Rock n Roll
Rock n Roll
Thalgau is a small Austrian village about 10 minutes from Salzburg. The town has a handful of restaurants, two hotels, and a church. Apparently some tourists will use the town as a base to go site seeing in Salzburg as the hotel rooms are a bit cheaper.
The course is fairly steep, and fast, with three hard turns. The course starts with a straight shot to a hard right. There is a long straight to about the midway point. Reaching max speed there is a hard left hairpin. The corner is fairly flat, it required hard braking to enter the turn, but with the turn flat you can really kill your exit speed. There is another straight shot to the next turn, bringing you back up close to the max speed before a wider right hand hairpin. It felt like this turn could be taken without braking, but I never made it. Exiting the turn brings you out of the forest and within sight of the finish. There is a straight shot to a right turn. The turn isn't that hard, but does require some setup. The finish is not much further.
Tuesday, July 22
We pulled into Thalgau late in the afternoon. Fortunately I had already booked a hotel room. There are only two hotels in town, and with the recent rains some guys opted out of camping. There weren't a lot of rooms available. Of course there weren't a lot of people in town yet either. There are only a few restaurants in town, a couple of us ate dinner at a small pizzeria. The place was more of a delivery only place, as it only had two tables. I know that Europe has pizza delivery, but I didn't realize that any take only places existed (or mostly take out.) The bar was open at the tent, but there weren't too many people in yet, so the party was pretty mild. Mostly people just hanging out and catching up.
Wednesday, July 23
I think we were supposed to start riding at 9, but I woke up and looked out the window and notice the roads were wet. I decide to get a little more sleep. I woke up again just after 9, and it had stopped raining. It looked like the road might actually be drying up. I got ready and walked up to the finish line. I figured things were already under way, but since it was only 10 am, I could still get a few runs in before lunch. The road was mostly dry, and least down here, but when I got to the tent I discovered that the morning practice session had been cancelled. Apparently no one was ready at 9 AM so the session was cancelled.
More people were arriving. Unfortunately with all the rain that the town has received, the campground was a bog. A few people took advantage of the free internet kiosk to try and find some indoor lodging.
I was looking forward to riding the hill after lunch. Unfortunately it started to rain. I decided to sit the session out, but a few other people decided to ride. I wasn't the only one who didn't ride. There were quite a few of us hung out at the corner and watched the wet riding.
A bunch of us ate at one of the local restaurants. We pretty much took over the restaurant, as more and more of us showed up. Someone really talked up the Weiner Schnitzel. A bunch of us were apprehensive, and expected a small piece of meat. Well it lived up to the hype.
Thursday, July 24
The weather hasn't improved much, although it isn't raining. The ground around the tent was still a bog, but someone laid out some tables to create a pathway. Things were getting a late start, to give the road time to dry. We were allowed to use the tent as a pit area, as it had nice wooden floors. We had a short riders meeting before starting for the day. We finally got to the top of the hill close to 11am, and the road was still wet. Not soaking wet like yesterday, but still slick. I took it easy the first time down, between it being my first run and the road still be slick. But at least it was drying up. We only got a couple of runs in before lunch. Hopefully it will give the road a chance to dry more.
The road was a bit drier after lunch, although the weather was still cloudy and cool. We got a few more runs in before qualifying started. They had some trouble setting up the timing system. We started with buttboard and then followed with standup. After only a dozen or so runs, standup was cancelled when it started to rain on part of the course. Luge ran last. With only one qualifying run today, it didn't take too long. It was a good thing, as it looks like bad weather was moving in. As we wrapped for the day, some of the local kids came by for autographs, and Salzburg24 was out doing some interviews.
Friday, July 25
The weather today looks much like yesterday, at least the road is dry. Because standup qualifying was cancelled yesterday, both runs would be run today. We got one warm up in before qualifying started. We were allowed free ride behind the standup qualifying. But it took a while to get through all of the standup guys. The second run of standup took place almost immediately, I took the time to grab some lunch, others took a quick pit stop. I watched the remaining standup qualifying at the bottom, along with some locals.
It took about 3 hours to get all of standup qualified a second time, and it was time for luge, followed by buttboard. The weather finally improved and the sun came out. The standup guys took the last free ride of the day after the inliners qualified. The general morale was definitely lifted as the sun came out. Much like in Jungholz the party died down pretty early. There were a few stragglers, but none of them were serious contendors.
Saturday, July 26
For the first time this week, I woke up to beautiful weather. Eimer started the day off with a riders meeting. We started off with one warm up run and then race classic. We used a bungee cord start again. I'm not convinced that this is the best way to start a race, but it seems to becoming more popular. The women's standup race was run with the semis and finals of the classic. I got knocked out in the first round of classic. But with free rides after every round, I had hoped to free ride after the semis and watch the final at the finish. But they didn't do a free ride after the semi, to get a quick turn around. I missed the finish.
Although we could free ride after each round, I decided to break for lunch and watch some of the standup race. The weather was really nice, with the sun out. They had moved a bunch of the tables out of the tent. I ate lunch, and watched the races at the same time. About half way up the course, there was a small pullout. A bar had been set up for the spectators.
In the quarter finals two skaters wrecked coming out of the last turn. One tried to pull a pass, was too close. Although they wrecked at a decent speed, they were both ok. But one of them was slow getting up. He started to carve the rest of the way down, just taking his time. Unfortunately the next heat was coming down behind him. He crossed the finish line still carving, but the other heat caught him just after the finish line. He carved right in front of Siegrist, as Siegrist was trying to pass into a transfer spot. Siegrist lost control, trying to not to slam into the other skater, and ends up flying into the crowd! Several people were injured, but I don't think any were seriously injured.
We were going to do our luge warm up run after the standup final. Pete Eliot wrecked earlier and sprained his ankle. He taped it up so he could keep racing. In my second heat I had probably the three biggest guys in front of me. I figured I could do some drafting and do a fine job. Of course I got off the last, but with the three in front of me I was going faster into the first turn. All three of them turned way later than I expected, and I tried to pass on the inside. Unfortunately just as I dove in, all three dove in and cut me off. I broke too hard to avoid getting hit, and that was pretty much the end of the race for me.
Before the luge finals we had to pause to let a wedding procession go up the course. They didn't get quite the same sendoff we gave a wedding procession at Almabtrieb a few years ago, but we tried. We had a few spectators. Although most of them were at the finish line, there were probably a few at the main turn, but not too many elsewhere on the track. We actually had quite a few people watch the luge finals. It may have helped to have the free rides still going. Despite his injury Eliot took 3rd!
The awards ceremony wouldn't be held until late, so most of us took off to get cleaned up and eat dinner. Meanwhile they already started to tear the course down. We went back for some more Schnitzel. How can you say no to a slab of meat as big as your head?
There was a band playing when we got back to the tent. The awards ceremony started after the band finished there set. A few random awards were given out, including some skateboards to Photographers Yorck and Sven.
After the awards were given out we went back to partying. Another band got on stage. Jacko got up and joined them for a while. The party raged for a while, there was quite a bit of crowd surfing. And the mosh pit raged for a bit. After the band stopped playing, and before we got kicked out, some of the skaters formed an impromptu band. And they didn't sound half bad! The party was shut down early, apparently some of the locals complained about noise. The party moved out onto the road, where some of the people were already hanging out. A few people were trying to move the party to the camp, but after a couple of fights broke out I decided it was time to call it a night.