too far from the start. I had no way of knowing when it was our turn.
We finished up right at 6:00 pm. Turns out dinner was also served right at 6:00.
The dinner looked good, but wasn't very large. A few of us headed off into town for dinner.
Saturday, Sept 3
Once again riding was supposed to start at 10:00, but there was nothing going on before then, so I slept in. I was just pulling in about 10:00. Another nice thing about the ski lift, there is no bus to miss!
I parked my car, jumped in my leathers, and got on the lift. Since today is saturday there were quite a few more mountain bikes. It meant we generally had to wait in line for the lift. We still had a decent turn around and got quite a few practice runs in.
Today the weather was quite good, and a bit warmer than yesterday. So qualifying started right at 2:00.
Today the course was completely dry and the times were quite a bit faster. After classic, I had about an hour or so before luge qualifying. So I hiked up to crash corner.
Dave was doing most of the announcing from here.
There was also a bar set
up and the DJ booth. There were quite a few spectators for qualifying.
One of two jumbo trons was set up on this corner.
I watched from the corner for a bit, and also scoped it out. It was a tight radius and I think I was diving in too soon.
Today was quite a contrast to yesterday. Yesterday was cold and windy, today was hot.
Thankfull water was provider for us at the top and the bottom of the course. It looks like we were right on schedule.
Starting our qualifying at 4:00. After luge qualifying there was time for some more free rides. Between the multitude of runs, and having to carry my luge at the top and the bottom, I was exhausted and decided to call it a day. Dinner was also some sort of macaroni and cheese, so I went into town for dinner.
Sunday, Sept 4
Racing was going to get underway at 10:00. We started with juniors,
women's and classic. There was only seven of us in Classic so we decided to do points race with three heats of seven. I wasn't racing well, and I considered skipping the last two heats if I finished last in the first heat. I was in last place coming around spectator turn when I passed Bean, who looked like he had high sided in the middle of the turn. He didn't make it back up for the final two heats. Frank won the first heat, and Kolby one the second. Whoever won the next heat would win. I got to watch the battle from behind, Frank led most of the way, but coming down the straight Kolby managed to pass him for the win.
The event was being streamed live on the net, as well as being show on two jumbo trons. So Dave was running a few interviews.
We were ahead of schedule and had some time before lunch. So we were given the oppurtunity to do some practice runs. On the way up, we ran into Bean. Apparently he pinched his hand, and it was swollen. He thought he dislocated his finger, but wasn't sure. So he was headed to the hospital.
After lunch we went out to the finish line to watch the race on the big screen.
There wasn't a ton of spectators
but I heard there were quite a few up at the corner. It was nice to be able to watch the race on the jumbotron.
There were only eight lugers. So we were going to start our race to finish at the same time as standup.
We had noticed all weekend that the road was very dirty. There was a layer of dirt on the road and it made the road very slippery. Apparently they had run a street sweeper on the road before the race, so I guess it was better. But a street sweeper doesn't do a great job with plain dirt. I didn't really realize how bad it was until I was watching the standup riders throw up clouds of dust!
We were supposed to run luge with the last two heats of standup. But Zak Maytum was luging, and he was also doing well in standup. He ended up in the consilation. So we had to wait until he was finished with standup, and made his way back up the course. In my luge run, I didn't have a great start, but I wasn't too far back. I was close enough to get pelted with the dust that everyone in front of me threw up.
We ran the the street luge consilation next. I was fairly beat by now. My abs were a bit sore, and I had a difficult time taking the corners as fast as I needed to. I wasn't too far back as we approached crash corner. I saw Williams take out Kamink, so I broke a little harder to stay out of the wreckage, and finished in second. Then I was able to the finals from the finish line. Kolby had set the course record in luge, and he raced well in classic. Kolby was leading coming down the straight, but Condon passed him at the last second.
Condon won by inches!
There was roughly 140 standup riders, and 96 raced in six man heats. There was a late decision to run a 'B' race for 93-140. Instead of taking their qualifying positions, they'd get another race. I think the decision was made too late, and not enough people knew about this race to participate. Those that did go up, were allowed to race. I think the top two were given positions 97 and 98, and the rest their qualifying positions.
The awards ceremony was scheduled for 5:00. But we ran late. So the awards ceremony took place not long after the street luge race was finished.
Parks, Williams, Condon
Junior II Standup:
Wipperman, Dutton, Coleman
Junior I Standup:
Korman, Craddock, Boudreau
Condon, Parks, Maytum
Neilson, Vukorep, Daigneault
Switzer, Maxkenzie, Kelly
After the awards ceremony, dinner was served. I think more people were concentrating on packing up and heading out.
I think Winsport has big plans for this event. It was announced that they will host the 2012 World Championships. There are plans to produce a tv show from the results. But a live web broadcasts and jumbotrons is a huge step. With a little advertisement this could be a big event. The park is only about 15 minutes from downtown Calgary. Next year should be promising.
There were a couple of dislocatted shoulders, and I think the only other major industry was the injured hand.