Venue: Thun, Switzerland
Date: July 18-21, 2007
After the Almabtrieb race was over, my dad and I hitched a ride back from Jungholz to Zurich, again with Nino Zeke. Luis Lins, Bettina Luginbuhl, and Jojo Linder also hitched a ride back with us. The van was big enough for all of us. The drive back to Zurich was about 4 hours!
When we finally arrived in Zurich, Nino dropped each one of the riders at their houses. They’re all close buddies who skate together in Zurich, so they all know each other. I think they all represent Roll Laden, a skateshop based in Zurich.
After we made a stop at Nino’s house (which was very nice by the way) Nino then dropped off my dad and me at a backpacker’s inn somewhere in downtown Zurich, close to the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station). My dad and I spent a couple of days in Zurich before we split ways. On Tuesday, July 17, 2007, my dad took the train to the airport to catch a flight to Birmingham, UK, to visit my sister and her 3 kids in Nottingham. On the same day, I took the train to Bern, where Marc Dean was waiting for me. I had left my luge with him after the Almabtrieb race as he was also going to the Alpspeed race. He’s an American who is currently living in Switzerland and is a math teacher.
After arriving in Bern, Marc, David Weisfeld (Josh’s dad) greeted me and we went walking around Bern. Bern is a really different city compared to Zurich. With more ancient buildings and cobbled stone walks, it had a more classic feel. We went to a river and jumped into the cold water to be drifted from checkpoint to checkpoint. I injured my knee in the rocks, and didn’t really enjoy the cold water! But it was cool and refreshing.
After swimming around in the river, we headed back to the train station and took a bus to Belp, which is where Marc lives. He has a very nice house with a unique design. He offered to let me crash at his house, which was very much appreciated. With the rainy weather around Belp and Thun, camping was going to be a wet nightmare! Thank god I didn’t have to camp, thanks to Marc!
JULY 18-21, 2007
Well, to summarize the event, it rained everyday during the entire event. Some of the practice runs that we got were in the dry. Street luge qualifying was run in the wet, and I didn’t get a good time because of that, as my luge was drifting in the corners, especially the right-hander in the forest! I had to drag my right arm (Hot Heels style, which I also did at Bainbridge, Ohio, in the wet) just to be able to make the corner without sliding out off the road! Race day was much better though, as it was dry. In the first round, I was up against Eugen Forschner, Franco Pellanda, and Tom Worsley. I pushed off the line in 3rd, and later caught up to Franco and passed him after the first left turn. Eugen was way out in front, and I could only stay behind him in second. I was behind him throughout until the last straightaway to the finish, at which point I was passed by Tom. I was eliminated! Eugen later won the race!
Besides the race, which was at the mercy of the rain, I thought that the free breakfast and dinner (which was included in our entry fee) was pretty cool, as I never had to go hungry. The music bands that played during the after party were, as usual, punk rock, singing mostly in German, which I couldn’t understand. Playing late at night into the wee hours in the morning with a slight drizzle outside the tent was something to remember. Everyone was just moshing around to the music in the mosh pit. The entire ground in the tent was covered with hay due to the mud! People were throwing hay around at each other, so that was a funny sight to behold. I just hung around in the tent, chatting with people. I later tried to take a nap in Chris McBride’s rental car, only to feel cold despite the hoodie I was wearing! Chris later came back to the car and we finally made it back to his hotel at 4am. I had already packed all my stuff and left Marc’s house on race day, as he took off after the race was over, so I spent the night with Chris in his hotel.
The next day, which was on Sunday, July 22, 2007, Chris and I got up at about 11am, packed all our stuff into the car, and went back to the campground to say goodbye to the remaining riders. We then later went to visit Ben Bewley at the local hospital in Thun. He had injured his lower back when he crashed into a wall of logs at the first left-hand sweeper during the race, and subsequently was given an award for the best crash. I didn’t see his crash though! After visiting Ben and bidding farewell, Chris and I went to the train station in Thun, where the American crew was hanging out. They had a huge pile of bags and skateboards taking up a lot of space on the sidewalk outside the eatery where they were hanging out. We met up with Marcus there, and the 3 of us decided to check out the local surroundings in Thun, visiting a local castle along the way.
After doing some sight-seeing in Thun, Chris and I said goodbye to Marcus and went back to the rental car. Chris was going to drive to Munich so he dropped me off at Zurich since it was along the way. My cousin Kamizi later picked me up in Zurich where I later spent the next couple of days at his house. My dad also came back from Birmingham on Tuesday, July 24, 2007, so Kamizi and I fetched him at the Zurich airport. The next day, my dad and I went back to the airport to catch our flight back to Kuala Lumpur.
I’d just like to thank Nino Zeke for the ride from Zurich to Jungholz and back, Marc Dean for putting me up at his house and commuting to the race in Thun every day (I didn’t have to camp in the rain!), Chris McBride for the ride from Thun to Zurich, and Kamizi for letting my dad and me stay at his house in Zurich. What a trip in Europe!
|Position||Last Name||First Name||Nationality||Qualifying Time||Points|
Nino Zeke, Luis Lins, Bettina Luginbuhl, and me in Zurich after coming back from Jungholz
My dad and I stayed at a backpacker inn in downtown Zurich
Me in front of the Rathaus
We stumbled across a fun fair while walking around in Zurich
View of the Rathaus at night
I took the train from Zurich to Bern where Marc Dean was waiting for me
The flags of all the nationalities present at the Alpspeed race
Me, Roberto Marasca (Italy), and Jorge Sousa (Portugal)
Practice run when it was dry!
Me, Eugen Forschner (in front), and Beni Weber during practice
Me and Caue Lemes (Brazil). This 16-year old has gotten faster since the first time I raced him in Sweden 2005. He broke his legs last year at Chill on a Swiss Hill 2006!
Qualifying in the wet! I should’ve used my rain wheels as the damn Kryptos in the rear have no grip at all!
My first race round (in second behind Eugen)
Still in second….
Still holding on to second after that right-hander (Tom passes me shortly after this)
Asian riders representing! Me from Malaysia, Baltic Chayjanya from Thailand, and Zeid Bataineh from Jordan. Unlike me, they are downhill skateboarders.
Me and Marcus Rietema, IGSA President
This is the second time I’m visiting another injured rider at a hospital (Ben Bewley from the UK)
View of the 800-year old castle in Thun as seen from Ben’s hospital room balcony
Me, Chris McBride, and Marcus Rietema in front of the same castle
Chris and I are like the only avid Coke drinkers at the races we go to!
As Chris was driving back to Munich to drop me off at Zurich, I spotted this wording on the field. Apparently the land owner likes Reebok.