Maryhill Festival of Speed
Once again the gravity sports world decends on Maryhill for the Maryhill Festival of Speed. Just outside of the small gorge town of Goldendale, overlooking the Columbia River is a small private road that has become one of the American Meccas of downill. The course is 1.8 miles and sits on privately owned land. The road was repaved a few years ago, but with mild weather and almost no traffic the road is in decent shape. The course has a constant grade and quite a few turns with almost no straights. The speeds are relatively low, and with the constant grade means it is more about pure racing.
Wednesday, June 29
Every year I make plans to get down to the course the day before the event starts and get registration out of the way. Every year I fail to make it, generally showing up just after registration closes. This year was even worse. I had car problems, friends had credit card problems, I drove to the airport and back twice, and ended up leaving Seattle about three hours after registration closed. We pulled into Goldendale just before midnight. With two days of practice I wasn't exactly ready to go. I was driving down the road to the hill at 9:00 am, when things were supposed to get started. I noticed the truck heading up the hill at 9:07 AM! I think this is probably the earliest the festival has ever started.
I missed the first few runs getting registered and
While there were a lot of vendors on site, only one was a food truck.
Riders were still arriving all day.
I wasn't really in shape, and Maryhill is a long hill, I was getting tired out. My abs were in better shape than they were for the freeride, it was just my endurance. I sat out a few more runs in the afternoon, and still got several runs in.
Riding stopped shortly before 5:00. The day was still nice enough that some people went to the pool at the hotel, or the city pool. I actually got a little sunburned and was a little dehyrated. I wandered over to the local grocery store
Thursday, June 30
Today was the second day of practice. I wasn't too sore from riding yesterday, unlike at the freeride where I could barely walk after the first day. I showed up to the track a few minutes later, and the first truck had already went up the hill. I managed to get on the next truck, I wanted to try and get more runs in.
We got another half dozen runs or so before breaking for lunch. While I eating lunch I spotted someone doing an interview with some of the younger riders.
With two days of riding, some people were having a little bit of fun. There was a big parade run for Canada Day. One guy carried down a large radio, boom box stytle.
There aren't a ton of restaurants in town. Tonight was a planned dinner at the Azteca Mexican restaurant. They had a special for like $7 which was a taco and enchilda and rixe and beans (or you could order off the menu for full price.) The place didn't look as full as it has been in the past.
Friday, July 1
Today was going to start with standup qualifying. There were about 180 standup riders, so I decided to sleep in. I wokeup about 9 or so, and got to the track about 10:30. Standup qualifying wasn't even halfway over. There is an overlook from the main highway that lets you see more than half the course. I stopped there on the way in, and watched some of the qualifying runs. I was amazed that with essentially only one rider on course I was still able to hear the wheels!
I had an hour or two to kill so I checked out the vendors that were set up.
Cindrich was there with aluminum longboards.
Loaded was running various contests through the weekend to give away product.
About one o'clock it was time for luge qualifying. We were given a warmup run and then started qualifying.
Immediately after luge we did classic.The downside is the slower skaters get in the back of the pack, and sometimes you can catch them.
At the end of the day, when most people were packing up to head back into town, Chaput got his team together for an Abec 11 team photo.
The campsite was next to a park that included a small skate park. Gullwing Truck sponsored an event in the half pipe.
After the vert event was over, it was back to the campsite to watch the fireworks.
Saturday, July 2
Today started much like yesterday. Standup would start the day off qualifying. Again I showed up around 10:00 AM or so and watched some of the qualifying. Things were going a little smoother and we got started about noon with a warm up run for luge.
Immediately after classic was done, the repecharge race started. This race was for standup riders who qualified 93-141. It would be a 48 man race. The main idea is to give some of the slower riders a decent race experience.
When the weekend started we had three uhauls taking us up the course. The uhauls weren't too crowded, until towards the end of the third day when one of them broke down! Because it is the end/beginning of the month, there were no more uhauls available. A big flatbed truck was used as a replacement.
After the repecharge it was time for the King of the Hill races. These races pitted the top six standup qualifers against one another, and in a separate race the top size lugers raced. Brycin interview the standup riders
Awards were given out for the repecharge, fast qualifiers, and King of the Hills. While the awards were being prepared some swag was tossed out into the crowd.
The festivities for tonight included a band and an authograph session at the local Legion. Food was going to be served, but we ended up eating elsewhere. We weren't sure what the food would be like. I thought missed Loose Tooth, but apparently they didn't play. We did catch the end of the autograph session.
After the bands stopped playing the place cleared out fairly quickly. The food looked pretty good though, we might have to eat here next year. I wandered over to the campsite for a bit. The campsite was a little more mellow than previous nights. I think a few people are getting ready for race day. Before I was getting ready to leave I kept hearing some cheering. Turns out there was an impomptu westerling match set up.
Sunday, July 3
I had to get up early today. Classic luge was going to be the first round, and there was supposed to be a rider's meeting at 8:30 follwed by a warmup with racing starting at 9:00.
I got to watch rest of the heats.
After the junior's race, I think loaded ran another competition.
There were a couple of rounds of standup before luge would start. So I went back up to Cowzer's to watch.
We went up
The semi's in luge where run next, followed by all of the consi and finals. Junior's and classic went first.
The awards ceremony was set up to begin almost as soon as the race was over. It took them a few minutes to get everything organized so Art tossed out some swag.
Junior I Standup:
Junior II Standup:
As soon as the awards were over people started to clear out. Another good festival was in the books. Despite the road being a little slow I have come to enjoy riding and racing Maryhill. Standup had a few dislocated shoulders but there were no other serious injuries.