Towards the southern end of Brazil, admist the Braziallan jungle lies the small town of Teutonia. The town itself is on a small hill and is home to an addidas plant. The town has some cobblestone streets, a skate shop, and even a disco. The town lies on the foothills of a mountain range.
Heading up this mountain is a "cliff that was paved" and is our course. The course starts in front of a church/barThe biggest problem, other than the high speed is the road isn't smooth, it has lost of bumps, a couple of rises, and a few other surprises to make this a "straight technical course."
Thursday, Nov 11
After a long 23+ hours on planes and airports I finally made it to Proto Alegre. We ran into a few other riders who were being picked up at the airport. The trip wasn't quite over, as it was still about another 1.5 hours to Teuntonia.
We got to the Harmonia de Lago, our base camp for the race in the late evening. Hamonia de Lago is a beautiful lake with some cottages and a restaurant, about 5K from the hill. We got checked in, and ran back into town for some money and supplies. Dinner is usually hard to get at the restaurant, so we found this "burger" place in town.
Friday, Nov 12
There was a schedule posted on every door.
We got to the hill with plenty of time for tech inspection
The first run at Teutonia is always from the corner. If you miss this run, there is no enforcement to make you stop here on your maiden run, but I strongly suggest you do. This road is very fast starting at the midway point gives you a chance to acclimate yourself to the hill. This year we rode from the start to the mid point, unfortunately there was still oncoming traffic so we had to take it slow. Many of the standup riders opted to walk down the last steep section. People lined up, eager to go.
The second run starts just about the final drop leading into the corner. Another good starting point, as you won't reach the corner at top speed. After our first run, the bus dropped us off at the second starting point.
The third run, and the rest of the runs were from the top.There was some hay bales inside to sit on, and sometimes there was water in there. It wasn't the coolest, but it did get you out of the hot sun.
With a late start, we only got in three runs before breaking for lunch. The bar across from the start provided some lunch.
We had about a two hour break before we started to gear up for the afternoon session.waiting for their turn.
It took over two hours to complete the standup, and street luge went next.
I guess the plan was more practice after qualifying, as we had the road to 7, and we finished about 6. But I guess the course workers were all tired, and the day was over. I got back to the cabin to switch some wheels and change some bushings and tighten my trucks. Last year I only had wobbles on the first run, tightened my trucks and then continued to loosen them all weekend. This year I tried to start in the other direction, I tightened my trucks but not a whole lot. I kept tightening them after every run. One problem was I was riding softer bushings that I ran last year. It took my all day, and while my qualifying run was the best run of the day it still wasn't quite there.
After getting cleaned up we headed to the restaurant for a buffet dinner.
Saturday, Nov 13
Today practice was supposed to start at 8:30. The plan was practice, qualifying, lunch, practice, and then speed runs. So we got up earlier to grab some breakfast.So I jumped on the bus, and let them take the car down later.
Of course things didn't get start right at 8:30.
On my first practice run I attached my camera to the back of my board. The camera had already taken a beating yesterday when I strapped it underneath my buttboard and bottomed out on it. This time I got to the bottom of the hill, and noticed that while the camera was gone, the battery was in my pan! The mount used to attach the camera to the board wasn't up to the stress and had come loose somewhere on the hill. I retrieved the camera later and it was fairly beat up. I don't think it is usuable any more as several pieces (inclduing the piece holding the batter in place) had broke off. Unfortunatly the sd card was also missing, so I couldn't even recover any footage from before it jumped off my board!
They were keeping fairly short gaps between riders, to speed things along. In fact one time almost every luger went at once! I was behind some inliners, and I was told I could go when I was ready. I let them disappear around the first turn, and I waited. I waited some more, and then finally I went. I almost caught them just before the drop! I didn't want to pass them on the straight, nor did I want to have to brake on the steep section. So I sat up earlier, and started to drag a foot through the turn. I think I paid too much attenion to the inline guys, and not enough to the turn. Before long I was too deep into the turn, and hadn't really committed. I tried to keep slowing down, but at the last minute picked my feet up before slamming into the hay. It was ironic, the one time I was trying to be safe, is when I wrecked. I started just below where the drop began, after the left turn. And I still hit 120 KPH!
Normally I was hitting about 125 KPH. Last year I set the course record at just under 130 KPH and I was hoping to get back up there, if not better. But for some reason the best I could do was 126 KPH. It is funny to think that 126 KPH was too slow!
We went right into qualifying. This time the street lugers started.Once again we were quickly run up the hill to finish off the qualifying on classic. My run went much smoother than it did yesterday. The board felt much more comfortable.
It was lunch time, and we decided to hit the buffet at the top, rather than stay at the bar.
It was time for our speed run. A speed trap was set up near the bottom of the hill (actually it was closer to the midway point.)When you are taking a stationary still shot, and the object is moving at 80 MPH, you have to have a very fast camera to catch that object. Once again the classic lugers were rushed to the top to take the final runs of the day.
One of my main goals in returning to Teutonia was to try and increase my record speed from last year. I figured with the dryer air I might be able to pull it off. My luge run didn't go very smoothly, so I hoped my buttboard run would be better. My last run in practice was on my buttboard and it went superbly. My speed run started off well enough, although I think I broke a little too hard for the corner. It is hard to judge the braking needed, knowing the trucks are so much tighter than normal. But last year I broke too much as well, so I wasn't too worried. I straightened up on the board to prepare for the drop. The road curves to the right, and the speed is already pretty high, that you have to turn hard to follow the road. Typically you want to hug the hay bales, except there was a nasty patch of road on the far right, so I let myself drift out towards the center. The road meanders to the left, and so you have to drift across the road to apex the corner. This sweeper is about three quarters of the way up the hill, there is plenty of road to come. But as you aproach the apex there is a bump in the road. It is enough to cause you to bottom out a bit. It is this bump that scratch the camera on the bottom of my board on the first day. I hit this bump and got my feet swaying. The board started to wobble. The road doesn't go straight, but you need to run a straight line. So you have to travel back and forth across the yellow line. Now my board is swaying, my feet are wobbling, and I'm trying to control the board. It is not exactly speed wobbles, but I still can't control the board. I'm not aerodynamic, my feet are slapping into the ground, and I'm all over the track. It was my worst run of the day (expect for perhaps for hitting the hay earlier) and one of my worst runs on the buttboard on this hill ever! The speed run is not a good time to have a bad run.
The day was finally over. Time to pack up and head back up to the cabin.
It was going to take a while to cook the meat. We managed to order some french fries to tide us over. Some people gathered around to watch videos from the day.altohugh it didn't look too much different than the normal buffet.
Sunday, Nov 14
It was another early morning
We finally got a practice run in about an hour late.The trucks have floating axles, and part of the bearing was ground away! Fortunately he didn't get hurt.
The race started with the first round of standup. We race dual on this hill, and standup was running a 64 man bracket. The lugers were given a third warm up run. So we were able to ride down the course and then watch the heats from the bottom.with a PA system. Although we couldn't understand what he was saying, we did a great job of conveying excitement. To get an idea of how good he is, just listen to any Brazilian soccer match when the announcer shouts "gooaallllll."
After the first round of 64, we took a 2 hour lunch break. The crowd disperessed quickly.
After lunch we took a warmup run, and then we were told that we would get another warmup before the standup round of 32.
Street luge had a field of 16, so it ran with the round of 16 for standup. Once again I faced Mario (who beat me in the semis last year) and I thought I had a shot to beat him. He injured his hand on Friday when he hit the hay. He still blew me off the start. I almost caught him by the turn, but he must of broke just a hair less than I did, and I never really got close to him going down the straight. I was done with luge, finishing in about 11th or so.
I did get a chance to watch the next couple of rounds. Mario won his next heat by a few feet.
I caught the last bus up for the finals. The consilations were run, followed by women's standup and buttboard, finishing with street luge and standup. Once again I got beat off the start, but I managed to catch by the turn. I think I paniced a little, as I was afraid I was going to hit him, if I didn't brake enough. He carried more exit speed out of the corner than I did. I was gaining on him the entire way down the straight, but it wasn't enough. I needed to out corner him to win buttboard for the third straight year. It was my first loss on buttboard on this hill!
I ran back to the finish, catching the luge final just as it crossed the finish line. They were pretty close, much closer than the standup heat.
The crowd started to leave immediately.
After most of the crowd cleared, the award ceremony was held.
There were a few injuries, but nothing too severe. One luger went to the hospital, when I think his foot got stuck in the crack near the bottom when he tried to brake. He was back hobbling around for the award ceremony.
The weather this year was fabulous, someone said he thought it was the first year the event didn't get rained on! Probably the biggest problem with the race this year was the language barrier. The road surface is getting worse, there are more cracks near the bottom, and the road itself seems rougher. The Major promised to do everything in his power to fix the road before next year. I suspect, that means fill in some of the cracks, but we'll see. The event is already a fairly big festival, with the spectators loving it. I suspect next year will be over the top.