Venue: Jungholz, Austria
Date: July 16-19, 2008
The Almabtrieb World Cup event was Round #3 of the 2008 IGSA World Cup Series. This event was first held in Jungholz in 2005, and was held again in 2007. The year 2008 would mark the 3rd time this event was held at the same venue.
WEDNESDAY, 16 JULY 2008
In 2006, I took Malaysia Airlines to Zurich, Switzerland, because Zurich was the closest airport to the Chill on a Swiss Hill event.
In 2007, again I took Malaysia Airlines to Zurich because Zurich was located right in between Jungholz, Austria, and Thun, Switzerland, since I was attending the Almabtrieb and Alpspeed events within a 2-week period.
This year, in 2008, since I am attending Almabtrieb in Jungholz, Austria, and Rock & Roll in Thalgau, Austria, I decided to fly into the closest airport which is Munich, Germany. I took a flight with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to Munich.
There are several reasons why I did not choose Malaysia Airlines to fly to Europe in 2008:
- Malaysia Airlines does not fly to Munich. The closest airport that they fly to is Zurich.
- Malaysia Airlines has already stopped flying to Zurich altogether, starting this year in 2008. So the option of even flying with them in the first place has already been ruled out.
- KLM flies to Munich, as well as a lot of other common destinations in Europe. This is expected since they are a European airline with the hub based in Amsterdam.
- KLM has an attractive sports equipment package, which allows you to bring a bag or travel case containing your sports equipment weighing up to 20 kg, in addition to your free baggage allowance of 20 kg (therefore checking in a total of 40 kg) for a flat rate of only 40 euros one-way. If I were to take Malaysia Airlines with both my street luge and classic luge and all my other equipment, I would be subjected to an excess baggage fee of 30 euros per kg since they don’t have a sports equipment package!
Upon arrival at the airport, Will Stephenson from the UK greeted me and we set off to his car parked in the parking garage of the airport. It took us a while before we finally found it as he had forgotten at which floor he parked it!
After finally finding his car, we loaded my stuff into his car (he had a roofbox on top) and set off to Jungholz. I think it was a good 2 hour drive or so. We arrived in Jungholz sometime in the afternoon and we missed the morning practice. I unloaded my stuff at the Tahnhof guesthouse at the startline. I would be sharing a room with Chris McBride and Marcus Rietema. I think I got a couple of practice runs in the afternoon before calling it a day.
THURSDAY, 16 JULY 2008
As usual, the second day of a 4-day World Cup in Europe would be the first day of qualifying. The day was cold and wet, so only a handful of riders including myself took our first qualifying run. We were going to get ourselves prepared just in case it would rain the next day, so that we would end up having a better chance against those who chose not to take their first qualifying run.
Trying rubber wheels on the outside for more grip in the rain
I had to change to a clear visor in order to see better in rainy conditions. Still couldn’t see much as the visor fogged up! Rain in the Alps is cold!
FRIDAY, 17 JULY 2008
Unlike the day before, Friday was much better and sunny. Those riders who chose not to take a qualifying run in the wet had it good, since they didn’t get their leathers wet! Not only that, but it also meant that those who took a qualifying run in the rain basically did it for nothing, as it is obvious that they will qualify much better in the dry. After the qualifying results were posted later that night, I ended up qualifying 22nd in street luge and 18th in classic luge. Not very good qualifying results, but we’ll see what happens on race day.
Enjoying the nicer drier road on my 2nd qualifying run
SATURDAY, 18 JULY 2008
In my first classic luge round, I was up against Christian Schuetz, Jens O-Thor, and Gerald Mueller. I finished in 2nd and advanced to the second round.
In the second round, I was up against Sebastien Tournissac, Christian Schuetz, and Loic Zaccaro. This is already a very tough heat, as there were 2 Team SC8 riders in my heat. Amazingly, I had a better push off the line compared to them, so that got me stoked when I outpushed Loic and Sebastien, although I couldn’t really outpush Christian. After the push, Loic and I were side-by-side, and on the slow section of the straightaway, everyone pulled up ahead of me. I ended up finishing in last in this heat, but I managed to stay close behind everyone the whole way down the course, so I was stoked about that as I could keep up with them.
In my first street luge round, I was up against Eugen Forschner and Olivier Wagner. There was only 3 of us in our heat, so in order to advance, I had to beat at least 1 person. I managed to outpush Olivier, but couldn’t outpush Eugen, so I just stayed behind Eugen. However he had a huge lead in front of me, so basically I knew I was going to struggle to stay in 2nd place in order to advance. I was thinking to myself that Olivier would pass me on the straightaway anytime soon since I’m the worst qualifier in my heat. However, I was surprised when he never passed me on the straightaway, so I just took the corners and Carousel at the bottom the best I could and stayed out in front. I never caught a glimpse of Olivier the whole way down the course. I got to the bottom and crossed the finish line, and there he was right behind me! This was my first time beating Olivier in a race, and he’s the 2002 IGSA World Champion (he won Hot Heels)! I was stoked to beat him, never expecting to advance with such a tough heat in the first round.
I got taken out by Will Stephenson, who got taken out by Marc Dean during morning practice
In the second round, I was up against Eugen Forschner, Jonathan Blottier, and Pierluigi Maspero. I was last off the start line, as everyone else had a good push. I just stayed behind Pierluigi at the start and drafted him on the straightaway, and managed to pass him before the left-hand sweeper. I’m currently in 3rd in the heat. At the Carousel, I was taken out by Pierluigi who knocked into my back end, spinning me out as I slid across the pavement. Pierluigi had taken himself out too as he went into the hay. I grabbed my board from the side of the road and pushed off from the Carousel and finished 3rd in the heat, maintaining the position I had expected to finish.
Leander Lacey all out in front in the finals
I went back to the top of the hill to watch the street luge finals from the start line. The finals consisted of Leander Lacey, and 3 team riders from the French SC8 team (Sebastien Tournissac, Jonathan Blottier, and Loic Zaccaro). It was cool to see this fast South African rider against 3 French riders, who were riding their SC8 luges with the badass looking black carbon fiber fairings. With the 3 of them in the finals, they looked like the bad boys. Leander Lacey had a tough fight, but he had a good push to outlast Jonathan Blottier. I was wondering if he could beat the French super trio, and he did!
Street luge podium (L-R): 2nd Sebastien Tournissac (France), 1st Leander Lacey (South Africa), 3rd Jonathan Blottier (France)
SUNDAY, 19 JULY 2008
After partying the night before, everyone woke up late the next morning. I checked out of the Tahnhof guesthouse after packing my stuff and went down to the campsite where Will was staying. We bid farewell to the riders who were leaving. I would be traveling with Will and Alistair to the next race the following weekend, Rock & Roll in Thalgau, Austria!
Getting packed up
Me and the Lang brothers from Germany
STREET LUGE RESULTS
|Position||Last Name||First Name||Nationality||Qualifying||Points|
CLASSIC LUGE RESULTS
|Position||Last Name||First Name||Nationality||Qualifying||Points|